Our Question of the Week over the past few weeks has resulted in an interesting and hopeful glimpse into the mindset of Galveston County residents around COVID-19, vaccines, masks and the like.

Our clearly off-the-cuff and unscientific survey found recently that:

• About 75 percent of those who responded said they would continue to wear masks everywhere they go, despite the statewide mask mandate and other pandemic-related restrictions being lifted by Gov. Greg Abbott on March 10; 12.8 percent said they would put on a mask in public if asked to.

• 67 percent of those who responded said it was too soon for the governor to lift those restrictions.

• And so far, in response to the Question of the Week that debuted on March 21, an overwhelming majority of respondents — 81 percent — believe police should be called in to handle situations where someone refuses to put on a mask or leave private property when asked to do so.

In his lifting of the pandemic mandate, Abbott gave private property owners the green light to make their own rules surrounding things like masks and social distancing.

We haven’t asked this question yet in our weekly polls, but it seems a majority of businesses in the county are upholding their masking requirements, and many seem to be voluntarily operating at less than 100 percent capacity and adhering to social distancing suggestions, if not requirements.

And finally, in Tuesday’s edition of The Daily News, we reported that three months after vaccinations began in Galveston County, more than half of its residents age 16 or older have received at least one COVID-19 shot.

The county officially reached the milestone Monday, according to a daily report from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

More than 18 percent of county residents — 9,957 people — are fully vaccinated and another 32 percent of residents — 87,866 — have received a first dose of vaccine. Thousands of people in the latter group are expected to receive second vaccinations and join the fully vaccinated group within weeks.

Along those lines, the state health department said Tuesday it open vaccinations to everyone 16 or older beginning Monday.

Galveston County ranks sixth among Texas’ 20 most populated counties in terms of vaccination rates and has the second-highest vaccination rate among Houston-area counties.

What this all points to is that Galveston County residents are choosing to err on the side of safety.

In this case, of course, there was the pandemic-ravaged economy to consider when Abbott made his decision to lift the restrictions. Whether he made the right decision for the right reasons is a debate that will take place over dinner tables, poker nights, church potlucks, teachers’ lounges, birthday parties, girls nights out and office water coolers for some time to come — and, for the first time in a long time, in person.

Despite the occasional hiccup, Galveston County has gotten it right more often than not in dealing with this pandemic from the start. There’s much to be proud of.

We agree with the assessment offered by Galveston County Judge Mark Henry, who, despite his own personal beliefs about pandemic restrictions, helped steer the ship that got us where we are now, along with the University of Texas Medical Branch and the Galveston County Health District, among others.

“We are proud that Galveston County has reached an important milestone in our vaccination efforts,” Henry said in a statement Monday. “Where we are today is a testament to the great things we can achieve as a community when we all work together towards a common goal.”

Yes, sir. The key now is to stay the course, stay masked, use common sense when it comes to hygiene and gatherings, and get vaccinated. We’ve got this.

• Margaret Battistelli Gardner

Margaret Battistelli Gardner: 409.683.5227; Margaret.Gardner@galvnews.com.

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Deputy Managing Editor

Margaret joined The Daily New in December 2019, bringing more than 20 years of editorial experience to the team. A Philadelphia native, she lives in Galveston County with her husband, Steve, and their dog Nanook.

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(20) comments

Bailey Jones

It's good to see that most county residents are exercising personal responsibility and common sense by "choosing to err on the side of safety". That's the side we need to be on.

Hopefully, the self-entitled few who lack common sense and choose personal "liberty" over responsibility won't infect too many more of us before the vaccines can take effect.

Wayne D Holt

Sad to say it Bailey but once again you regurgitate Big Pharma/government deceptions. You are a person of integrity and I know you believe the above but the science is beginning to accumulate that clearly people who take this gene therapy are exposing themselves to short and long-term risks that they simply have not been made fully aware of.

