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Despite alerts, Texas and other states are loosening their laws on the Coronavirus.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has declared that the mask requirement will be lifted next week, allowing companies to reopen at maximum capacity.


"It's time to fully open Texas," the Republican said on Tuesday.


Texas is the most populous state in the United States to repeal the mask law. Mr Abbott's party has chastised him for the measure, which was imposed last July.


However, US President Joe Biden's administration has stated that coronavirus restrictions are still important.


Texas' announcement came as similar laws were repealed in Michigan, Louisiana, and Mississippi, which also repealed its mask requirement.


The introduction of Covid-19 vaccines has raised optimism about a return to pre-pandemic life in the United States.


President Biden announced on Tuesday that the United States will have enough vaccines for every adult in the country by the end of May.


However, the wave of reopenings has strained ties between states and the Biden administration's senior health officials, who have expressed their displeasure with the relaxation of coronavirus controls at such a critical point in the pandemic.


The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautioned on Monday that the country might face a "potential fourth wave of cases" if it were complacent.


Although infections and deaths have decreased in recent weeks, they remain high in comparison to other countries, according to Covid-19 data.


According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, more than 28 million infections and 516,000 deaths have been linked to Covid-19 in the United States.





What did the Texas governor announce?


Mr Abbott issued an executive order that rescinded most of the coronavirus measures he imposed earlier in the pandemic.


The new executive order, which is to take effect on 10 March, lifts all mask requirements and forbids local authorities from penalising residents who do not wear a face covering.

It removes all restrictions on businesses in counties without a high number of Covid-19 patients in hospital.


"Too many Texans have been left out of job opportunities," Mr Abbott said during a speech to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce. "Many small business owners have had difficulty paying their bills. This has to come to an end."


He claimed that the state was "in a far better position now" because of increased vaccinations and better treatment for Covid-19.


"However, Covid has not suddenly vanished," he added. Coronavirus infections and deaths are creeping up again in Texas, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project, after weeks of decline.


More than 43,000 people have died in Texas as a result of Covid-19, making it the third-highest death toll in the country.





Texas puts relations with the White House to the test


Angelica Casas is in San Antonio, Texas, reporting.


Texans were not surprised by Governor Abbott's announcement. After all, the government's pandemic response has always been political.


Former President Donald Trump's approach to imposing restrictions was favoured by the state's Republican leadership. However, local officials in the state's major cities, all of which are Democratic, were irritated.


It was a battle between disease control and economic control. Maintaining personal liberties vs. mask requirements When the surges arrived, state politicians reacted rather than anticipating them.


Not much has changed in a year. The death toll and current case rate in the state remain among the highest in the country. As a result, critics claim Governor Abbott's decision is contrary to science.


As a result, the decision will be a litmus test for the state - as well as for Mr Abbott's relationship with President Biden, who has taken a more proactive approach to the pandemic than his predecessor.





What about the rest of the United States?


In the United States, state governments are in charge of public health policy. Most imposed restrictions on businesses and travel at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.


Around 35 mandated the wearing of face coverings in public places, both indoors and out, though enforcement of these mask mandates has been patchy.


Following a sharp drop in cases and deaths in recent weeks, several states have begun to relax their restrictions.


Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said shortly after Mr Abbott's announcement that he would do the same in an even shorter time span.


"Beginning tomorrow, all of our county mask mandates will be lifted, and companies will be able to operate at full capacity without any state-imposed restrictions," Mr Reeves said.


Experts also cautioned that the pandemic was far from over, and that if restrictions were lifted too quickly, new cases might emerge.


In comparison to his boss, President Trump, Vice President Biden has made battling the virus a top priority for his administration.


Mr. Biden expressed optimism on Tuesday about meeting his target of providing 100 million Covid-19 vaccine doses in his first 100 days in office, but urged Americans to remain cautious in wearing masks and maintaining social distance.


In a televised address from the White House, Biden said, "Today's announcements are a big step in our quest to beat this pandemic." "But I have to tell you the truth. This war isn't over yet."


What effect has Covid had in the United States?


According to Johns Hopkins University study, the overall number of confirmed infections in the United States is nearly double that of the second-highest countries, India (11 million) and Brazil (10.5 million).


However, the United States ranks ninth in the world in terms of deaths per 100,000 people, behind countries like the United Kingdom and Italy.


According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), at least 90,000 more Americans are expected to die from the virus by June 1. By late May, the virus would have killed around 500 Americans every day, down from about 2,000 currently.


Since January, hospital admission rates have dropped dramatically.


The increasing number of new varieties, which could lead to further outbreaks, is a source of concern.





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