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‘I truly thought last Friday was gonna be my last,’ says Texas hardline conservative lawmaker who was hospitalized for coronavirus

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State Rep. Tony Tinderholt was hospitalized last week after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, the lawmaker confirmed Friday to The Texas Tribune, marking the first known case involving a member of the Texas Legislature.

“I truly thought last Friday was gonna be my last,” Tinderholt, an Arlington Republican, said in a text message to the Tribune. Tinderholt said his wife and two of his children also tested positive for the virus, though their symptoms were less severe.

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Tinderholt said he is recovering after receiving medical treatment from a North Texas doctor. He and his family wore masks every time they went out in public because they felt it was the right thing to do, he said.

“I would like for people to try to mitigate risk by wearing masks,” he said. “But wear them because you think it’s right. I’m sure it works to some degree — it just didn’t for me.”

Medical experts and doctors have recommended wearing masks to reduce the spread of the virus, with recent research suggesting that wearing one could lessen the severity of symptoms or stop someone from catching it entirely. Research has also shown that face coverings such as masks are most effective at reducing spread when a higher number of people in a community participate in wearing them.

Tinderholt is a member of the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus, which has frequently criticized Gov. Greg Abbott‘s response to the pandemic — shutting down businesses and requiring masks in public — as government overreach.

In an April 24 letter to the governor, the caucus urged Abbott to “fully reopen” the state economy, arguing that the longer he waited to reopen, the longer it would take to recover.

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“Too many jobs have been lost; too many sit at home as their livelihoods wither away, uncertain if they’ll be able to pay their mortgage or buy groceries next week,” read the letter, which included recommendations on how to reopen safely. “We must rebuild this economy by allowing those who built it in the first place to reopen.”

While Tinderholt acknowledged the virus is a “serious illness,” he reiterated Friday his position that Abbott shutting down parts of the economy is wrong.

“Closing the entire economy and halting business as well as illegally taking people’s freedoms are absolutely the wrong things to do to Texas, Texans and our nation,” Tinderholt said.

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Tinderholt said his recovery was largely thanks to state Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, who referred him to Dr. Brian Procter of McKinney Family Medicine. Procter, Tinderholt said, told him that out of the few hundred patients he has seen so far for the coronavirus, the lawmaker was among “the worst five he had handled.” Tinderholt said he was considered at risk for the virus due to his titanium aortic heart valve.

Tinderholt’s first day of symptoms, he said, consisted of mild joint pain that soon turned into severe pain accompanied by bad headaches and a loss of taste and smell. Now, in recovery, he said he has nausea and a cough with slight breathing difficulties. He said he does not know how he caught it.

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Trump’s executive orders are confusing and unconstitutional — and likely to hurt his own voters. He doesn’t care.

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As we went into the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had washed his hands of the negotiations over the vitally necessary COVID-19 relief package, leaving Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and former Tea Party zealot turned White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to try to hash out a deal. Word was that the Democrats had come down from their demand for $3 trillion in various relief programs to $2 trillion, while the White House stuck to its offer of $1 trillion and not a penny more. By Friday, the Senate was going home and the talks had irretrievably stalled.
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Trump administration says US would share COVID vaccine with world after America’s needs are met

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On Monday, Fox News reported that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is offering to share any potential COVID-19 vaccine with other countries, after it stabilizes public health in the United States.

"The U.S. will share any coronavirus vaccine it develops with the globe after American needs are met, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Monday during a visit to Taiwan," reported Evie Fordham.

"Our first priority of course is to develop and produce enough quantity of safe and effective FDA-approved vaccines and therapeutics for use in the United States," said Azar. "But we anticipate having capacity that, once those needs are satisfied, those products would be available in the world community according to fair and equitable distributions that we would consult in the international community on ... After our departure from the WHO, we will work with others in the world community to find the appropriate vehicles for continuing to support, on a multilateral and bilateral basis, global public health on the order that the United States has done in the past."

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Experts issue dire warning on Trump executive action on unemployment insurance

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"Literally every new detail about these executive orders confirms that in addition to being wildly unconstitutional, they will do absolutely nothing to help anyone who's suffering."

On top of serious questions about the directive's legality and workability, experts are warning that President Donald Trump's executive action to extend the federal boost to unemployment benefits at $400-per-week—using $44 billion in funds meant for disaster relief—leaves out the poorest Americans by design.

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