President Joe Biden has urged Americans to act aggressively against COVID-19 as the Republican governors of Texas and Mississippi lifted all their restrictions to fully reopen and other states started relaxing rules.
His plea came as restrictions and mask mandates were dropped in Texas and Mississippi with all businesses able to reopen at full capacity within a matter of days.
The two southern states join a rapidly growing movement by governors and other leaders across the US to loosen COVID-19 restrictions despite pleas from health officials.
Despite the push, Biden on Tuesday asked Americans to remain vigilant and continue wearing masks as the COVID-19 vaccine effort continued across the country and new cases declined nationwide.
'There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot let our guard down now to ensure victory is inevitable; we can't assume that. We must remain vigilant, act fast and aggressively and look out for one another,' he said on Tuesday.
'Now is not the time to let up,' he said. 'I've asked the country to wear masks for my first 100 days in office. Now is not the time to let our guard down. People's lives are at stake.'
It came as Texas Gov Greg Abbott declared it was time to 'open Texas 100 percent' with all restrictions in the Lone Star state to end March 10.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves immediately followed suit announcing he is rolling back all county mask mandates and removing statewide restrictions on all businesses from today.