Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a vocal opponent of mask and vaccine mandates, announced Tuesday he had tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after mingling unmasked with supporters at campaign events. The Republican governor is receiving Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment, which aims to lessen the severity of the illness and is the same treatment given to former President Donald Trump when he was hospitalized with the virus last year.
Abbott, who is fully vaccinated, is isolating at the governor’s mansion and said in a video posted online that he’s feeling fine so far, which he suggested is the result of the vaccine at work.
Abbott attended campaign events just hours before announcing he had contracted the coronavirus.
Abbott’s diagnosis comes as he has taken direct action to forbid preventive measures being mandated in his state at the very moment cases are again on the rise. Abbott issued an executive order that prohibits local governments or state agencies from imposing mask or vaccine mandates to slow the spread of the delta variant. Abbott’s order also prohibits local officials from requiring students to wear masks at school, which are set to reopen amid a new spike in cases.
“Pandemic indicators in Texas have been sharply rising,” the Texas Tribune reports. The state lags behind national vaccination averages with only 45 percent of Texans being fully vaccinated. Last week, COVID-related hospitalizations shot up by more than 20 percent in the state.
For more on Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas voting rights fight, listen to this episode of What Next.