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TX Mandates Face Masks as Virus Cases Rise and July 4th Sparks Fears of Spike

A closed sign hangs in the door of The Market, a long-time restaurant and food store located in Larimer Square, that has closed because of the new coronavirus, June 18, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
A closed sign hangs in the door of The Market, a long-time restaurant and food store located in Larimer Square, that has closed because of the coronavirus, June 18, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Thursday saw another record number of new COVID-19 cases in America - 55,000 new cases in a single day. 

In Texas, where the reported number of coronavirus cases is skyrocketing, the governor there has ordered most to start wearing face coverings in public immediately. 

"We've learned that the best way that we can both remain open for business while also containing the spread of COVID-19 is through the strategy of requiring masks that will slow the spread," said Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. 

The move comes after more than 8,000 cases were reported in the Lone Star state in a day on Wednesday, compared to 2,400 a few weeks ago. 

Texas and three other states, California, Arizona, and Florida, are where more than 50 percent of the country's new COVID-19 cases are being recorded.

"Right now if you look at the number of cases, it's quite disturbing," warned Dr. Anthony Fauci, with the White House Coronavirus Task Force. "We're setting records practically every day of new cases."

Facts Vs. Fear

Still, several reports seem to indicate that the media's reporting of the latest virus wave is being fueled by fear and hype. For example, the death rate hasn't risen and a large number of the infected are younger and much less likely to face life-threatening cases.

President Trump also tweeted that the rise in cases is because of massive testing in the US, also pointing out that the death rate is down.

A Bloomberg analysis contends that the latest "spike" in certain southern states is not as serious as the initial wave, partly because of testing changes and awareness. 

The author writes, "In any case, the basic message that Covid-19 cases were much more severely undercounted in March and April than they are now is almost certainly correct. The Sun Belt outbreaks are thus of a lesser speed and scale — so far, at least — than those that hit New York and a few other metropolitan areas in spring."

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Will July 4th Fuel a Surge?

Still, health experts are concerned the pandemic could get worse after widespread social gatherings on the Fourth of July weekend, so hospitals across the country are preparing.

"It makes me really nervous," said nurse Erik Andrews. "I know after the fourth that we could potentially see another surge."

To get ahead of the surge, states like California are rolling back their reopening plans. Instead, ordering indoor restaurants, entertainment centers, movie theaters, and beaches closed for the next three weeks and urging residents to wear masks.

And 19 other states are taking similar measures to pause or reverse their reopening plans. 

"I feel that more and more people are realizing, you know what, the numbers aren't dropping," said a concerned California resident. "We have to take this more serious."

Weeks after lockdown rules were lifted, 40 of the 50 states in America are now seeing their infection numbers on the rise as many Americans have become less vigilant about covering their faces and maintaining social distancing guidelines.

"If things don't change and people don't take it a little bit more serious, in the next two weeks you know, who knows where we will be," said Krystal Spalding, a nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

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