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End of mask mandate, spring break didn't bring spike in Longview-area COVID-19 cases

Experts say the arrival of spring and availability of vaccines could speak to why the COVID-19 number are currently staying low.
Credit: Michael Cavazos

LONGVIEW, Texas — Texas lifted its mask mandate and business restrictions about four weeks ago. Spring break ended about three weeks ago. However, local COVID-19 case counts have become almost a trickle, in contrast to the spikes that occurred after Thanksgiving and Christmas, for instance.

Thousands of cases hit the area — in Gregg, Harrison, Panola, Rusk, Smith and Upshur counties — during each of those holiday seasons compared with fewer than 800 total in those six counties during the past three weeks. If a spike was going to happen, it would have already shown up in case counts, said Dr. Lewis Browne, Gregg County Health Authority.

“I am surprised (that there hasn’t been a spike in cases), because people immediately decided it was all over with the moment the governor said the mandate was lifted,” he said. 

The number of people who have already been infected and who are getting vaccinated is probably playing a role, with some degree of herd immunity developing, Browne said. 

Read the rest of the story with our news partners, the Longview News-Journal.