On June 26, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to close again and restaurants to reduce their capacity back to 50%. In addition, he shut-down river-rafting which is speculated to have caused a significant rise in cases in Hays County and banned outdoor gatherings of 100 people or more. Since June 12, Texas restaurants have been operating at 75% capacity and bars at 50% capacity.
The CDC recommended states to refrain from re-opening until they see a downward trajectory of confirmed cases and positivity rate of 20% or less for 14 consecutive days. Texas did not meet these recommendations before re-opening.
The number of Covid-19 cases in Texas grew rapidly since entering phase1 of re-opening on May 1 and on June 25, the state set its record again on both positive cases and hospitalization rate which prompted Governor Abbott to scale back on his re-opening plan.
Governor Abbott stressed the importance of staying home unless absolutely necessary and while reluctant to mandate face masks statewide, he recommends Texans to wear them in public.
There are numerous studies conducted domestically and internationally that prove face masks are effective in preventing the spread of Coronavirus. According to Dr. Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, wearing masks can reduce transmission of the virus by 50% and if 95% of Americans wore face masks in public, 33,000 deaths could be avoided by October 1. IHME's new model projects nearly 180,000 deaths in the US by October 19.
Types of face masks
Does not provide the wearer with a reliable level of protection from inhaling smaller airborne particles and is not considered respiratory protection(CDC).
Filters out at least 95% of airborne particles including large and small particles. However, N95 respirators should be reserved for healthcare workers and not worn by the public(CDC).
Cloth face covering
May not protect the wearer, but it may keep the wearer from spreading the virus to others(CDC).
Filters out at least 95% of airborne particles including large and small particles similar to the N95. N95 respirators are made to the US standards while KN95 masks are manufactured in China to their standards. With shortage of N95 masks in the US, the FDA has issued Emergency Authorization Use on select KN95 mask that meet FDA and CDC's standards. Vias International offers KN95 masks produced by Dongguan Arun Ltd. a manufacturer approved by the FDA for Emergency Authorization Use.