Area health experts say political leaders should ‘hold off’ on lifting mask mandates

Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 7:17 PM CST
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday said it is time to “open Texas 100%,” but health experts said it would be better to pump the brakes.

“I would certainly urge all of our leaders and folks in the government to really hold off and slow down a little bit,” Kelley Reynolds, the chief medical officer at Family Health Center in Waco, told KWTX.

She said that hospitalizations and deaths are down around the state for the moment because people are wearing masks and continuing to practice social distancing.

“Lightening that now before enough of our community have been vaccinated is, I’m afraid, going to lead to a resurgence of hospitalizations and infections and deaths,” Reynolds said.

She also said that Texans should not stop wearing masks just because they have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

“There’s still always the chance that, while someone’s body is mounting that immune response, that they can get enough of an infection to pass it to someone who is not protected,” she said.

For some Central Texans, the governor’s announcement that the mask mandate would be lifted and that businesses could open at full capacity starting next Wednesday was welcome news.

“Yeah, kind of like most people, kind of tired of wearing a mask, and for some things it’s more of a hindrance,” said Richard Oates, a resident of Harker Heights.

Others said they plan to continue wearing a mask even though it will no longer be required.

“I would personally prefer to keep wearing a mask for a few more months just to see how effective the vaccine is and if more people choose to get it over the next few months — just for the protection of my infant daughter,” said Vera Dy who also lives in Harker Heights.

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