Earlier this year, Texas seemed to be the model state in taking on the COVID-19 pandemic. But the virus returned with a vengeance this summer. At the epicenter of that battle is Houston, whose hospitals are now nearing ICU capacity. The city's death toll is up 50 percent from a month ago. Washington Post Live will host Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in conversation with Washington Post national political reporter Robert Costa about how Houston is faring, how its citizens are coping and the mayor's plans to guide his city through this crisis. Join Washington Post Live at 12:00 p.m. E.T. on Tuesday, July 21. (The Washington Post)
July 21 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on coronavirus, protests, and President Trump

Earlier this year, Texas seemed to be the model state in taking on the COVID-19 pandemic. But the virus returned with a vengeance this summer. At the epicenter of that battle is Houston, whose hospitals are now nearing ICU capacity. The city’s death toll is up 50 percent from a month ago. Washington Post Live hosts Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in conversation with Washington Post national political reporter Robert Costa about how Houston is faring, how its citizens are coping and the mayor’s plans to guide his city through this crisis.
  • Jul 21
Highlights
Mayor Sylvester Turner says instead of closing down again, the city of Houston and the state of Texas need to “dial things back” at the very minimum. “The positivity rate is still too large. With respect to the surge in our hospitals, phase 1 is full. We’ve entered phase 2 of the surge. The numbers are still too high.”
  • Jul 21
President Trump’s coronavirus task force is set to hold a briefing this afternoon. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner weighed in before saying, “You can be out front, but if you’re not providing accurate and truthful information, it can hurt rather than help…making sure that we are providing correct, factual information is even more critical than the briefing. If you don’t do that, it’s better not to have the briefing at all.”
  • Jul 21
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says he is more worried about the divisiveness and political rhetoric in the U.S. than the coronavirus. “I think the toxicity is more dangerous than the coronavirus…the divisiveness within our country is more dangerous than the virus…It’s not the virus that scares me, we can deal with it…but what’s destroying us right now is…allowing leaders to say whatever, do whatever...”
  • Jul 21
President Trump has said he will send federal troops in to cities to control large protests. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says he does not believe President Trump will send troops to Houston, as the protests in his city have been largely peaceful.
  • Jul 21
Sylvester Turner
Houston, Texas
Elected in December 2015 and re-elected in December 2019, Sylvester Turner is serving his second four-year term. He is Houston’s 62nd mayor. Since taking office, Mayor Turner eliminated a $160 million budget shortfall in record time; led the city’s remarkable rebound from Hurricane Harvey; championed historic pension reform; cheered on the 2017 World Series-winning Houston Astros; hosted a successful Super Bowl LI; expanded municipal investments in renewable energy and led the winning bid to host the World Petroleum Congress in 2020. As the head of the energy capital of the world and the most diverse city in the nation, Mayor Turner has brought a performance-driven approach to the job, creating more responsive, streamlined and efficient delivery of city services while shoring up Houston’s financial future. Thanks to his leadership, the Texas Legislature and local voters approved the pension reform package that reduces the city’s liability by billions of dollars and provided a “fix” that had eluded the city for 17 years. One of the mayor’s signature initiatives is Complete Communities, which aims to improve the quality of life for residents in all neighborhoods. The mayor’s other priorities include filling more than 90,000 potholes on city streets, implementing a six-point holistic plan for addressing homelessness, reducing flooding and improving drainage.
Robert Costa
The Washington Post
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