For just one instance, I refer you and other readers to the piece "Urgent Open Letter from Doctors and Scientists to the European Medicines Agency regarding COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Concerns" distributed one month ago. https://doctors4covidethics.medium.com/urgent-open-letter-from-doctors-and-scientists-to-the-european-medicines-agency-regarding-covid-19-f6e17c311595

In it, the glaring shortcomings of these rushed injectables are pointed out sequentially, allowing even a lay person to understand the underlying testing lapses that can--and have been--resulting in injury and death from taking this shot. This is not a diatribe from a Trumpster in his basement. It is footnoted and signed by experts such as Professor Sucharit Bhakdi MD, Professor Emeritus of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Former Chair, Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and Professor Stefan Hockertz, Professor of Toxicology and Pharmacologym, European registered Toxicologist, Specialist in Immunology and Immunotoxicology, CEO tpi consult GmbH. Approximately 80 other credentialed doctors, many in specialized fields relevant to this topic, join them.

Paragraph 5 is of particular interest to me: "If such evidence is not available, it must be expected that this will lead to a drop in platelet counts, appearance of D-dimers in the blood, and to myriad ischaemic lesions throughout the body including in the brain, spinal cord and heart. Bleeding disorders might occur in the wake of this novel type of DIC-syndrome including, amongst other possibilities, profuse bleedings and haemorrhagic stroke. We request evidence that all these possibilities were excluded in pre-clinical animal models with all three vaccines prior to their approval for use in humans by the EMA."

A dear friend of mine just lost an uncle who insisted on getting his Covid shot. Two days later he died of a haemorrhagic stroke with no previous underlying condition.

Remember there is NO SCIENCE AT ALL concerning the long term effects on human health because that record is being generated now through the reactions of people like you who are getting the shot. There is zero proof of the long term safety, and more and more evidence of immediate harm.

I strongly advise everyone who thinks the headlines being shoved at the American public constitutes the whole story do their own research BEFORE you take that first shot. As the above link points out, it is to be expected that once this gene altering process has been introduced into your body, you are stuck with it for the rest of your life...with any ill effects that may wreak on your system. Is it really worth it for something that has a 99% overall survival rate among all populations?

Gary Miller

Wayne> It is true that catching then surviving covid is the best and surest policy. Long term effects will not be known until far into the future. How long will it take for a cure for vaccine problems to be developed?

AJ LeBlanc

Failure to vaccinate enables spread – which facilitates more variants – which increases the potential of a more potent variant developing that could undo part or most of what has been accomplished to date (all of which has come at a terrible cost in blood and treasure). It's good to see the high vaccination rates in Galveston.

Wayne D Holt

Researchers Warn Some Covid-19 Vaccines Could Increase Risk Of HIV Infection: https://www.forbes.com/sites/roberthart/2020/10/20/researchers-warn-some-covid-19-vaccines-could-increase-risk-of-hiv-infection/?sh=383c45953740

You Can Still Spread, Develop COVID-19 After Getting a Vaccine: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/you-can-still-spread-develop-covid-19-after-getting-a-vaccine-what-to-know

"Failure to vaccinate enables spread – which facilitates more variants..." Even that is now suspect. A new study by an immunologist is asserting that the early vaccination push before herd immunity developed is actually increasing the chances of variants that are more dangerous than Covid 19. Much like the problems associated with prematurely ending an antibiotic course of treatment, ending natural immunity by short circuiting the process allows the virus to adapt more successfully to overcome any immunization; in other words, by following this path we will always be behind as virii adapt and spread much faster than any immunization could be developed, even at Warp Speed.

Mark Wyant

I love it when people keep talking about "common sense" that have none. Continuing to mask after you have been vaccinated is a complete farce and is silly. THERE HAVE BEEN FIVE count them FIVE occurrences of reinfection that have been verified by the CDC after vaccination or infection and recovery. This is out of 30 million people that have had the disease and recovered or 45 million that are fully vaccinated. Now tell me again about "common sense". Or just OBEY like a good little boy.

Susan Smith

Good little sheep. Mark[thumbup]

Wayne D Holt

[thumbup] The facts are so at odds with the narrative as to suggest something more than public health is being promoted here. I have observed "conspiracy theory" after conspiracy theory turn out to be correct over the past year...and still, folks are in the dark as to what is going on, what the real risks are, who financially benefits by terrorizing us into these bizarre and fact deficient positions and whether there is any legitimate authority to do what is being demanded of us.

