Texas is the largest state to lift its mandate on face masks and fully reopen businesses, joining a growing movement in states governed by Republicans to ease pandemic restrictions even as experts warn it is too soon to do so, despite the accelerating pace of vaccinations in the United States.
"This is completely politically motivated," says Dr. Dona Murphey, a physician-scientist and community organizer in Houston who is helping to lead a campaign demanding Texas reinstate the mask mandate.
She says Republican Governor Greg Abbott is ending the state's pandemic restrictions as "to conceal failures" related to the Texas electrical grid, which went down during a recent winter storm.
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