Anyone hoping Gov. Greg Abbott would revoke pandemic orders long suppressing Texas businesses was sorely disappointed Thursday.

Anyone hoping Abbott would sense the prevailing mood and will of Texans and largely shift the responsibility for COVID-19 prevention to people willing to assess and navigate their own risks also was disappointed.

 Laura Elder: 409-683-5248;

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(18) comments

Craig Mason

The problem is a good number of folks are not smart enough or disciplined enough to follow most guidelines. We saw that on Memorial Day and see it all the time with masks worn like chin straps. That is about as effective as wearing a condom on your elbow. I like the mask mandate and the slow, incremental approach to easing restrictions. The small steps make it easier to back up a small amount, if cases rise, rather than having to take larger draconian steps. What people forget is Covid is still here and is still deadly. I am sick of it too but I think the governor has done well given the circumstances.

Wayne D Holt

"The problem is a good number of folks are not smart enough or disciplined enough to follow most guidelines."

Craig, the problem with this sentiment is that it infers there are others who are smarter and more disciplined who should make the decisions for them.

It is a very short step to insisting folks should not be allowed to speak their mind, or even vote for whoever they please, because they are not smart enough or disciplined enough to know as much as the wannabe decision makers.Sort of sounds like slavery, doesn't it?

We as a free people have had enough of coercion and bludgeoning by government and the monopolies they enable. It is time we get back to speaking civilly to one another, building the future together, taking the trouble to be persuasive and being realistic enough to know people have different priorities.

Beating people over the head only works as long as they take it. When the worm turns, you better be wearing a crash helmet.

Gary Scoggin

The problem is that those who are not taking precautions are making the decisions for the rest of us. Covid-19 is a PUBLIC health issue more so than a PRIVATE one.

Wayne D Holt

The problem is the science is far from settled as to what precautions are effective, what are ineffective, what are harmful and what are nothing more than street theater.

Social distancing? CDC says six feet, WHO says four, Harvard study said 26 feet, UK says a little over three feet and there are even more. The CDC was asked by global business news publication Quartz about the origin of their six foot rule to do background on a story they were writing. They asked repeatedly; the CDC never responded. It's arbitrary and interpretive, just like the other standards.

Masks are the totem du jour for those who like to claim those without are "endangering public health." This is a long quote from a person who spent years in filtration design:

"I was trained as a chemist. A large part of my professional career was working in various parts of the filtration industry. I developed a line of mixed esters of cellulose membrane filters. Millipore type filters, that were used to sterilize flu vaccines for Merck Sharp and Dohme as well as other medical products companies. I developed respiratory protection products for Wilson Safety Products used in the mining industry. I worked for Baxter developing medical / IV filters. I have patents on three IV filters I invented. Baxter sold more than 5 million of one of those every year for most of a decade. I know a little bit about filters.

Surgical masks were not designed as filters and were not intended to be used as filters. Surgical masks were designed to be used by surgeons standing face down over an operating table holding a patient with an open wound. The surgeon wearing the mask would be able to talk to others in the room without discharging spittle droplets into the patient's wound. Spittle droplets are large and can cause infection.

I witnessed a test of surgical masks. Small plaster particles were generated in a room. They were visible as a white dust in the air. A man was properly fitted with a surgical mask and spent a short time in the room. When he came out the mask was removed. A camera was focused on the man’s face. The entire area that had been covered by the mask was coated by the white dust. The camera showed that his nostrils and his mouth had been penetrated by the white dust. The dust particles were measured and found to be around 40 micrometers in diameter. The particles that penetrated the mask were the same diameter.

Covid-19 virus molecules are about 0.1 micrometers in diameter. That is 400 times smaller than the plaster particles that penetrated the mask.

Surgical masks will not prevent the wearer from inhaling or exhaling viruses or bacteria. They provide absolutely no protection for either the wearer or anyone nearby. They create a very dangerous false sense of security for everyone. They also force the wearer to rebreath carbon dioxide. Which will over time reduce the wearers blood oxygen level. That can become very dangerous especially for older people."

