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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.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trumpworld coronavirus tracker

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

An outbreak of COVID-19 has struck the White House — including the president himself — just weeks before the 2020 election.

Why it matters: If the president can get infected, anyone can. And the scramble to figure out the scope of this outbreak is a high-profile, high-stakes microcosm of America's larger failures to contain the virus and to stand up a contact-tracing system that can respond to new cases before they have a chance to become outbreaks.

GOP Sen. John Cornyn: Trump "let his guard down" on the coronavirus

Photo by Ken Cedeno-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told the Houston Chronicle that President Trump "let his guard down" when it came to the coronavirus and has created "confusion" by trying to downplay the severity of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Cornyn is a high-ranking Republican senator who is closely aligned with Trump and has rarely criticized the president. Cornyn is in a tighter-than-expected re-election race against Air Force pilot and Democrat MJ Hegar.

Updated Oct 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Kayleigh McEnany tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced Monday that she tested positive for coronavirus.

Why it matters: She is the latest member of President Trump's inner circle to be diagnosed with the illness over the last few days.