Texas issues state-wide order requiring face coverings

Medical workers treat a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient at the United Memorial Medical Center’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) intensive care unit in Houston, Texas, U.S., June 29, 2020.

Callaghan O’Hare | Reuters

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Thursday requiring residents across the state to wear a face-covering in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive Covid-19 cases.

“Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said in a press release.

“We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another — and that means wearing a face-covering in public spaces,” he added. 

The decision was made because the percent of total tests coming back positive and the hospitalization rate both increased too much, Abbott said.

“Both of those danger zones have now been triggered,” Abbott said. 

On Wednesday, the state reported 8,076 new cases in a 24-hour period, a record-high spike, according to the state’s health department. The virus has now infected more than 168,000 people in the state and killed at least 2,481, according to the state.

By comparison, New York state had around 10,000 new daily cases at the height of its pandemic earlier this year. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization recommends that people wear them as a way to slow the spread of the virus. Scientists say the virus can spread through respiratory droplets that pass when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Studies suggest the masks may serve as a helpful barrier.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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