People need to do their own research on these things rather than swallowing the Kool-Aid of the CDC, WHO and other organizations with deep funding ties to Big Pharma, vaccine patent holders and others with a vested interest in perpetuating a narrative with more holes in it than my Uncle Frank's socks.

Gary Scoggin

"Social distancing? CDC says six feet, WHO says four, Harvard study said 26 feet, UK says a little over three feet and there are even more...." Nobody says zero.

Wayne, you seem to be a bright guy and that's why I'm puzzled as to why you misstate the purpose of masks. in the context of Covid-19, they are not intended to act as filters to protect the wearer. They are intended to lower the velocity of possibly virus-containing exhaled breath from the wearer. In other words, they are there to protect others and, along with a social distance strategy and other measures, provide an extra layer or protection for the public at large. Do they cause some re-breathing of CO2? Possibly, in some cases, depending on the mask and on the susceptability of the wearer. People vulnerable to this need to stay better isolated and reduce the duration and frequency of being around others.

Now, if I accept your assertion that social distancing and masks are malarky, I have to ask what measures should be take as a society to reduce Covid-19 transmission? Or is it no big deal?

Wayne D Holt

Gary, thanks for your civil reply.

First, I challenge anyone here to produce one quote of mine that said social distancing was malarky, or even Malarky Lite. I have NEVER talked about social distancing because I happen to think it is the one strategy that makes sense in enclosed spaces with recirculated air. I studiously practice it myself. There is such a thing as viral load, and when your duration of exposure to a sufficient viral load is met, you have probably passed the threshold of infection. The good news is, you have about a 96% chance that it won't be noticed or will feel like the flu. If you're outdoors in normal Galveston weather, social distancing makes a bit of difference but you are 20x less likely to become infected outdoors than inside.

Masks are not nearly in the same class of protection as distance. 1) When you see emergency orders that say you can use a handkerchief to protect against a deadly disease, you know someone is pulling your leg. 2) Please provide a link to a CDC or other "credible source" that specially talks about masks as primarily helpful to decrease velocity of breath as the function. I haven't seen it. Surgical masks are not designed to do that and they are more effective than the Gig 'Em Aggies! bandana so blithely worn by folks. If you sneeze into the crook of your arm, you will block more expectorant than through even a good mask. And you won't be breathing in CO2 and the toxins your respiratory system was trying to rid itself of.

Virus particles pass through the masks 99% of people are wearing like chickpeas through a chain link fence. But because we are told to believe in mask's magical powers to protect us, we stand closer than we should and when we can't be understood when talking, pull the mask down.

It makes a whole lot more sense to skip the street theater of mandatory masks and just tell people, distance is your friend if you want to avoid this virus. Simple, non-coercive and everyone can decide what feels safe for them. You are free to avoid me entirely, stand eight feet or six feet away, or whatever you feel is right. Of course, I have the same option and will move if I feel the distance is too close.

Do we really need the Gestapo to get this done?

Paula Flinn

Is it so difficult for your fragile ego to admit that there are scientists that are smarter about precautions other non-scientific people should take to avoid getting this virus? You sound like Trump. Listen to precautions, then do what you please anyway. We, in the high-risk group, who have followed the precautions for 6 months are tired of you “free-thinkers,” that think you know better than the doctors and nurses. I’m sure first responders are tired of you, too. My friends and I don’t feel like we’re being “beaten over the head,” but only mildly inconvenienced. Gov. Cuomo was a whole lot harder on the people of NY, and they flattened their curve and their numbers declined dramatically. It will not happen in Texas because of “free-thinkers” like you.

One of your priorities should be to do a few certain things to save as many people’s lives as possible. If it means “inconveniencing“ you, well get over it!

