Texas among top 10 states with fewest coronavirus restrictions, study finds

Experts discuss consequences of reopening economy too early

See the interactive map below. | Illustration by Henry Keller (Henry Keller, KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – A recent study by WalletHub ranked states based on the fewest number of coronavirus restrictions and Texas came in at No. 8.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, first appeared in late December 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

The first case confirmed in the U.S. was in mid-January and the first case confirmed in San Antonio was in mid-February.

WalletHub determined the ranking for each state based on a number of factors, including the requirement to wear a face mask in public, travel restrictions, large gathering restrictions, the reopening of restaurants and bars and “shelter in place" orders among several other factors.

The top 10 states with the fewest restrictions based on the study are:

  1. South Dakota
  2. Utah
  3. North Dakota
  4. Missouri
  5. Idaho
  6. Tennessee
  7. Montana
  8. Texas
  9. Florida
  10. Iowa

The rankings are based on data available as of 11:30 a.m. Monday.

Source: WalletHub

Reopening the economy

Howard Forman, a professor at the Yale School of Medicine, told WalletHub, “if the economy is opened too early, there would be the development of a new wave and a need for a second shutdown." He added that “social distancing and aggressive testing of contacts are the best ways” to protect the population who are most at risk while resuming economic activity.

Rochester Institute of Technology economics professor Amit Batabyal seemed to echo those sentiments saying reopening the economy too early would cause “more infections and deaths and a need to impose stringent lockdowns once again with minimal economic activity taking place.” His advice to help people return safely to their normal routines is to “wear a mask in public, maintain social distancing to the extent possible, not mingle in large groups, [and] maintain good personal hygiene, including handwashing.”

“The major consequence of opening the economy too early is that we will see a comeback of the pandemic and the medical resources of the society will be stretched to beyond its limit,” said University of Washington assistant professor Clair Yang. “The consequence of opening too late, on the other hand, is that it could inflict unrepairable damage on a major contributor to the economy, the small and medium enterprises.”


About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.