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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that "if we don't get our hands around this virus quickly, in about two weeks, our hospital system could be in serious, serious trouble."

Why it matters: Turner said they can always add more beds, but the "major problem" will be ensuring there is enough medical staffing to care for the sick. In Harris County, where Houston sits, there are more than 34,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and over 190,000 cases in the state, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The state of play: Texas has seen a major surge in cases as the state started to reopen, prompting Gov. Greg Abbott to order a statewide mask mandate and the reclosing of bars.

  • Turner said, "From the beginning, when we started opening too quickly and when you layer that on top of everything else all the other activities that were taking place and people starting to resocialize, then you started to refuel the virus. And that's when the numbers started to increase."

Go deeper

Oct 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

GOP senator defends Trump by claiming mask mandate would have failed

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), one of President Trump's most loyal Senate allies, told "Axios on HBO" it was a sign of "respect" from the president to not push for nationwide face mask adoption.

Why it matters: Face masks are a key part of controlling the spread of coronavirus, and many state and local officials clashed over implementing mask mandates.

Updated Oct 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Mix-and-matching gains momentum — Boosters overtake first doses in U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate Brazilian cityPanel endorses J&J booster.
  2. Health: Age is still a huge coronavirus risk factor — Unvaccinated 11x more likely to die from COVID — 5x more police officers died from COVID than guns.
  3. Politics: Over 30 states limited public health powers — Pope Francis calls on companies to release vaccine patents — Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Mark Meadows refuses to wear mask while talking to reporters in Capitol

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows refused to speak to reporters outside Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearing on Monday after they requested that he keep his face mask on.

Why it matters: Meadows has been working out of the White House, which has become a hotspot for the coronavirus over the past two weeks.

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