In a new article, the editorial board of the Houston Chronicle tears into the damaging COVID-19 response of Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott, who has consistently refused to approach the pandemic with the seriousness that the situation demands. As what’s known as the delta variant of the virus has spread, Abbott has focused on (among other efforts) fighting the imposition of local mask mandates and other safety precautions, no matter the fact that such measures can save lives. In their new article, the Chronicle’s editorial board also outlines how the economy remains at stake as well.
As summarized in the Chronicle, the “failure to vaccinate and enact other safety measures is costing Texans billions of dollars, according to economist Ray Perryman, CEO of the Perryman Group in Waco.” Perryman, the paper explains, has pinned potential financial losses in the state at as high as almost $13.4 billion per year. These estimated losses stem from continued unemployment due to the ravages of the pandemic. As long as the spread of the virus makes gathering in person — for work or anything else — potentially dangerous, then there’s going to be an impact on the ability to actually get things done. This issue translates into a financial problem — but even the economic impact hasn’t seemed to be enough to sway Abbott from his ideological commitment.
As the Chronicle’s editorial board pointedly put it:
‘Politicians, with our help, have created a dichotomy pitting economic health and public safety against one another in a zero sum game. But we can’t have one without the other. We can’t have healthy businesses if workers are at home with sick kids. Consumers can’t have the confidence to dine in busy restaurants or shop at crowded stores if the virus is surging, nearly half the state isn’t fully vaccinated and people aren’t wearing masks. Being responsible about Texas’ COVID response doesn’t mean a state-mandated shutdown, which is indeed harmful to the economy. At this point, we’ve learned a lot about this virus. We know which simple protocols can stop the spread. We just have to use them.’
The board added that Abbott “and other conservatives speak often of their support for small businesses and this state’s pro-business mentality,” compellingly adding as follows:
‘There are plenty of more important reasons to battle this virus beyond economic vitality, but if our economy is to ever fully rebound, vaccines and masks are the way.’
Read more at this link.