How California and Texas, the Two Most-Populated States, Are Handling COVID-19 and Vaccinations

Charlotte Ehmann
May 19, 2021

Learning to thrive in the midst of a worldwide pandemic has proven to be a confusing journey, and over the last year, many people have changed their daily routines out of concern about this potentially debilitating disease. As of May 18, there have been 3,390,491 deaths and 163,651,670 confirmed cases worldwide. In the U.S., there have been 592,049 deaths and 33,141,417 cases. 

With the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines in December, 2020, and the approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in February, 2021, a worldwide vaccination effort has ensued. Currently, at least 48.1% of Americans are partially-vaccinated, while 37.7% are fully vaccinated. 

This trend has left regions such as California experiencing record-low case rates. The state currently has a seven-day average of 1,422 new COVID-19 cases per day, and over 35.3 million vaccine doses have been dispersed in California alone. Over 53.4% of California’s population has been partially vaccinated, and 38.7% of Californians have been fully vaccinated. Individuals must wear masks in most indoor settings as well as outdoors when they cannot maintain six feet of social distancing. In accordance with newly-updated Centers for Disease Control guidelines, fully-vaccinated individuals need not wear a mask outdoors unless attending a crowded event such as a party or sporting event. Most schools, gyms, offices, houses of worship, personal care services, restaurants, retail services, and more are open at specific capacity limits with safety regulations in place.

In the midst of this mass effort, Governor Gavin Newsom has announced a plan to end California’s tier-based COVID-19 monitoring system by June 15, 2021 if hospitalizations due to COVID-19 remain low and vaccination rates continue to increase. As of April 15, 2021, all Californians age 16 or above are eligible to receive the vaccine. 

In Texas, those aged 16 or older have been eligible to get the vaccine since March 29, 2021, and 32.6% of Texans have been fully vaccinated while 41.3% have been partially vaccinated. In contrast to California, Texas governor Greg Abbott lifted the state’s mask mandate, along with almost all statewide pandemic restrictions on March 3, 2021; schools, offices, stores, restaurants, personal care services, houses of worship, movie theaters, aquariums, amusement parks, and recreation centers have all reopened. According to The Texas Tribune, the state’s reopening does not seem to have provoked a spike in COVID-19 cases, deaths, or hospitalizations. Whether or not this lack of a post-reopening surge will impact the policies of other U.S. states such as California remains to be seen.

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