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'Loss for words' | Health community condemns Gov. Abbott's decision to rescind Texas mask mandate

The past year has been challenging for many health care providers, working around the clock to fight the virus.

HOUSTON — Health experts are condemning Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to lift the mask mandate that’s been in place to fight COVID-19.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Dr. David Persse with the Houston Health Department said Gov. Abbott’s announcement puts the public at even greater risk.

“I’m at a bit of a loss for words,” Dr. Persse said. “Let’s remember that somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 percent of the people who are infected have no symptoms and have no idea they are spreading it.”

The CEO of Memorial Hermann, Dr. David Callender, is in like mind.

“I was personally disappointed,” Dr. Callender said. “This decision goes against the recommendations of the CDC, leading epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists around the country.”

The past year has been challenging for many health care providers, working around the clock to fight the virus, dealing with heartbreaking cases and deaths.

“I think the typical response I’ve heard today from our people is, what is he thinking? Does he not understand the impact of this disease?” Dr. Callender said.

As of Tuesday, Texas Health and Human Services reports that in less than a year, 43,266 Texans have died from the virus, and 2,297,878 cases have been reported. Hospitals have hit surge capacity several times.

“This virus attacks every organ system,” Dr. Persse said. "The brain, the heart, the kidneys, the intestines, the skin. If it’s taught us anything else over this past year it’s that anytime we give it the opportunity to rear its ugly head, it will absolutely take that opportunity.”

Study after study has proved that masks prevent the spread of COVID-19. From the CDC to doctors in Texas, the public is being asked to continue wearing masks.

“The governor may think it’s OK, but as healthcare providers, we do not," Dr. Callender said.