COVID-19 is spiking across the nation, and Mississippi’s numbers are rising with the tide. Some states are beginning to reinstate stricter COVID-19 measures ahead of the holiday season. Photo by United Nations COVID-19 Response
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs warned on Twitter today that the Mississippi death toll from COVID-19 is remarkably severe, even for the United States, which is the ninth worst in the world in deaths per capita, and first in deaths overall. “MS ranks #7 in per capita deaths. “The choice between health and the economy is a false choice. There is a middle path that optimizes both,” Dobbs tweeted.
In Mississippi, that middle ground, so far, is in resisting reinstating another statewide mask mandate, or even requiring voters to wear them into voting precincts next week even as all measurable coronavirus trends are higher than previous weeks, though they are not rising with the same rapidity as many states in the Midwest.
Gov. Tate Reeves has refused calls to reinstate the statewide order, favoring a piecemeal approach with a higher threshold than the White House Coronavirus Task Force suggests. Sixteen Mississippi counties are currently under a mask and social- distancing order.
The U.S. is suffering from unprecedented numbers of new COVID-19 cases this week, and Mississippi’s trends are on a stable increase alongside it. Data from Johns Hopkins University showed nearly 90,000 cases across the country yesterday, alongside 1,049 deaths. Deaths are likely to spike in the coming weeks and months, trailing new cases and hospitalizations in all previous spikes.
Today, the Mississippi State Department of Health announced 749 new cases of COVID-19, yesterday, that number was 970. The current seven-day rolling average is 780 new cases. MSDH reported 18 deaths with today’s report, the majority from prior investigations.
East Coast states around the original U.S. COVID cluster in New York City remain the heaviest hit in terms of deaths per capita. Outside that cluster, only Louisiana has had more deaths per capita than Mississippi.
With temperatures declining in the state and holidays approaching, many of the outdoor activities that have helped prevent clusters from gatherings may now recede. State health officials have pleaded with Mississippians to remain out of large gatherings, even for family events, and to stay socially distanced and masked when in public.
“We can't wish COVID away—but we can prevent it with very simple strategies,” Dobbs said on Oct. 23.
Read the JFP’s coverage of COVID-19 at jacksonfreepress.com/covid19. Get more details on preventive measures here. Email state reporter Nick Judin at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @nickjudin.