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Mar 02

March 2, 2021 TML Coronavirus Update #174

Posted on March 2, 2021 at 5:31 PM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates


Has the governor made any comments about his current orders, and specifically his mask order?


Yes. He issued a new executive order (GA-34) that fully opens all business and ends the statewide mask mandate. Today (March 2), the governor held a press conference in Lubbock. Speaking to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, he spoke first about the success of the Texas economy, even in the face of the pandemic.


“It is now time to open Texas 100 percent,” said the governor. Now is the right time, he said, because we are in a completely different position than last year at this time. We have:


-an abundance of personal protective equipment.

-the capability to do well over 100,000 tests per day.

-antibody therapeutic drugs to keep people out of hospitals.

-mastered daily habits to avoid getting COVID-19.

-most importantly, vaccines. More than 5.7 million have been given to Texans. Today, a one day record will be set, giving more than 216,000 vaccines. That’s over one million per week now. 


These efforts, he said, should ensure that we keep hospitalizations low in Texas. “Make no mistake, however, COVID-19 has not suddenly disappeared…but state mandates are no longer needed.”


His new order will, effective next Wednesday (March 10), rescind most previous orders, including the statewide mask mandate. But, “repealing these don’t change the fact that Texans need to exercise personal vigilance.”


He concluded by saying that “some local officials are concerned this could lead to a worsening of COVID-19 in their communities,” but that they needn’t worry. His order will provide that, if hospitalizations rise above 15 percent in a state trauma region, the county judge can impose mitigation measures. But the judge won’t be able to impose any penalties for a violation of those measures. The order makes no mention of mayoral authority.


What’s the latest regarding future stimulus legislation?


Last Saturday (February 27), the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The 594-page bill includes $350 billion in emergency relief for states and local governments, and funding for housing, education, food and nutrition, unemployment assistance, vaccines, COVID-19 testing, and FEMA assistance. 


The bill now moves on to the Senate for consideration.


What’s the latest vaccine-related news?


The United States Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third COVID-19 vaccine – developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a Johnson and Johnson company) – for public use.


According to USA Today, “about four million doses of the new vaccine should be made available next week, 20 million total during March, and another 80 million by the end of June.”


Because the vaccine requires just one dose, it should help protect 100 million people and take effect more rapidly than the two-dose vaccines. It should also be easier to distribute to rural areas and other places without pharmaceutical-grade freezers because it can be stored for longer in a refrigerator.


The new vaccine joins two others: one from Pfizer-BioNTech and the other from Moderna, which have been given to nearly 50 million Americans since they were authorized in December.


Further Updates


Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?


TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.