The Texas Medical Association today urged the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) to rethink its plans to hold its biennial state convention in person amid a recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the state and the Houston area.
“This is just not the time to bring thousands of the party faithful from around the state to an indoor meeting in a county that, as I write, reports more than 18,000 active COVID-19 cases,” TMA President Diana Fite, MD, said in a letter to party leadership. “As an emergency physician in Houston treating patients with COVID-19, I speak from firsthand experience: It would be best for the health of your conventiongoers and the residents of Houston for the RPT not to hold its biennial convention there as planned.”
The convention is scheduled for July 16 through 18 at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center. Thousands of people are expected to attend the event, where mask-wearing will be optional.
TMA in February purchased $5,000 in advertising at both the Republican and Democratic party conventions as part of a project that seeks to fight vaccine hesitancy and promote public health. Funds used for the project came primarily through external grants obtained for that purpose.
TMA is an advocacy organization of physicians, whose issues range from public health to insurance reform to Medicaid and many, many more, TMA Executive Vice President and CEO Michael J. Darrouzet said. Engaging with both political parties aims to encourage lawmakers to pass laws for the benefit of Texas patients and health care, he said.
Throughout the pandemic, TMA has strongly encouraged Texans to follow proven guidelines for slowing the spread of the illness.
“Wash your hands often. Stay home if you can. Practice social distancing. And for your sake, for your neighbors’ sake, for my sake, and for your grandma’s sake, wear a mask, Texas,” Dr. Fite said in a message she asked Texas physicians to share with their friends, family, neighbors, the news media, and elected officials.