Texas mask mandate expires as average daily new coronavirus cases hits new U.S. lows

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Texas mask mandate expires as average daily new coronavirus cases hits new U.S. lows

A coronavirus mask mandate in Texas officially expired Wednesday as Gov. Greg Abbott (R) presided over a near-total reopening of the state’s economy, even as the nation’s top public health experts warned against loosening restrictions as new variants spread — and spring break looms.

Under the new rules, outlined in an executive order last week, private businesses can still opt to maintain mask and health protocols, and Abbott has urged Texas residents to “not abandon safe practices.” The U.S.’s top infectious-disease expert Anthony S. Fauci warned Wednesday that completely putting aside all public health measures “as if you’re turning a light switch off, that’s quite risky.” Fauci said such moves could invite another surge in cases.

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