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President Biden urges states including Texas to reinstate mask requirements



TX— President Joe Biden on Monday urged states to put mask mandates back in place, saying “reckless behavior” is threatening progress in containing COVID-19 as cases have started to climb, despite a rapidly accelerating vaccination push.

“Please, this is not politics: Reinstate the mandate if you let it down,” Biden said. “The failure to take this virus seriously — precisely what got us into this mess in the first place — risks more cases and more deaths.”

The president’s plea came as Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned of a fourth wave of COVID cases, saying she feels a sense of “impending doom” as numbers begin to climb.

Gov. Greg Abbott lifted Texas’ mask mandate effective March 10, making the state the largest at the time to fully ease coronavirus restrictions. He called attention to small business owners who “have struggled to pay their bills.”

“This must end. It is now time to open Texas 100 percent,” Abbott said, while on the other hand cautioning Texans that “this does not remove personal responsibility. Personal vigilance is still needed to contain COVID. It’s just that now, state mandates are no longer needed.”

Renae Eze, an Abbott spokeswoman, said: “Texans and Americans alike have learned and mastered over the past year the safe practices to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID, and do not need the government to tell them how to do so.”

“The Governor has been clear in telling Texans that COVID hasn’t ended, and that all Texans should follow medical advice and safe practices to continue containing COVID, such as wearing a mask,” Eze said, adding Texas “continues trending in the right direction to contain COVID.”