As the Delta variant surges across the US, many state and local leaders are putting new restrictions in place to limit the spread of the virus. In other parts of the country, though, leaders are working as hard as possible to make sure that the virus continues to spread, in spite of a vaccine that makes it harder to spread and less deadly. Now, Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas who is opposed to vaccine and mask mandates, has tested positive for COVID-19 himself.
Was Greg Abbott vaccinated?
On Aug. 17, Abbott announced in a statement that he had tested positive for COVID-19, although he said that he had no symptoms. “The governor has been testing daily, and today was the first positive test result,” the statement said. “Governor Abbott is in constant communication with his staff, agency heads, and government.”
Abbott was fully vaccinated against COVID, which may explain his lack of symptoms thus far. He will remain isolated in the governor's mansion and will receive a monoclonal antibody treatment which is used for individuals who may get severely ill as a result of the disease.
Abbott's positive test came less than a day after he attended an indoor political event hosted by a Republican Club in a suburb of Dallas.
Texas is facing a surge in COVID cases.
Abbott is far from the only member of his state to test positive for COVID-19 in recent days. The state is facing a surge of cases as hospitals are reaching capacity and deaths are rising across the state.
In the face of this surge, Abbott has been steadfast in his claims that both masks and vaccines should remain optional for all Texans. He has even gone so far as to ban mask mandates across the state.
The state's mask mandate ban is facing legal challenges but has thus far been upheld by the State Supreme Court. The surge in cases comes as schools across the state are preparing to reopen for the fall. School districts across the country have imposed mask mandates for students and staff, but in places like Texas, they are prohibited from putting those kinds of measures in place.
Abbott has been criticized for rebelling against many of the measures that would keep the citizens of his state safe, extolling the value of personal freedom in the face of a highly contagious pandemic. Individuals certainly can make a choice about whether to get vaccinated or wear a mask, but those choices have ramifications for other people.
Abbott, who has gotten the vaccine, is likely aware of these ramifications, even if he chooses to ignore them. Wearing a mask and getting the vaccine help to slow the spread of the virus, which can ultimately lead to fewer people getting sick or dying as a result of COVID-19. Abbott now has COVID himself, but it's unlikely that this will cause him to have a change of heart. His base believes mandates are criminal, and so Abbott must follow along, whether he really believes it or not.