Nancy Reagan was right: JUST SAY NO!

Carlos Ponce

"but it seems a majority of businesses in the county are upholding their masking requirements"

Maybe in your bubble not not my observation.

Gary Miller

Local business seems to have the belief that good judgement outweighs government orders. Masks are welcome but not required is the majority opinion.

Dan Freeman

There infection after vaccination is real but not non existent: “the absolute risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 after vaccination was 1.19% among health care workers at UCSD and 0.97% among those at UCLA; these rates are higher than the risks reported in the trials of mRNA-1273 vaccine and BNT162b2 vaccine.”

The important issue is not the risk of being infected, but having the virus without symptoms, thereby increasing risks to others and being the source of mutation.

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2101927

Baden LR, El Sahly HM, Essink B, et al. Efficacy and safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. N Engl J Med 2021;384:403-416.

Polack FP, Thomas SJ, Kitchin N, et al. Safety and efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 vaccine. N Engl J Med 2020;383:2603-2615.

Gary Scoggin

That's what I had heard as well. Good news in that masking after vaccination is likely not really needed. I expect that recommendation to come soon.

Ted Gillis

I agree. I expect the CDC masking recommendations to come down soon too.

This will give cover to all of those anti-vaccination folks, as they continue to go about their lives refusing to get vaccinated. Slackers, all of them, expecting us to do the right thing, while they refuse to do it or are just too lazy to do so.

There was some kind of poll recently that claimed 50 percent of male republicans refuse to get the vaccine. What kind of idiots are these people? They should be made to wear a “fools hat” so that us vaccinated people can stay heck away from them!

Bailey Jones

It's all about branding. You're not going to get Trumpsters to use something by marketing it as "science", or even worse - "for the greater good". We need to relabel the vaccine as Infowars Super Male Vitality Elixir. Or maybe Rudy Giuliani's Miracle Liberty Juice. Or Proud Boys Pride Enhancer. You have to reach them where they live.

Carlos Ponce

What Liberals call "science" isn't. Notice the CDC rhetoric does not reflect the data presented. For instance, CDC data show 85% of those who became infected used masks indicating the ineffectiveness of the oft used cloth mask. But in the same presentation they claim masks prevent infection. But since most ignore the data and tables they only believe the propaganda.

Bailey Jones

Carlos, you are the epitome of ignorance. You have demonstrated many times your inability to grasp facts, numbers, math, history, science, religion, logic - or even the most basic moral principles that every schoolchild knows. You perpetuate the ignorance of like-minded idiots - like this gem you lifted from Tucker Carlson. You are the poop-flinging monkey in the roadside zoo of public opinion.

Carlos Ponce

Poor Bailey.[sad] He's been listening to Liberal propaganda for so long he doesn't recognize actual truth.

Wayne D Holt

It's better than that, Carlos. There is zero/nada/no distinction in the compilation of the data as to what type of mask was worn. So when you read "Masks Work!" you are being told a Kleenex on a string, rippling with every middling zephyr encountered, is of the exact same efficacy as a bio-hazard suit, Dallas Cowboys bandana, rhinestone encrusted bling sling and the odd snorkel or scuba get-up you see the true devotees huffing through from time to time.

Take it from me: on this one, the poop-flinging monkeys know more than the zoo keeper.

Wayne D Holt

Ted, as someone who does periodically exhibit unmistakable signs of lucidity [beam] you will enjoy this new wrinkle:

Among the most determined of that cohort resisting vaccination and attempting to inform others of the danger, a new sociological phenomenon has appeared. Rather than endlessly flogging the risks associated with this gene therapy injectable, and the often overlooked cost in physical health to the mindless mask wearing observed so often, the new thinking is to encourage as many as possible to take the shots and wear masks as continuously as possible.

The thinking is this will kill off and/or debilitate the greatest number of those who support these kinds of interventions. As has been said, never interrupt your adversary when they are busy destroying themselves.

While my empathetic nature naturally recoils at this callous innovation, I must admit...there is a certain natural economy of consequences that appeals to my practical side. [whistling]

Gary Miller

Ted> MSM is very good at producing anti Republican polls even when the poll was never done. The question is> Was it you or them who made up this poll?

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