Dr. Birx says face coverings will be needed at large gatherings after states reopen

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As states begin to partially reopen businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, White House Task Force member Dr. Deborah Birx said on Tuesday that face masks will be needed at large gatherings or on airplanes for the foreseeable future.

“We know that talking, singing, certainly sneezing and coughing can pass the virus on to others.  And because you can pass it when you’re asymptomatic, people don’t know that they are infected,” Birx told “Fox & Friends,” explaining that in airports or at sporting events people are gathering from all different areas.

“If everybody wears a face mask, then you’re protecting the other person because it’s really having the asymptomatic individuals wearing masks, but since you don’t know if you’re one of those, really everyone needs to in those kinds of social gathering situations.”

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Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott detailed plans on Monday to reopen the state for business amid the coronavirus pandemic – allowing places like retail stores, restaurants and movie theaters to open up to customers at a limited capacity by Friday May 1.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said wearing masks will be encouraged, but will not be required.

The move by Abbot puts Texas – the country’s second-largest economy behind California – at the forefront of the movement to reopen state businesses that have been basically brought to a standstill as the U.S. grapples with the outbreak of COVID-19.

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“We’re not just going to pen up and hope for the best,” Abbott said during a news conference on Monday in Austin. “We’re going to open in a way that will also contain the virus and keep us safe.”

 

He added: "A more strategic approach is required so that we don’t open only to close down again.”

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Along with retail stores, restaurants and movie theaters, Abbott said that museums and libraries can also reopen on Friday at a 25 percent capacity. Sole proprietors of businesses can also open and doctors and dentists can resume normal operations as well.