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Reeves: Mask shaming is wrong

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(Photo by Rynesme2 - disposable protective mask, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=88833447)

During his news conference Monday, Gov. Tate Reeves said that people should not shame others for wearing masks during the COVID-19 crisis.

“It’s wrong,” Reeves said. “If people want to wear a mask into a Walmart or into a restaurant or into any other business — not only should they be allowed to do so, in many instances they ought to be credited for doing so.”

“Everyone out there that is choosing to wear a mask is actually doing something good for their fellow Mississippians,” he added.

Monday saw the biggest one-day increase of new COVID-19 cases the state has seen since the first case was confirmed here March 11, with 498 reported.

New COVID-19 cases in Mississippi over the past week have totaled nearly 1,800 confirmed, bring the state’s case count to 17,768.

“Our rolling seven-day average remains in the high 200s,” Reeves said, adding that the state currently has more than 4,000 active cases.

“We have to remain vigilant. We have to remain smart,” he said, “and we have to realize that while we have not seen a significant uptick in the total number of hospitalizations … we’ve also not seen a major downtick.”

The state is now seeing hospital capacity issues in some areas, Reeves said.

“This is not over. It’s not going to be over … probably until the end of the year,” he said.

“The threat is as serious as ever.”

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs reiterated the importance of wearing masks and social distancing.

“If we all did that, or even 80 or 90%, we’d be in a phenomenally better place,” Dobbs said. “We might be like New Zealand, which is basically going back to normal because they did those things.”

Monday, New Zealand announced it had effectively rid the island of COVID-19 when the last known infected person recovered. The country of about 5 million has not had a new confirmed case in 17 days, and it has tested some 300,000 people, or about 6% of its population. A total of 22 people died of the virus in New Zealand. It has also closed its borders and, while it has reopened all businesses, it has not announced any plans to stop isolation and quarantines at its borders.

In contrast, the U.S., with a population of 330 million, has the highest case and death count in the world with more than 2 million cases and 110,000 dead as of Tuesday morning.

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