At this year’s Neshoba County Fair, Gov. Tate Reeves took the opportunity to call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s newly revised mask guidelines, “foolish” and “harmful.” Photo courtesy Tate Reeves Facebook
As COVID-19 cases in Mississippi rise to levels not seen since before widespread vaccine availability, Gov. Tate Reeves took to the stage at this year’s Neshoba County Fair to comment on the Centers for Disease Control’s recent decision to reinstate guidelines recommending mask usage for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
“It reeks of political panic so as to appear they are in control,” Reeves said. “It has nothing to do with rational science. In Mississippi, we believe in freedom.”
The governor also reiterated his stance on mask mandates for schools this week, leaving safety precautions up to individual schools and parents.
“I will always defend those individuals’ right to decide what is best for them and their families,” Reeves said.”
The CDC recommends “universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status,” while the Mississippi chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “universal mask usage in lieu of complete vaccination.”
“In the absence of schools being able to conduct monitoring of vaccination status on a daily basis, universal masking is the best and most effective strategy to create consistent messages, expectations, enforcement and compliance without the added administrative burden placed upon already stressed teachers,” AAP Chapter President Dr. Anita Henderson wrote in a letter.
New CDC guidance as of July 27 recommends mask usage for fully vaccinated individuals in areas of “substantial or high transmission.” Those fully vaccinated individuals who are immunocompromised or at otherwise increased risk should also wear masks regardless of current transmission levels, the new guidance says.
The Mississippi State Department of Health reported 1,643 additional cases this morning, adding to the consistently rising summer spike. Cases in long-term care facilities are also on the rise, with MSDH reporting 108 outbreaks, mostly seen in unvaccinated employees rather than residents.
“Most residents vaccinated, most employees unvaccinated,” State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs tweeted this morning. “Most cases are in employees,” he said. “Very few residents with severe illness.”
Hospitalizations are “skyrocketing” Dobbs tweeted this morning, with 20 patients in intensive-care units ages 20 to 64.
Email Reporting Fellow Julian Mills at [email protected].