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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

America's great economic reopening is hitting a major snag, just like the public health experts warned.

Why it matters: Confirmed case counts are soaring to the point where Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is pausing the state's reopening and canceling elective surgeries to stockpile PPE.

  • The number of Texans hospitalized with COVID-19 has tripled since Memorial Day, the Texas Tribune reports.
  • The state still has plenty of hospital beds, but hospital officials are rushing to add more capacity and shift patients around.

The big picture: Face masks are essential to slowing the coronavirus' spread, but they have become politicized in recent months.

  • Wearing face masks "could result in a large reduction in risk of infection," according to a recent review of 172 studies, Axios Science editor Alison Snyder and Eileen Drage O'Reilly report.
  • But conservatives who prize individual autonomy over social responsibility experience "a massive pushback of psychological resistance" when presented with mask mandates, psychology professor Steven Taylor told Axios Future editor Bryan Walsh.
  • This is partly a failure by public health experts. CDC guidance has flip-flopped on wearing masks during the pandemic, and white lies meant to preserve PPE for health workers has backfired big time.
  • The CDC now thinks the realistic estimate of cases could be as high as 23 million — 10x the current tally — because of asymptomatic carriers.

Between the lines: Unlike the mass confusion of mid-March, Americans now have a reasonable sense of what to do in a pandemic.

  • If you're at risk, stay home.
  • If you're not at risk and won't stay at home, put on a mask and wash your hands, don't socialize indoors and stay 6 feet apart.

The bottom line: This round of outbreaks may be concentrated among young people, but at a certain level of spread, the older folks could get it too.

  • "We have consistently underestimated this virus," Ashish Jha of Harvard reminded the AP.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

The president is infected

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump, who had talked and acted like he was medically invincible, tweeted just before 1am that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for coronavirus.

Why it matters: The shocking announcement has personal, political, medical, financial and national security ramifications. Election Day is 32 days away. Markets hate uncertainty, and we now have the biggest X factor in the world.

Mark Meadows: Trump experiencing "mild" coronavirus symptoms

President Trump is experiencing "mild" coronavirus symptoms after testing positive, a maskless White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Friday.

Why it matters: The president is at high risk for a severe COVID-19 infection, due to his age at 74 and his body mass index, which puts him just over the line into obesity, as recorded in his last two annual physicals.

White House staff frustrated by lack of info

President Trump steps off Air Force One in Minneapolis on Wednesday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump's aides aren't answering basic questions about "who knew what when" about his coronavirus diagnosis — and a lot of those questions are coming from inside the house.

Why it matters: Some current and former White House officials have been privately complaining about the reckless attitude internally toward social distancing and mask wearing, feeling they are being put at risk unnecessarily every day when they show up to work.