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Mississippi gov considers bar restrictions as virus spreads

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves says he might set restrictions on bars to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Posted: Jul 16, 2020 9:40 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said Wednesday that he might set restrictions on bars to try to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, but he was vague about when that might happen and whether they would be statewide.

On a day that the Alabama governor issued a statewide order for people to wear masks in public, fellow Republican Reeves continued defending his own decision to have mask mandates only in a few Mississippi counties that are showing the biggest problems with COVID-19.

Reeves showed frustration with reporters who persist in asking about a statewide mask order.

“The words on the page do not matter,” Reeves said during a news conference. “I can write all kind of laws down on the page, sign it as an executive order and say, ‘Woo hoo, look at what I’ve done. I've done great stuff.' If people don't comply, it doesn't matter."

Mask orders and other restrictions went into place Monday in 13 of Mississippi's 82 counties. Reeves said he has heard that mask usage is increasing in those place.

The state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, said “it's absolutely maddening” that some people balk at wearing masks because evidence shows they can slow the spread of the virus.

“We are trying as hard as we can to implement the tools — the masking, the social distancing, the group situation — without being overly coercive,” Dobbs said.

Reeves said Dr. Deborah Birx from the White House coronavirus task force was in Mississippi on Wednesday, meeting with him and others at the Governor's Mansion. Reeves said Birx was “very pleased” with Mississippi's mask mandate counties, but she expressed concerns that people might be spreading the virus in bars, even if they don't show symptoms.

“Particularly young people who are going to bars and hanging out all night — for whatever reason, they tend to veer away from wearing masks while in bars and veer away from socially distancing,” Reeves said. “And that is not a good recipe for success.”

Mississippi reported record high numbers Wednesday for people hospitalized with COVID-19. And, for the third time, the state reported a single-day increase of more than 1,000 cases of the highly contagious virus.

Mississippi has a population of about 3 million. The Health Department said Wednesday that the state has had at least 38,567 confirmed cases and at least 1,290 deaths from the coronavirus as of Tuesday evening. That was an increase of 1,025 cases and 18 deaths from numbers reported the day before; the death numbers include seven that occurred between July 2 and 7 and were reported when information arrived from death certificates.

The department said Wednesday that 1,099 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of the virus. That is up from 664 on June 22.

At least 3,054 cases of the virus have been confirmed in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, with at least 622 virus-related deaths in those facilities, the department said.

The true number of virus infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick. While most people who contract the coronavirus recover after suffering only mild to moderate symptoms, it can be deadly for older patients and those with other health problems.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 245847

Reported Deaths: 5356
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto16717168
Hinds15748310
Harrison12806188
Rankin10334204
Jackson9996172
Lee8666135
Madison7994158
Jones6112108
Forrest5826117
Lauderdale5672174
Lowndes5186106
Lafayette482792
Lamar471162
Washington4700122
Bolivar3915105
Oktibbeha384279
Panola357274
Pontotoc356552
Monroe3463101
Union334755
Warren334692
Marshall333264
Neshoba3310149
Pearl River313891
Leflore2969104
Lincoln290185
Sunflower275868
Tate264759
Alcorn257850
Itawamba257058
Pike254876
Hancock246957
Prentiss240047
Scott238743
Copiah235649
Yazoo235054
Tippah233845
Simpson230166
Leake226764
Coahoma219054
Grenada213970
Covington207171
Marion203371
Adams200065
Winston196260
George195937
Wayne193029
Attala190958
Newton185142
Chickasaw179943
Tishomingo179059
Holmes167467
Jasper163533
Clay155632
Stone138818
Tallahatchie137033
Clarke135160
Calhoun132021
Smith117322
Yalobusha112534
Walthall110536
Noxubee108922
Greene108229
Montgomery107134
Carroll102320
Lawrence99817
Perry98631
Amite95725
Webster90024
Claiborne84125
Tunica84021
Jefferson Davis82925
Humphreys80324
Benton79722
Kemper75620
Quitman6678
Franklin64613
Choctaw59412
Wilkinson57424
Jefferson52019
Sharkey42317
Issaquena1576
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 414583

Reported Deaths: 5945
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson60842887
Mobile29590538
Madison26466183
Tuscaloosa20537267
Montgomery18562304
Shelby18181112
Baldwin15841177
Lee1212097
Morgan12002112
Etowah11488142
Calhoun10863197
Marshall10048106
Houston8405123
Cullman792294
Limestone785073
Elmore7670101
DeKalb757282
St. Clair7417120
Lauderdale740282
Talladega6036108
Walker5834176
Jackson571937
Colbert522270
Blount521980
Autauga507555
Coffee431456
Dale388278
Franklin362145
Chilton332965
Covington325567
Russell318910
Escambia309842
Dallas297988
Chambers275769
Clarke272933
Tallapoosa2591107
Pike245829
Lawrence239345
Marion238649
Winston222535
Bibb211347
Geneva196331
Marengo196329
Pickens195331
Hale172542
Barbour169636
Butler166958
Fayette164026
Cherokee158330
Henry149219
Monroe143617
Randolph137635
Washington135426
Clay124446
Crenshaw117444
Lamar116819
Cleburne115123
Macon111935
Lowndes107935
Wilcox99921
Bullock97128
Perry95019
Conecuh92820
Sumter89126
Greene75123
Coosa59814
Choctaw50824
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