The wind of hope continued to blow in the United States on Wednesday, with Texas reopening “100%” despite warnings from public health experts, when Johnson & Johnson announced they wanted to buy an additional 100 million doses of the vaccine against Johnson & Johnson COVID-19.
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As announced last week, the deregulation in the second most populous state in the United States went into effect on Wednesday: there are no mandatory masks in general and all businesses must reopen without restrictions.
“I think it’s good for everyone to know their preferences,” 22-year-old Kate Phillips told AFP in Houston, the state’s largest city.
Others, by contrast, pointed to easing in advance. President Greg Abbott “did this to gain the support of a lot of Republicans in Texas who do not believe in masks and the science behind masks,” said businessman Omar Abu-Shaban. “I don’t think he has people’s health in mind.”
Locally, some cities, such as the state capital Austin, have decided that wearing a mask is mandatory. “If state officials do not want to do their job in these epidemics, we will do it ourselves,” city councilor Gregorio Casar tweeted.
Some companies constantly want to impose masks on their employees and customers.
Experts warn that the level of circulation of the disease is too high to rest. They warn about the approach of spring holidays, which include more travel, and the rapid spread of variations.
However, the governor’s action is a sign of a growing sense that things are working out in the United States.
After a short period of stagnation, the number of daily cases (an average of 56,000 in the last seven days) may “continue to decline” again, said Rochelle Valensky, director of the main federal health agency on Wednesday. Country General (CDC).
The number of daily deaths has risen to an average of 1,600 in the past week, up from 2,000 in recent weeks.
Other states have chosen the same as Texas, like Mississippi. In Wyoming, too, the governor announced that he would leave the masks on and reopen bars, restaurants and theaters from next week.
The obligation to wear the mask should also be removed in Utah in early April.
In Maryland, a state adjacent to the capital Washington, the mask is in effect, but capacity restrictions for restaurants and many businesses will be lifted Friday.
Local officials, who are largely dependent on regulations in the United States, point out that increasing the vaccine campaign is the reason for their decision.
More than 93 million injections have been administered in the country, and three vaccines are now approved: Johnson & Johnson (requires only one dose per person), and Pfizer / Bioendech Alliance and Moderna (two doses). An average of more than 2 million injections are given each day.
The United States has already issued sufficient orders to receive adequate doses by the end of May to provide immunizations to all U.S. adults.
So far, 100 million doses have been ordered from Johnson & Johnson – to be delivered by the end of May, according to the Department of Health – and 600 million from Moderna and Pfizer / Bioendech (300 each, from here to July).
Joe Biden has also demanded that a deal for a 100 million dose be negotiated with Johnson & Johnson.
“We need maximum flexibility,” the president said after a meeting with Johnson & Johnson and Merck executives on Wednesday, who announced last week that they had reached an agreement to make the vaccine.
“A lot of things can happen, we have to be prepared,” he argued, adding that if the United States finds itself “a surplus,” they (share) it with the rest of the world.
The vaccine is gradually opening up to new types of population. Alaska became the first U.S. state to be open to all, without restriction criteria – 16 for Pfizer / Bioendech, 18 for Moderna, and “J&J”, except for the age at which vaccines are allowed.
In New York, people 60 and over can now be vaccinated without any other conditions (risk factors, such as what staff consider to be “essential”). Similarly in Florida he announced the Governor from March 15th.