Texas Medical Association urges Texas GOP to scrap in-person convention

The Texas Medical Association is asking the Republican Party of Texas to reconsider holding its state convention — where it is a sponsor — as an in-person event in an indoor venue that can seat thousands, a letter obtained by Becker's Hospital Review shows.

But the association confirmed to Becker's that it does not plan on canceling its sponsorship of the event if it does continue as an in-person function, even as the state sees surges in new coronavirus cases.
The Texas Republican convention is scheduled for July 16-18 in Houston, a Texas Tribune article reports. About 6,000 people are expected to fill the indoor venue. 
The Texas Medical Association, which represents 53,000 Texas physicians and medical students, sent a letter to the Republican Party of Texas June 30 urging the organization to change its in-person convention plans.

"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," Diana L. Fite, MD, president of the Texas Medical Association, wrote in her letter.

The letter states that the Texas Medical Association also canceled its in-person meeting in May due to health safety concerns.

"The loss of those opportunities this summer, however, are small sacrifices compared to the health and safety of our organization’s members," Dr. Fite wrote.

Despite its calls to urge state GOP organizers not to hold the event in-person, the association plans to uphold its commitment to sponsor the event. The association contributed $5,000 to both the Texas Democratic Party and the Texas Republican Party for their respective state conventions, in exchange for advertising. The Texas Democratic convention was held June 1-June 6 as a virtual event.

The medical association began pursuing both sponsorships in February, a spokesperson said. When it learned of the July date for the state Republican convention, it told the organizers the association would advertise in a virtual gathering, "but asked that if an in-person meeting would occur to please utilize CDC, state and local guidelines for social distancing and wearing masks," a spokesperson stated in response to a Becker's inquiry.

More articles on public health:
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