By Jack Fink

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.OM) – Governor Greg Abbott said his decision to fully reopen Texas and end the statewide mask mandate Wednesday, March 10 is backed up by the state’s Covid-19 hospitalization and positivity rates, which are the lowest since mid-October.

“All the metrics are moving in the right direction. You cannot wait until you get to the very end until there are no more Covid cases because we’re never going to get to a position where there are no more Covid cases.”

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During the live interview on CBS 11 News at 5:00 p.m. Thursday, March 4, the Governor repeated that even though his orders will end, Texans should still wear masks and follow safety protocols.

He also cited the rising number of people being vaccinated, and that every senior who wants a vaccine will be able to get one by the end of this month.

The Governor also mentioned that doctors have said that possibly in early May, every Texan who wants a vaccine will be able to get it.

Before making his decision, he said he and his office consulted with two doctors on his team. “Everything that we announced was talked about, the metrics we talked about as well as what I was going to have in the executive order as well as what I was going to have in my remarks.”

Another doctor on his team, Dr. Mark McClellan of Duke University said in an email to CBS 11 Thursday that the Governor didn’t speak with him before his decision and that he disagreed with him. “I don’t think this is the right time.

Texas has been making some real progress but it’s too soon for full reopening and to stop masking around others.”

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When asked about the criticism he’s received he said, “It doesn’t surprise me because of course, Dr. Fauci said we’re going to need to wear masks until next year. Here’s the deal, there’s never going to be uniform agreement on this.”

We also discussed the fallout from last month’s deadly power outages.

I asked the Governor why he never criticized the Public Utility Commission, which regulates the state’s electric grid operator, ERCOT, and answers directly to him,

He didn’t say, but he repeated his criticism of ERCOT CEO Bill Magness, saying he didn’t prepare for the unprecedented storm, and then worsened power outages, by waiting too long to take action to prevent a catastrophic blackout.

“This was an operational error by Magness at ERCOT and it’s exactly why he needs to be replaced.”

The ERCOT Board fired Magness Wednesday night, and on Monday, the Chair of the PUC resigned, hours after Lt. Governor Dan Patrick called on her to step down.

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WATCH FULL INTERVIEW HERE