Pence on virus: "About two weeks ago, something changed"

ajc.com

With a continuing surge in Coronavirus cases hitting the south and southwest, Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday vowed federal help for states seeing an increase in cases, as Pence also urged Americans to wear a mask if local leaders have advised that step.

"About two weeks ago, something changed," Pence said during a news conference with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who last week ended efforts to relax Coronavirus restrictions, shutting down bars immediately in a bid to stop the spree of new cases.

"We need to understand that COVID-19 has taken a very swift and very dangerous turn in Texas over just the past few weeks," the Governor said.

Texas reported 5,357 new cases of the virus on Sunday, marking the sixth consecutive day of more than 5,000 daily new cases.

"This is a moment where we have we have to put our arms around and protect the most vulnerable among us," the Vice President said of the virus outbreak.

It was a marked change for both Pence and Abbott, who had trumpeted progress made by Texas and other states in re-opening.

"You flattened the curve here in Texas," Pence said, but that has changed as new cases have gone from a 7-day average of 1,273 on June 1 to a 7-day average of nearly 5,800 cases a day by this weekend.

Pence arrived with a notable change, as he wore a mask by descending the steps of Air Force Two, and then kept it on through his day in Texas.

"Wearing a mask is just a good idea," said the Vice President, who on Friday had not joined in wearing a mask during a news conference with federal health experts in Washington, D.C.

"Wear a mask, wherever it's indicated," Pence added.

On his visit in Texas, Pence went to a large indoor church service - where some people were wearing a mask - but not members of a large church choir, who sang during the services.

Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control detailed how a church choir practice had become a superspreading event for the Coronavirus, as a 2.5 hour practice attended by 61 people resulted in two virus deaths.

But when the CDC issued guidelines for church choirs, a CDC warning about church choirs was removed.

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