Texas is planning to lift its mask rule and roll back capacity limits on restaurants, joining other states who have eased restrictions in recent days.
Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said those moves are too hasty, given most of the United States is just getting close to the point of delivering vaccines to all those at high risk for COVID-19.
“This just feels a little too premature,” he said. “Right now Texas still has a lot of infections happening. Their positivity rate is still quite high. I would really plead with Gov. [Greg] Abbott to wait several more weeks, and probably more like a month or a month and a half. My sense is local officials are going to step up and probably try to implement some of these public health policies anyway, but it’s still just a little too early to do this.”
Even with the “good news” from President Joe Biden on Tuesday that his administration expects to receive enough doses of the vaccine for all adults in the United States by the end of May, Jha said he’s concerned by the reopenings.
“It will give us a lot of assurance,” he said of Biden’s announcement. “Now, the big challenge is going to be making sure that people are able to get those vaccines into arms, so we’ve really got to build up our distribution. And then of course there’s also the challenge of making sure that people feel confident about taking the vaccine.”