Hospitalizations trending down one month after Texas lifted COVID-19 restrictions

This weekend marked one month since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in Texas.  Since the restrictions were lifted, Coronavirus hospitalizations statewide have trended down.

"We absolutely are not claiming victory at this time," said Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Since March 10th, all businesses in Texas have been allowed to open 100 percent.  In addition, masks have been optional unless a business says otherwise.

"Yesterday, we had the second lowest hospitalizations in 10 months," said Governor Abbott.  "We had the 4th lowest positivity rate in a year."

The Coronavirus positivity rate in Houston is currently 8.5 percent.  In comparison, the positivity rate was roughly 13 percent before the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

"When you add all of the vaccinations that have taken place, as well as all of the acquired immunity from all of the Texans who have been exposed and recovered from COVID-19, it means it’s a whole lot more difficult for COVID-19 to be spreading in the state of Texas," said Abbott.

Local, state and national politicians publicly disagreed with Abbott’s decision to open Texas 100 percent in March without masks.

"This is premature," said Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee in March.  "This is sending us in a dark place."

A press conference was held in March after a local Houston bar promoted a "mask off party" to celebrate the Governor’s decision.  Several local and state lawmakers were in attendance including Texas House Representative Ann Johnson (District 134).  The bar later canceled the event.

"I think it was wrong to claim we’re 100 percent open and don’t need to wear masks," said Johnson.

In an interview Sunday, we asked Rep. Johnson if she regrets speaking out in opposition to Governor Abbott’s decision in March.

"No," said Johnson.  "I don’t regret at all standing with a group of medical professionals who said let’s not have a mask off party, because it’s a detriment to public health."

So far, more than 14 million Texans have received a COVID-19 vaccine.  According to Harris County Public Health, roughly 800,000 people are now fully vaccinated in Harris County.

"More than 70 percent of our seniors have received a vaccine," said Abbott.  "More than 50 percent of those 50 to 65 have received a vaccine shot.  When you add that to the people who have acquired immunity, it looks like it could be close to herd immunity."

"I’m grateful for the medical community," said Johnson.  "I’m grateful for the responsible businesses that have put us in a position to be in a good spot, but it’s too soon to celebrate and just go wild."