Officials Knew Coronavirus Could Spread at the Houston Rodeo and Proceeded With the Event Anyway

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo on March 6, five days before officials would cancel the event because of COVID-19 concerns. (Mark Felix / AFP via Getty Images)

Days before the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo kicked off, area politicians celebrated this great piece of Americana — dubbed the world’s largest livestock show — which was going forward in the age of the coronavirus.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, a 29-year-old rising political star, posted on Facebook on Feb. 28 how “pumped” she was for rodeo season, sharing a list of her favorite songs. “Look forward to seeing y’all there! #RodeoHouston.”

She also reassured residents that “the overall risk of COVID-19 to the general public within our counties remains low at this time.”

Not to be outdone, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner donned a black suit and cowboy hat and posted a video of himself line dancing to the “wobble.”

But over at the Rodeo Houston headquarters, organizers worried that the 20-day event would have to be shut down early as they watched a global increase in coronavirus cases.

While COVID-19 had not been confirmed in Houston at that point, they knew it was a matter of time.

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