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On March 10th, Texas Governor Greg Abbott lifted most COVID-19 restrictions in the state, allowing all businesses to open at 100% capacity, and lifting the state's mask mandate. As part of the change, Governor Abbott allowed individual businesses to create or impose their own COVID restrictions and mask mandates.

The general concept during the COVID pandemic has been to wait two weeks after a change is made, or an event/holiday happens, to see the results in COVID metrics. Well, yesterday was the two week point since Texas opened to 100% occupancy. Here's what the numbers look like:

Since Texas opened all the way up, the state has continued its steep decline in COVID deaths, hospitalizations, and cases. Though some days have seen slight day-to-day increases in these metrics, the rolling 7-day average for all three has continued to decline since March 10th.

The peak of new cases in 2021 came on February 1st with a total of 39,250 cases. The 7-day average on that day was 20,582 cases. But by March 10th, when the COVID restrictions were lifted, new cases dropped to 5,350 cases with a 7-day average of 4,909 cases.

Two weeks later, on March 24th, new cases in Texas were at 3,827, with a 7-day average of 3,401 cases. The new cases on the 24th have dropped more than 10 times since the peak on February 1st, and have dropped almost 2,000 daily cases since the changes took place on March 10th.

Without a state-wide mask mandate in place for the last 14 days, the only obvious factor to explain the drop in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths due to COVID is the expansion of the COVID vaccine. As of March 23rd, there has been more than 22% of the Texas population with at least one dose, and more than 11% fully vaccinated. By Monday, all Texans 16-and-older will become eligible for the vaccine, meaning further increases to the vaccinated population.

These declines are good news for those who want to keep Texas open, because inside Governor Abbott's order to rescind COVID restrictions was a "claw back" portion to reinstate things like reduced occupancy. According to the order, if numbers don't stay low, changes return:

"If COVID-19 hospitalizations in any of the 22 hospital regions in Texas get above 15% of the hospital bed capacity in that region for seven straight days, a County Judge in that region may use COVID-19 mitigation strategies. However, County Judges may not impose criminal penalties for not following COVID-19 orders nor may penalties be imposed for failing to wear a face mask. If restrictions are imposed at a County level, those restrictions may not include reducing capacity to less than 50% for any type of entity."

So keeping COVID numbers low in the state is extremely important for everyone who wants to keep the state open.

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