Nearly a month after Abbott’s announcement, the data are in.
“Coronavirus cases have dropped to a record low in Texas roughly three weeks after the state lifted its mask mandate and reopened businesses,” Newsweek reports.
The news magazine was referencing new data touted by Abbott showing that the Lone Star state saw its 7-day COVID positivity rate, the percent of tests coming in positive, hit a new low—4.95 percent—while hospitalizations reached a six-month low.
Today the 7-day Covid positivity rate dropped to a new recorded low: 4.95%
Hospitalizations dropped to a 6 month low
This week we have 1 million 1st vaccines available
Everyone now qualifies for a shot. They are highly recommended to prevent getting Covid but always voluntary
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 28, 2021
Related: Why is everyone in Texas not dying?
When COVID-19 first came to our shores, it presented policymakers and elected officials with a crisis like nothing in living memory. In the year since, states have taken markedly different approaches to pandemic policy. Some, like New York, embraced sweeping government lockdowns and top-down mandates while others like Florida and South Dakota took a more humble, hands-off government approach, trusting individuals to make the best decisions for themselves.
The results are in—and they overwhelmingly vindicate the free states over the authoritarian experiments. First, we saw that states with the harshest restrictions didn’t necessarily achieve the best COVID-19 death outcomes. Florida has fared far better than New York and New Jersey, for example, and multiple studies have found no correlation between lockdown stringency and death rates.
Yet lockdowns have come at an enormous economic and human cost. We’ve seen mental health problems and child suicide spikes, an increase in domestic violence, an uptick in drug overdoses, and much, much more. And, of course, the economic toll of shutting down businesses and criminalizing “non-essential” livelihoods has been devastating.
The national unemployment rate was a poor if not disastrous 6.2 percent in February. Yet the just-released state-level unemployment rates for last month show that the devastation hasn’t been equal across the board. New Labor Department data reveal that many free states have returned to nearly their pre-pandemic unemployment rates—while lockdown states dominate the wrong end of the list.
State unemployment data for February 2021 is out! Some parts of the country are at full employment while others are in deep crisis.
🥇 South Dakota 2.9%
🥈 Utah 3%
🥉 Nebraska 3.1%
💀 Hawaii 9.2%
💀 New York 8.9%
💀 Connecticut 8.5%
— Daniel Di Martino 🇻🇪🇺🇸 (@DanielDiMartino) March 29, 2021
h/t Glenn Reynolds