Texas Reports Zero COVID Deaths 2 Months After Biden Called its Reopening Plan as 'Neanderthal Thinking'

Texas Governor Greg Abbott caught heat from Democratic lawmakers when he announced on March 2 this year he would fully reopen the state by the next week. Mississippi lawmakers declared a similar reopening plan about the same time.

The idea was to get more people acclimated back to normal life, including businesses at full capacity and sports arenas full of fans again. For Texas, the governor wanted businesses back at 100 percent and placed filled up again, from school halls to dance halls.

President Joe Biden called such reopening plans as "Neanderthals thinking."

"I hope everybody has realized by now these masks make a difference. We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way we are able to get vaccine in people's arms," Biden said in the White House on March 3.

"The last thing we need is the Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything's fine, take off your mask, forget it. It still matters. ... It's critical, critical, critical, critical that they follow the science."

Texas Rangers Baseball Fans
Fans cheer as the Texas Rangers take on the Los Angeles Angels at Globe Life Field on April 28, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Texas blazed its own path and reopened for business, and the Texas Rangers had a ballpark full of cheering fans for its home opener last month.

On Sunday, just a couple of hours after a major PGA event in Dallas and the NCAA FCS college football national championship in Frisco, Abbott reported that the state had no COVID-related deaths the previous 24 hours, and that the seven-day positivity rate was the lowest it's been since records have been taken—which was March 2020.

Abbott also said COVID hospitalizations was at its lowest in 11 months.

Today Texas reported:

* 0 Covid related deaths--the only time that's happened since data was tracked in March, 2020.

* the fewest Covid cases in over 13 months

* the lowest 7-day Covid positivity rate ever

* the lowest Covid hospitalizations in 11 months.

Thanks, Texans!

— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 17, 2021

Biden expressed disappointment in those states that had plans to fully reopen, saying the goal was for every American adult to receive vaccinations before starting big gatherings, with a target date of July 4 for families to get together and celebrate.

"We've been able to move that all the way up to the end of May to have enough for every American, to get every adult American to get a shot," Biden said in March.

Biden was 0-for-2 against Texas when, after the Rangers baseball organization said it planned to open at full capacity following Abbott's executive order, the president called that decision a "mistake." Rangers general manager Jon Daniels shrugged off that comment and said he still hoped for a full venue on opening day, which he got.

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment.

Abbott issued his executive order on March 2, which is Texas Independence Day.

"With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus," the governor said. "We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent. Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations, and safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed."

States across the south—from Texas to Florida, through Arkansas, Tennessee, the Carolinas and southward to the Gulf of Mexico—have seen relaxed mask mandates and less social distancing as coronavirus vaccines have found their ways into arms of adults.

Though Abbott wanted Texas independence, he stressed continued safe practices for residents of the Lone Star State.

"Today's announcement does not abandon safe practices that Texans have mastered over the past year," said on March 2 in Lubbock. "Instead, it is a reminder that each person has a role to play in their own personal safety and the safety of others. With this executive order, we are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny."

The numbers Abbott released on Sunday for one of the nation's largest states could be a positive sign for the rest of the country.