Covid-19 Virus rules not enforced. Grieving Texas family asks: Why?
ABILENE, Texas — within the weeks that Mark Riggs went from feeling worn down before Thanksgiving to dying of COVID-19 last Monday, only six calls about people not wearing face coverings rolled into the Abilene local department .
Even though defiance of Texas’ mask mandate is straightforward to seek out here.
When Riggs checked into the hospital, a morgue trailer large enough to stack 24 bodies had just arrived out back. A medical canvas tent sprung up within the parking zone while doctors moved the 67-year-old college professor to a ventilator. He died in an medical care unit that has been full for weeks and is that the largest within roughly 15,000 square miles of pumpjacks and cattle pastures, bigger than Maryland.
Officers skilled three of the calls about face coverings, which are required since June. No citations were issued.
“I’ve never been one to call out government or leadership,” said Katie Riggs Maxwell, 38, Riggs’ daughter. “But it’s suddenly extremely personal.”
As virus cases and deaths have soared across the state this fall, pressure has intensified on governors who haven’t issued mandates that need people to wear masks indoors and publicly places. Health experts consider masks the foremost effective way of preventing the spread of COVID-19. Most states have statewide orders, and of the roughly dozen that do not , the bulk are within the South.
But the talk over mandates and lockdowns — usually fueled by howls of violating individual freedoms — often drowns out the truth of whether the restrictions that are enacted are literally enforced to form them effective.
In some states like ny , where COVID cases overflowed hospitals earlier this year and were treated as a crisis, authorities have dispatched police to reports of violations, ending parties and even monitoring funerals where gatherings of unmasked people were anticipated. In California, l. a. County has issued quite 300 citations since September to churches, businesses and strip clubs for violations of COVID-19 restrictions.
But in many smaller cities, especially in politically conservative parts of the country like Abilene, a statewide mandate in situ might not mean much because the threat of fines is nonexistent.