After lifting mask mandate, Gov. Greg Abbott claims immigrants spreading COVID in Texas

click to enlarge Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a press event last year. - Courtesy Photo / Office of the Governor
Courtesy Photo / Office of the Governor
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a press event last year.

The day after saying he's lifting Texas' mask mandate, Gov. Greg Abbott took to Twitter to set up a blame-shifting narrative in case the state sees the COVID-19 surge medical experts predict will follow his policy change.

In a Wednesday tweet, Abbott accused the Biden Administration of "recklessly releasing hundreds of illegal immigrants who have COVID into Texas communities." The Republican governor offered no supporting evidence for the claim.

It's possible Abbott was referencing a Telemundo report that 108 migrants released by federal authorities in Brownsville subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus. Those individuals were advised to quarantine under the care of a relief group rather than travel.

In addition to being well short of the "hundreds" Abbott claimed in his Tweet, that number of diagnoses stands in sharp contrast to the 4,781 new cases Texas reported statewide on Wednesday. It's also lower than the 297 deaths the state tallied that day.

Abbott's plan to end the mask mandate on March 10 was met with blistering criticism from both health experts and Texas municipal officials, including those in San Antonio, who say it's months too early. President Joe Biden suggested Abbott's move reflected "Neanderthal thinking."

The gov's big announcement — timed on Texas Independence Day — came a day after the Centers for Disease Control officials warned states not ease pandemic restrictions because of rapidly spreading variants of the virus.

What's more, three of Abbott's four medical advisors on the COVID crisis told the Texas Tribune that the governor didn't directly confer with them before announcing the drastic policy shift.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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