Texas Sees Lowest Daily Average In COVID Cases Since Last June Three Weeks After Mask Mandate Was Lifted
by Hotair.com, April 3, 2021
An update to last week’s post about case counts declining in the Lone Star state. Not only have cases continued to fall in Texas since then, the seven-day average is now the lowest it’s been since June 18, 2020 according to Worldometer. Yesterday the state was averaging just 3,263 daily confirmed infections. On March 10, the day Greg Abbott’s order lifting Texas’s mask mandate took effect, it was averaging 4,895.
Average daily deaths are also the lowest they’ve been since November — and deaths lag cases by several weeks so they might well continue to fall throughout April.
Is there a “vaccine effect” at work here? Well, sure, partly. Every person that’s vaccinated is almost completely immune from infection and millions of Texans have been vaccinated by now. But if inoculations were driving this, we’d expect to see cases falling even more dramatically in states with higher vaccination rates than Texas and we don’t. On the contrary: Just 27 percent of Texans have received at least one dose, which places it in the bottom 10 of U.S. states by that measure. Michigan has immunized 30 percent of its population and it’s enduring the nastiest wave in the country right now.
Click Here to Watch the Newest We the People Convention News & Opinion Podcast!
Gotta be more to Texas’s brightening outlook than vaccines, then. Last week I speculated that there’s a weather effect suppressing cases in the south: Since it’s warmer there now than in the north, people are spending more time outdoors, reducing transmission. Here’s a map to show you what I mean based on this NYT tracker. States in blue are where cases are either beginning to rise or already “high and staying high,” per the Times. States in red are where cases are “low and staying low.” There’s a clear pattern, notwithstanding a few outliers;
Weather’s not the only variable, obviously. Florida’s an outlier because it has an unusually high number of cases involving the more contagious British variant. But it’s the one and only state along the southern border that’s seeing an uptick right now.
Back to Texas. Apple’s mobility data also suggests more outdoor activity there lately, as there’s been a surge in walking route requests relative to January 2020, before the pandemic began. As the weather gets warmer, people are naturally more willing to be out in the open air.
In Michigan, by comparison, walking route requests are up only 42 percent from January 2020. Meanwhile, despite Abbott lifting the mask mandate and allowing businesses to reopen at full capacity, Texans aren’t spending noticeably more time in commercial spaces now.
More time outdoors and *not* much more time, if any, in indoor public spaces: That seems to be Texas’s successful formula lately. Abbott may have given them the green light to take more risks but they seem to be holding back, possibly because the vaccine is now generally available and it’s silly to stop taking precautions when you may be only weeks or days away from being immunized.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE OF THIS STORY AND SEE CHARTS AND GRAPHICS