Houston to enforce masks with fines; Texas deaths top 7,000

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FILE - In this June 28, 2020 file photo, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks in Houston. Houston officials have canceled the Texas GOP's in-person convention. They say the spread of the coronavirus made it impossible to hold the event as scheduled. Mayor Turner said Wednesday, July 8, 2020, that the city's lawyers exercised provisions in the contract that the Texas Republican Party signed to rent the downtown convention center for a three-day event to have started July 16. Virus cases have surged in Texas, particularly in the state's largest cities. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip File)

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston’s mayor is instructing police to begin issuing $250 fines for flouting statewide mask orders. Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday he made the move in hopes that August will stamp out a grim summer resurgence of COVID-19 that is now responsible for at least 7,000 confirmed deaths in Texas. The state as a whole has seen encouraging trends in hospitalizations and infection rates. But Turner described August as a critical month as schools approach reopening and fall flu season lurks around the corner.