California vs. Texas: Which State Has the Right Reopening Approach?

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They are the two most populated states in America and have both been hit hard by COVID-19, but California and Texas are taking very different approaches to reopening.

As California cautiously eases restrictions and urges everyone to continue masking, Texas is about to reopen everything and drop its mask mandate.

"It is now time to open Texas 100%," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said this week, noting that nearly 6 million Texans have been vaccinated.

In California, more than 9 million people have been vaccinated, but the reopening process is moving slower.

"Only time will tell that giving people relief, especially when you’re vaccinating, if that is a good strategy," Dr. Monica Gandhi, a UCSF infectious diseases specialist and professor of medicine, said. "I think his relief is too much. I think our relief is just right."

Gandhi said the safest thing to do right now is to keep wearing masks and reopen gradually.

"Why do you gradually ease restrictions? Not because you want COVID but because you have to give your population a break," she said. "And gradually easing restrictions and vaccinating at the same time is going to be a winning thing to do."

While Texas has been cheered by some, it's also faced harsh criticism for its rollbacks, from President Joe Biden to local businesses and leaders.

Gandhi said regardless of which method people support, none of this is likely to lead to a new surge, especially in California, because every day the number of people vaccinated goes up.

"I do not believe that we are opening too quickly and I think that history will bear me out," she said.

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