Jun 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pence event featured choir of over 100 people performing without masks


Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

A choir of more than 100 people performed without masks at an event featuring Vice President Mike Pence at First Baptist Church in Texas on Sunday, CNN reports.

Why it matters: A May study from the CDC warned about the danger of "superspreader" events after 87% of a 122-person choir in Washington state tested positive for the coronavirus. "The act of singing, itself, might have contributed to transmission through emission of aerosols, which is affected by loudness of vocalization," the report found.

Studies show that masks are one of the most effective tools to curb the spread of the coronavirus. But President Trump and many Republicans have declined to wear masks in public, and Pence has only done so sparingly.

  • Pence was wearing a mask when he arrived at the event on Sunday, as were Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, both of whom traveled with the vice president.
  • Per CNN, members of the choir wore their masks between songs. Masks for other patrons at the event were "strongly encouraged."

The big picture: Texas has seen a dramatic spike in coronavirus cases following its lifting of lockdown restrictions. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has since pressed pause on some parts of the state's reopening plan, including closing bars in the state.

  • Pence said in an interview aired on CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that he supports the efforts to slow Texas' reopening.
  • "Working with your governor, we will put the health of the people of the Lone Star state first, and every single day, we will continue to reclaim our freedom and our way of life as each day we are one day closer to the day we put this pandemic past. And when we do, with this governor and this president, we will bring Texas and America bigger and better than ever before," Pence said at the event on Sunday.

A spokesperson for Pence did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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