SAN ANTONIO – Heladio Rendon and Carlos Muniz both fought COVID-19 last summer and barely survived to tell about it. They say the decision by Gov. Greg Abbott to reopen Texas at 100% capacity without a mask mandate on March 10 shocks and scares them both.
They both have fears about getting infected again. Knowing what the virus does, they fear that their families will get it too.
“The virus is going to go off, and there’s going to be more people in the hospital,” Rendon said. “Believe me, this is going to be scary.”
Rendon lost his mother to the virus while he fought for his life in the hospital.
Muniz and his parents haven’t been able to get the COVID-19 vaccine, he said. With less than 7% of Texans inoculated, he thinks reopening is happening too soon.
“With that type of percentage, it’s just way too low for us just to turn away from everything — 100% opening, no masks. It just doesn’t make sense to me,” Muniz said.
The men say they both feel sorry for the health care workers that were just starting to get a break from the previous spike in cases.
Dr. Larry Schlesinger, president and CEO of Texas Biomedical Research Institute, says Texas is in a critical time now to get the virus under control as vaccines arrive by having people continue to wear masks and socially distanced.
“This is precisely the time where I feel we need to hunker down and use those time-honored measures that will enable us to reduce our case rate below where it is currently is entirely too high,” Schlesinger said.
He said there’s enough evidence to show that social distancing and masks help reduce the spread.
“The concern is that if we lighten up on some of these measures and we do suffer another resurgence, that there will be a time where these mutant strains of the virus begin to be the majority of cases,” he said.