Texas Democrat lawmaker who fled state calls for universal mask mandates

Texas State Rep. Donna Howard, one of the six democrats to test positive after fleeing the state of Texas to avoid voting on an election reform bill, has called for a universal mask mandate.

Howard took to Facebook on Wednesday to announce that she had tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated; “Despite following CDC guidelines and being fully vaccinated, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.” She stated that she was following CDC guidelines by self-isolating. She then urged everyone to get vaccinated: “Everyone, please get vaccinated and protect yourselves.” In another social media post, Howard told her followers “We need to follow the science here. Texas needs to change course and allow for universal mask-wearing to prevent spread of the highly contagious delta variant, esp as children under 12 cannot get vaccinated yet.”

Two days prior Howard had posted a picture of herself wearing a mask and holding a negative COVID-19 test in one hand, with the caption “Following our health & safety protocols w/ regular COVID testing. Glad to still be negative. Vaccines work & even protect those who are fully vaccinated but end up testing positive from suffering serious illness. Encourage everyone to get vaccinated.”

However, despite using her social media platforms to urge those who follow her to abide by the CDC guidelines, and to advocate for a universal mask mandate, it emerged that Howard failed to don a face covering on the plane to Washington D.C. In response to those who accused her of hypocrisy, Howard responded on Twitter, “Irony not lost on me. In regard to our flight, TSA exempts private, non-commercial flights from the mask requirement. #txlege had been meeting at the Capitol w/o masks for several months, & we continued that practice as we had all been fully vaccinated.”

Howard continued, “Unfortunately, the spike in infections from the delta variant became apparent immediately after our flight, had we known at the time, we would have worn masks.” The lawmaker also revealed that the state capitol area which she represents in the Texas State House is “already contemplating moving back to requiring masks for those who are fully vaccinated and asking those who are not vaccinated to avoid any gatherings.”

This week Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) ruled out instituting another state wide mask mandate, telling Houston’s KPRC 2 News, “There are so many people who have immunities to COVID [Chinese coronavirus], whether it be through the vaccination, whether it be through their own exposure and their recovery from it, which would be acquired immunity,” the governor said, adding it would be “inappropriate to require people who already have immunity to wear a mask.”



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