Gov. Greg Abbott says he won’t order mask mandate even as COVID-19 cases rise

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Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, speaks during a border security briefing in Weslaco, Texas on June 30, 2021. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Despite a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases statewide, Gov. Greg Abbott told KPRC in Houston he won’t authorize another mask mandate.

In the live interview Tuesday with KPRC, Abbott said it would be “inappropriate to require people who already have immunity to wear a mask.”

He said he’s working with local officials to ensure everyone has supplies for people to get the vaccine if they want it. The delta variant has reignited a surge of hospitalizations due to COVID-19, but current vaccines are proven to be effective against it.

Abbott singled out people aged 65 or older as those “most in danger” of dying or being hospitalized with COVID-19, saying they are getting the vaccine.

According to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, nearly 75% of Texans in that age range are fully vaccinated and almost 83% are partially vaccinated.

He also said he expects a rise in vaccinations rates for school-aged kids and teachers now that the delta variant is making more people sick.

“What we do anticipate is that as kids are approaching the beginning of school, and with the Delta variant increasing, Abbott said. “You probably will see an increase in the number of parents choosing to have the child vaccinated, as well as, the increase in teachers who have not yet been vaccinated, probably going out and getting a vaccination.”

He said kids won’t be forced by the government or school to wear masks when school starts in the fall.

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