Texas Gov. Greg Abbott celebrated his state’s declining COVID-19 numbers, appearing to vindicate his controversial decision to reopen the economy months earlier than most of the country.
The Republican governor defended his handling of the pandemic, despite criticism from Democrats, including President Joe Biden, who referred to Abbott’s opening of the economy as “Neanderthal thinking.”
“You heard what President Biden said. Other Democrats said that I had issued a death warrant. And then, as you pointed out, we continued to have a decline in deaths after we opened up 100%, until we reached that mark of a day with zero deaths. And hospitalizations continue to go down even more,” Abbott said on Sunday during a segment of Fox News’s Sunday Morning Futures.
The governor added that he believed opening up was “the right move” to get things back to normal.
In early March, Texas lifted its mask mandate and opened up its full economy, becoming one of the first states to take such actions.
Overall, Texas has had over 2.9 million cases and more than 50,000 deaths attributed to the virus. Roughly 33% of the state is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.