Former Vice President Joe Biden offered condolences to the family of the late George Floyd in a video message played at Floyd's funeral in Houston on Tuesday, telling them: "Unlike most, you must grieve in public. It's a burden. A burden that is now your purpose to change the world for the better in the name of George Floyd."

Why it matters: Biden has lost two children and his first wife to tragedy over the course of his political career. Many view his ability to empathize with people who have lost loved ones as one of his strongest qualities as a politician.

What he's saying: "To George's family and friends, Jill and I know the deep hole in your hearts when you bury a piece of your soul deep in this Earth," Biden said. "We know you will never feel the same again." 

  • "Like so many others, I have watched with awe as you summon the absolute courage to channel God's grace and show the good man George was."
  • "To George's children and grandchild, I know you miss your dad and your granddad. Gianna, as I said to you when I saw you yesterday, you're so brave. Daddy's looking down. He's so proud of you. I know you miss that bear hug that only he could give. The pure joy riding on his shoulders so you could touch the sky. ... No child should have to ask questions that too many black children have had to ask for generations. Why? Why is Daddy gone?"
  • "Now is the time for racial justice. That's the answer we must give to our children when they ask why. Because when there's justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America."

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Texas governor mandates face masks in public spaces

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order Thursday requiring all Texans to wear a face covering in public in counties with 20 or more positive coronavirus cases.

Why it matters: It's a stark reversal for the Republican governor that underscores the seriousness of the outbreak in Texas, which set a daily record on Wednesday with more than 8,000 confirmed new cases. On June 3, Abbott issued an executive order banning local governments from imposing fines on people who don't wear masks in public.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

19 mins ago - Health

Top business leaders urge White House to develop mandatory mask guidelines

A man walks past a Ramen restaurant in Los Angeles, California on July 1. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The heads of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, National Retail Federation and other top business organizations wrote an open letter on Thursday urging the White House coronavirus task force to work with governors to make face coverings mandatory in all public spaces.

Driving the news: An analysis led by Goldman Sachs' chief economist found that a national mandate requiring face coverings would "could potentially substitute for lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from GDP," the Washington Post reports.

Updated 50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 10,763,604 — Total deaths: 517,667 — Total recoveries — 5,522,094Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 2,715,124 — Total deaths: 128,439 — Total recoveries: 729,994 — Total tested: 32,827,359Map.
  3. Public health: What we know about the immune response to coronavirus and what it means for a vaccine.
  4. Politics: Herman Cain hospitalized for COVID-19 after attending Trump Tulsa rally — Biden downplays jobs number, rebukes Trump for ignoring health crisis.
  5. States: Florida reports more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases — 5 states saw 27% spike in heart-related deaths in first 3 months of coronavirus pandemic.