Wayne D Holt

If I had a fragile ego I wouldn't have posted (along with a few other intrepid souls) information since March from scientific journals that apparently incense folks who swallow hook, line and sinker headlines rather than science facts. This position has been gaining ground as we experience the incredible fallout from responses to a disease the vast majority have to test for to even know they have. I have posted links to the world-class research institutions and studies in almost every message I've written since March. I don't recall you posting any response other than personal opinion.

It's immaterial who is tired of hearing what if the narrative is shot full of holes based on the science...and it is. Doctors and nurses provide what is commonly known as anecdotal or episodic observations. I prefer to consult top-notch epidemiological research institutions who are looking not at one hospital they work at but at global research, and statistical analysts who don't confuse case count with lethality.

I also notice a penchant to bring your political biases into the discussion. That is a clear tell that you are not as interested in the science as you are in your perceptions about who is saying it. Bad form, indeed.

It's not an inconvenience to participate in scientifically solid public health efforts. As someone in the same high-risk group as you, it would be in my interest to do so. But when you have to wear blinkers to avoid all the fabrications about this epidemic, it becomes more a religion than an objective inquiry. You're free to believe any religion you wish, including one that doesn't make any sense.

Craig Mason

Leadership means doing what is right, even if it is not popular.

Robert Braeking

I haven't been in the habit of frequenting drinking establishments, but I am going to start. As for Governor Abbot.......good luck on his continued political career.

Wayne D Holt

Leadership is doing what is lawful, when you know you could get away with a whole lot more.

Allen Miller

What great comments and Spot on. Bars should be allowed to open. Abbot should follow this advice. Donald Legate

Chuck DiFalco

I commend Ms. Elder for advocating to get rid of the now harmful lockdowns. (Yes, even harmful to public health, more than the coronavirus.) Her courageous position is uncommon in the media.

Chuck DiFalco

Oops, sorry Mr. Smith for not acknowledging you as co-author of this editorial.

Wayne D Holt


Wayne D Holt

Another commentary right on target regarding the maddening insistence of government to do yet more of what has destroyed lives in the evanescent hope they will be seen as doing something useful, if only by accident.

We have been beyond the realm of reason with these restrictions for so long it does not seem hyperbolic to call them insane. What on earth are they trying to prove? Why are they insisting on broadcasting statistics that bear little to no relevancy as to health impacts while totally ignoring the massive increases in death and despair their decisions have visited upon Texans?

Meanwhile, local emergency powers were extended to January 31 of 2021...incredible. Only Councilman Jason Hardcastle had the fortitude to vote no on this never ending merry-go-round. He very rightfully said the council should be considering ongoing enactments by council votes on the record, not a perpetual state of emergency. Why then is council hiding behind a blanket order for another nearly five months?

At another time in the life of our republic, we would be engaging in mass civil disobedience of similar orders of an out of touch bureaucracy. Perhaps that is exactly what we should be considering now, in the best tradition of American patriotic action.

Chuck DiFalco

"Abbott ... didn’t set a [hospitalization] benchmark for getting Texas fully back to work. Is it 10 percent, 2 percent, 0 percent?"

So what? True, the governor has been all over the map in his favored epidemiological metric since March. However, the time for focusing on any and all such metrics is long past over, because the 800 pound gorilla in the room that few are seeing is economic Depression 2.0, which will kill far more than coronavirus ever could. I'm not interested anymore in what Abbott says about his pandemic policy. I'm only interested in what he does. That means no more exit strategy, just action, whether it be thoughtful workplace safety rules, clear public facility protocols, or further lifting lockdowns. His latest order clearly eases up on lockdowns. Now if Abbott makes no progress in the aforementioned areas over the next two months, I'll be questioning his fitness as governor.

Ted Gillis

I think Abbott is trying to do the best he can with the information that is provided to him. A 15 percent hospitalization rate is still kind of high. He’s also got several people trying to guide him in different directions.

More important is not only his position today, but also Dan Patrick’s position on the primary ballot in 2022!

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