The Texas no-lockdown experiment: Still working, so far

When we made a commitment here at Gript to keep reporting on the case numbers in Texas, around the time when Joe Biden called their decision to re-open and abolish mask mandates “neanderthal thinking”, it didn’t occur to me that we’d have to find a new “Texan” photo to headline the story every week. Last week it was JR Ewing, this week you have to make do with the world’s second most famous Texan, Dubya.

Like about 40% of Texans, Bush has been vaccinated against Covid 19, so that’s certainly helping the figures. Indeed, Israel, which is the first country in the world to be – for all intents and purposes – fully vaccinated has seen the complete collapse of covid cases and deaths. We give space on these pages to people who don’t want to take a vaccine for whatever reason, because that’s just fair, but the evidence so far is that the vaccines are working to stifle the virus in places where lots of people are vaccinated.

Here are the latest numbers from the Lone Star State:


Cases have ticked up, very slightly, since last week, and it’s important to note that. But they remain at a significantly lower level than they were on March 10th, when the mask mandates and the lockdowns were abolished.

There will be some, of course, who will insist that the big outbreak is yet to come, but bear in mind Ireland’s Christmas experience: We were open for a whole lot less than a month when cases began to surge. If there was going to be a tsunami of new cases as a result of the decision to open up, you’d expect to be seeing a very different graph to the one above, by now.

It’s fair to say that at the beginning of the pandemic, places like Texas and the UK got it wrong, by comparison to Ireland. They had a vastly bigger rate of infection, and many more deaths, than we did. You can be an opponent of lockdown in 2021, and still concede that at the beginning of the pandemic, in the face of an unknown virus, it was the prudent thing to do, and probably saved lives.

But by the same store, it’s harder and harder to defend continued lockdown today, especially when we have examples like this one to point to.

Of course, most of us don’t have examples like Texas to point to. RTE covered their decision to end the lockdown back on March 2nd, in a story on their website, but they have not mentioned it since. Why is that?

The pandemic is an unusual event in that almost every country in the world is facing the same challenge: Keep the virus suppressed, while allowing life to continue as much as possible. Right now, Ireland and Texas are doing a fairly similar job of keeping the virus suppressed, but Texas is clearly doing a vastly better job of allowing life to continue as much as possible.

That should be a factor in the thinking of Irish people, but it’s not. Because the media just doesn’t want to talk about it.

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