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Biden criticizes Texas and Mississippi for lifting restrictions: 'Neanderthal thinking'

President Biden criticized states such as Texas and Mississippi for lifting Covid-19 restrictions, saying that we are on the cusp of being able to change the nature of the disease and that "the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking."

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 3:54 PM


President Joe Biden sharply criticized states such as Texas and Mississippi for lifting Covid-19 restrictions against pleas from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other top public health officials, accusing those in power of "Neanderthal thinking."

"I think it's a big mistake. Look, I hope everybody's realized by now, these masks make a difference. We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we're able to get vaccines in people's arms," Biden said when asked about the decisions by GOP Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Tate Reeves of Mississippi to relax restrictions.

"The last thing -- the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything's fine, take off your mask, forget it. It still matters," Biden said, referencing a card he keeps in his pocket with the daily death toll of the virus amid his administration's push to get vaccines into arms.

Biden, who is meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Oval Office on the subject of ending cancer, called on all Americans to continue to follow guidelines despite the mixed messaging from some state officials.

"It's critical -- critical, critical, critical -- that they follow the science: Wash your hands, hot water, do it frequently. Wear a mask and stay socially distanced. And I know you all know that. I wish the heck some of our elected officials knew it," he told reporters.

Abbott and Reeves both announced this week that they were lifting mask mandates in Texas and Mississippi and will allow business to operate at full capacity. The decisions come as health experts caution that relaxing restrictions now could lead to another surge in coronavirus cases, especially as variants continue to spread.

After weeks of dropping case numbers, new infections are on the rise again -- about 2% more this past week compared to the previous week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday. More than 518,000 Americans have died from Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.

"Please hear me clearly: At this level of cases with variants spreading we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained. These variants are a very real threat to our people and our progress," Walensky said Monday during a White House briefing.

Walensky added: "Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know can stop the spread of Covid-19 in our communities. Not when we are so close."

Biden announced this week that the US would have enough Covid-19 vaccine doses for every adult American by the end of May, which is a two-month acceleration of the previous timeline his administration had laid out. But the President cautioned that the country must still take health and safety precautions and be vigilant against the virus.

Johnson & Johnson's single-dose coronavirus vaccine, the third Covid-19 shot authorized for use in the US, has started to be administered this week.

On Wednesday, Walensky reiterated that she is encouraging individuals to wear masks and practice social distancing in order to protect their own health and stop the virus from spreading.

"Every individual is empowered to do the right thing here, regardless of what the states decide," Walensky said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307094

Reported Deaths: 7086
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20729248
Hinds19851407
Harrison17465302
Rankin13297275
Jackson13090243
Madison9876210
Lee9849169
Jones8288160
Forrest7511146
Lauderdale7170237
Lowndes6256144
Lamar609684
Lafayette6020117
Washington5278132
Bolivar4768129
Oktibbeha455097
Panola4430103
Pearl River4414139
Warren4277118
Marshall4262100
Pontotoc416372
Monroe4055131
Union403275
Neshoba3979176
Lincoln3870107
Hancock371584
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329289
Tate322181
Pike3170104
Scott310172
Yazoo304168
Alcorn297464
Itawamba296576
Copiah292463
Coahoma289277
Simpson287384
Tippah284568
Prentiss275259
Marion265479
Wayne261341
Leake260973
Covington254380
Grenada254382
Adams245882
Newton244659
George237646
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186371
Clay182354
Stone178631
Clarke176475
Tallahatchie175140
Calhoun163130
Smith158534
Yalobusha158536
Walthall130443
Greene129333
Lawrence126123
Noxubee125833
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120726
Amite119940
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105332
Tunica102425
Claiborne101230
Benton97225
Kemper95026
Humphreys94332
Franklin81523
Quitman78516
Choctaw72816
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64427
Sharkey49517
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518234

Reported Deaths: 10686
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson752631485
Mobile37687797
Madison33784490
Tuscaloosa25231442
Montgomery23928563
Shelby23088237
Baldwin20600300
Lee15491165
Calhoun14270311
Morgan14135268
Etowah13657344
Marshall11941219
Houston10373277
Elmore9979200
Limestone9797146
Cullman9458188
St. Clair9419234
Lauderdale9196227
DeKalb8733181
Talladega8035168
Walker7083275
Jackson6751110
Autauga6710103
Blount6475134
Colbert6199129
Coffee5394112
Dale4764110
Russell426837
Franklin419782
Chilton4076109
Covington4054113
Tallapoosa3895147
Escambia387374
Dallas3523149
Chambers3496122
Clarke346160
Marion3064100
Pike305375
Lawrence295095
Winston272271
Bibb256158
Marengo248560
Geneva245875
Pickens232958
Barbour224555
Hale218775
Butler211866
Fayette208860
Henry187744
Cherokee181843
Randolph176341
Monroe171140
Washington163838
Macon154548
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124326
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter103032
Coosa98827
Greene90834
Choctaw58624
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Mostly Cloudy
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Hi: 74° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 65°
Columbus
Clear
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Hi: 76° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 64°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 61°
Starkville
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 61°
A few bands of storms will be making their way through the area through the early morning hours. Some of these storms will bring gusty winds, lots of lightning, and potentially some hail. Luckily, this moves out by mid-morning and we eventually could see some clearing during the afternoon with highs in the mid 70s.
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