US Texas starts face covering mandate amid soaring COVID-19 cases
US state of Texas added more than 7,500 new COVID-19 cases on Friday as statewide mask mandate came into effect.
According to Texas Health and Human Services, as of Friday there have been 183,532 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state, 7,555 more than that of Thursday. The death toll reached 2,575.
Starting from Friday noon, the statewide face covering mandate came into effect. The order, issued by Texas Governor Greg Abbott a day ago, asks all people to wear face covering over the nose and mouth in public places in Texas counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions.
Also on Friday, Sylvester Turner, mayor of Houston, the largest city in the state, made a statement on Texas Republican's decision to proceed with in-person convention as COVID-19 cases spike.
The convention was scheduled for July 16-18 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. The decision was made by State Republican Executive Committee.
"Now that the Executive Committee has made the decision to move forward, the City will decide what steps must be taken to protect the health and safety of employees, visitors, and the general public," said Turner, who expressed hope earlier that the in-person convention would be changed into a virtue one.
"At the very minimum, masks will be a requirement for attendance and service. However, it is also my hope that over the next several days, the party's leadership will reconsider in view of the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases, increased hospitalizations, and shortage of ICU beds," said the statement.