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Brownsville doctor encourages residents to still follow CDC guidelines despite statewide mask mandate lift

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Signs tells customers about safety measures against COVID-19 that are required inside a retail store Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Dallas. Texas is lifting a COVID-19 mask mandate that was imposed last summer but has only been lightly enforced. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement Tuesday makes Texas the largest state to do away with a face covering order. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

BROWNSVILLE (KVEO) — A Valley Baptist Medical Center doctor is encouraging Texans to still follow health guidelines by wearing masks and social distance despite Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to lift the statewide mask mandate.

Dr. Beverly Zavaleta, a physician at Valley Baptist Medical Center-Brownsville, stated that it would be in everyone’s best interest to continue following the CDC guidelines until a larger percentage of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19.

“At current rates we only have six to 10 percent of the population vaccinated,” said Zavaleta. “That’s not enough to offer protection and allow us to mingle with each other without masks yet.”

Due to the low vaccination rate, Zavaleta states COVID-19 can still be easily spread in public.

“We really need everyone to continue to practice those prevention measures until we reach an immunity level at about 75 to 80 percent,” said Zavaleta.

Zavaleta stated that a fourth surge of COVID-19 cases is possible if people ease following guidelines.

She affirms that medical guidelines have not changed just because the governor lifted the mandate.

While some people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine believe they should be exempt from wearing masks, Zavaleta states that it is important to still wear masks around others because they could be at risk for transmission.

Zavaleta says that there is not enough data to state how much vaccines prevent transmission of COVID-19.

“Until we can show that the transmission is being reduced by being vaccinated, we want everyone to remain wearing their masks until we see those studies,” said Zavaleta.

Zavaleta commented that witnessing the impact this has on patients’ family members and having a firsthand look at people dying during the pandemic has driven her to advocate for people to follow health guidelines set forth by medical experts.

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