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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaking at the White House in December 2020. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Texas will end its coronavirus restrictions next week with an upcoming executive order, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Tuesday during a press conference in Lubbock.

Why it matters: After Abbott signs the new order, which rescinds previous orders, all businesses can open to 100% capacity and the statewide mask mandate will be over, though large parts of the state will remain under mask local ordinances.

What they're saying: "It is now time to open Texas 100%," Abbott said Tuesday. "For nearly a half a year, most businesses have been open either 75% or 50%, and during that time, too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities."

  • "Too many small business owners have struggled to pay their bills. This must end," he added.
  • The governor said the restrictions are no longer needed now that the state is more prepared to test for and treat the virus and is vaccinating more of its residents.

By the numbers: Texas reported more than 1,600 new cases and zero new deaths from the virus on Monday, according to the state's coronavirus dashboard.

  • Abbott said Texas gave out 216,000 vaccine shots on Tuesday — a record for the state — and that 5.7 million shots have already been administered in the state.

The big picture: Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) also announced Tuesday that the state will lift mask mandates for all counties on Wednesday, saying its "hospitalizations have plummeted, and our case numbers have fallen dramatically as well," according to an ABC affiliate.

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Monday warned states against lifting public health restrictions because coronavirus cases and deaths "appear to be stalling" after a recent decline.

  • "With these new statistics, I'm really worried about reports that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from COVID-19," Walensky said.

Go deeper

J&J and Merck to partner for COVID vaccine production to boost supply

Empty vials that contained a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the COVID-19. Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden will announce Tuesday that pharmaceutical giant Merck will help Johnson & Johnson manufacture its newly authorized coronavirus vaccine to boost supply, a senior administration official tells Axios.

The big picture: The development has the potential to vastly increase supply, possibly doubling what the J&J could make on its own, the official said. The company has run into challenges while trying to expand its vaccine production to a global scale.

Mar 2, 2021 - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans' hopes rise after a year of COVID

Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Note: Margin of error for the entire sample is ±3.1%; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

During the last year, Americans have felt stressed out and worried about the coronavirus — but now more say they're hopeful as the vaccines become available, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: Americans finally see some light at the end of the tunnel as we approach the one-year anniversary of the national emergency over the pandemic — a year that has been full of misery, mental anguish, and sickness and death here and around the world.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Mar 2, 2021 - Health

Exclusive: Teenagers' mental health claims doubled last spring

Expand chart

Teenagers' demand for mental health care skyrocketed last year amid the pandemic, even as their overall need for care declined, according to a new analysis by FAIR Health.

Why it matters: Parents, schools and pediatricians have been warning for months that kids aren't OK, and this analysis backs up their concern with numbers.