As March blew in like a lion and with coronavirus vaccines being distributed, the UK and the US began looking towards a post-pandemic future.

UK

On Monday, March 2, Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a statement and held a press conference later in the day to announce that schools would reopen on Monday, March 8.

He laid out what he calls a ‘roadmap’ for the next few months, with businesses reopening in stages from April through the summer.

It’s not worth detailing here, because this, as with everything else, is likely to be hijacked by SAGE scientists and psychologists.

Boris maintains that the Government, advised by SAGE, is relying on data not dates, yet, there are tentative dates associated with each stage, the next one being in early April.

Outside of school reopenings at this point, the rest is subject to change.

On the subject of schools, who could forget that schools in England opened the first Monday in January only to be closed by the end of that day? What a palaver!

Katherine Fletcher, one of the new Conservative MPs from 2019, representing the northern constituency of South Ribble, studied biology, qualified as a safari ranger in Africa, worked in banking and ran her own business before entering politics.

She opined on Budget Day, March 3, that her constituents were unhappy with the financial cost of lockdown. She also said they ‘get’ that they had to be locked down:

just because some bat in China got a nasty cough a couple of years ago.

This is Northern plain speaking at its best:

Also note the fairy lights at the top left of the video. Indoor fairy lights seem to be a post-Christmas lockdown trend. Bob Seely MP (Isle of Wight) has them, too.

She added (emphases mine):

this Government have done eye-wateringly massive things quickly to protect people, their families and their work from the consequences of bats and biology.

It is also honest to say that this help has cost us a fortune. This Conservative Government have been fair in protecting people when the awful things happened, but the sums of money required are—wow—massive. It is our money. When I say that it is costing us a fortune, I do mean “us”. It is not Government money or some nebulous concept; it is our money raised by our taxes on our hard work and our business innovation. At some point, we will have to pay this massive support backnot all in one go and not at any price. I commend the Chancellor’s honesty today in setting out two broad themes on how to keep us on an even keel with our money and the nation’s finances.

As individuals, we will have to push back some potential gains to future years, such as freezing salaries, paying a bit more tax, and asking the bigger businesses to contribute a bit more without making us as a country too different from our international peers in the G7. As the Government, we will have to continue to be careful about how we spend our money, but when we do spend money, we should spend it to invest. This statement shows that we will focus on areas that will help us grow our businesses and our communities. We are putting in place the foundations for a future economy to boing back, never mind bounce.

Today’s announcements of investments, super deductions and capital investment plans will boost business investment by enormous sums with world-leading measures. This Government are supporting people to invest to grow their business, creating good jobs across the country. Measures today such as the UK infrastructure bank in Leeds—it is the wrong side of the Pennines, but still amazing—and the levelling up fund will make the UK and Lancashire the best place in the world for innovative businesses to set up and grow. Freeports will help us get our goods to the world, and Help to Grow is brilliant. It will give everyone access to new skills and technologies and boost their businesses, no matter how small they are. I would have run with open arms to these measures when I was running my business.

On a personal note, the people of Leyland want me to thank the Chancellor hugely for the announcement today of the £25 million investment in our town …

That’s all for the UK this week.

United States

Two states — Texas and Mississippi — lifted their states’ mask mandates.

Alabama

It was thought that Alabama would join them, but on Thursday, March 4, Governor Kay Ivey said she would be extending it through April 9, then lift the order.

NBC reported:

Gov. Kay Ivey said the extension would give businesses time to implement their own policies and make any necessary adjustments before to the deadline.

The current order requires people to wear masks in public whenever they are within 6 feet of someone else from a different household. Face coverings are also required in schools and colleges for both employees and students in the second grade and above.

Once the order ends next month, masks will no longer be mandated.

“There’s no question that wearing masks has been one of my greatest tools in combatting the spread of the virus,” Ivey said at a news conference Thursday.

“And even when we lift the mask order, I will continue to wear my mask while I’m around others and strongly urge my fellow citizens to use common sense and do the same thing. But at that time, it will become a matter of personal responsibility and not a government mandate,” she added.

Ivey said the state had kept the mask order in place for a “generous amount of time.”

Texas

On Monday, March 2, Governor Greg Abbott announced that Texas was opening up, mask-free, effective Wednesday, March 10:

Here is his announcement:

The Texan has a more nuanced view of what the lifting of the state’s mandate means. It will be left to individual counties, businesses and health-oriented places to mandate mask wearing:

Abbott said that his executive order will allow county judges to impose other restrictions if COVID-19 hospitalizations rise above 15 percent in the state trauma service area that covers their county — though not with a penalty of jail time or fines with any mask mandates

businesses may still require employees and customers to wear face coverings and request law enforcement to remove violators for trespassing.

“Removing statewide mandates does not end personal responsibility or the importance of caring for your family members,” said Abbott. “Personal vigilance to follow the safe standards is still needed to contain [COVID-19]. It’s just that now state mandates are no longer needed.”

… According to the New York Times, Texas follows 12 other states that currently do not have mask mandates.

Mississippi

The lifting of Mississippi’s mask mandate and reopening of all businesses went into effect on Wednesday, March 3.

Governor Tate Reeves announced his reasons:

Absolutely!

Joe Biden: ‘Neanderthal thinking’

Readers will not be surprised that the three aforementioned governors are Republican.

Before Texas and Mississippi lifted their mandates, the CDC warned that restrictions should remain in place (more here):

On Wednesday, mask-happy Joe Biden accused the governors of ‘neanderthal thinking’:

Thankfully, Daily Wire reported what Biden said, as it is somewhat difficult to hear his words:

“I think it’s a big mistake. Look, I hope everybody has realized by now these masks make a difference,” Biden said. “We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way … we are able to get vaccines in people’s arms. We’ve been able to move that all the way up to the end of May to have enough for every adult American to get a shot.”

“The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything is fine, take off your mask, forget it. It still matters,” he continued. “As of yesterday, we have lost 511,874 Americans. We’re going to lose thousands more.”

“We will not have everybody vaccinated until sometime in the summer. We have the vaccine to do it; getting a shot in someone’s arm and [giving] them a second shot,” he concluded. “It’s critical – critical, critical, critical – that they follow the science. Wash your hands, hot water, do it frequently. Wear a mask and stay socially distanced. And I know you all know that. I wish the heck, some of our elected officials knew it.”

The Gateway Pundit offered this take:

Biden criticized the governors for allowing people to work and feed their families as “Neanderthal thinking.”

Dementia Joe knows that Florida, Texas and Mississippi will expose the big lie that lockdowns and masks slow the spread of Covid.

True. We’ve already seen proof of that in South Dakota and Florida.

Tate Reeves wasted no time in responding.

Shortly after Biden made his announcement, Reeves tweeted:

Reeves credited President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed for his decision. He said that over 700,000 people in Mississippi, with a population of 2.97 million, have now had the vaccine. He told Neil Cavuto that the number of positive cases in the state has dropped dramatically over the past two months. He also asked, ‘If not now, then when?’

On Thursday, March 4, he told Fox News that Joe Biden should get out of Washington DC once in a while to travel to middle America. He said that Biden’s message of ‘Neanderthal thinking’ reminded him of Hillary Clinton’s ‘deplorables’:

Glad to see that these governors are sticking to their guns, especially Tate Reeves.

We have to learn to live with coronavirus, something I’ve maintained for nearly a year.