Post mandate, doctor 'disappointed' at lack of mask wearing

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs

Mississippi’s state health officer said he overestimated the number of people who would continue to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of coronavirus after the statewide mask mandate was lifted.

Posted: Oct 16, 2020 4:07 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's state health officer said he overestimated the number of people who would continue to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of coronavirus after the statewide mask mandate was lifted.

“Why we would broadly abandon something that is so simple — even easy, and effective — just because there is not an executive order, it has perplexed me and I'm frankly quite disappointed," Dr. Thomas Dobbs said on a video call with reporters on Friday.

After months of declining cases, Mississippi has seen two straight days of new cases topping 1,000, something the state hasn't seen since around the time Mississippi's statewide mask mandate was put into place in August.

Gov. Tate Reeves repealed Mississippi’s statewide mask mandate on Sept. 30, citing declining cases. The Republican governor encouraged citizens to continue to wear masks anyway, but added officials “should not use the heavy hand of government more than it is justified.”

“We have to tailor our actions to the current threat, and make sure that they do not go beyond what is reasonable," Reeves said then.

Dobbs said Friday the decision was not made lightly. But two months into the mandate, people were lashing out against it.

“There were people who were getting tired of the mandate, and they just sort of were violating it when it was still mandated," he said. “I think that was some of the concern, that it’s lost its sort of, firepower.”

He said the state health department and Reeves will evaluate if mask mandates need to be put back into place in the counties that have seen the highest number of new cases.

With flu season approaching, Dobbs said he is getting worried there will be another spike. Mississippi “skated by with the skin of our teeth” through the summer, and that it could get a lot worse, he said.

The state health department said Friday that Mississippi, with a population of about 3 million, has reported more than 109,250 cases and at least 3,160 deaths from COVID-19 as of Thursday evening.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 471092

Reported Deaths: 9165
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32160471
Hinds30628574
DeSoto29693344
Jackson23098335
Rankin21062357
Lee14515218
Madison13993264
Jones13112218
Forrest12926231
Lauderdale11301294
Lowndes10206171
Lamar10017125
Pearl River8616208
Lafayette8052136
Hancock7172111
Washington6816146
Oktibbeha6799117
Neshoba6377201
Monroe6343158
Warren6310159
Pontotoc607692
Panola6056123
Bolivar5991143
Marshall5948116
Union562385
Pike5450133
Lincoln5217129
Alcorn516288
George456466
Scott450392
Leflore4392140
Prentiss435275
Itawamba433295
Tippah432480
Simpson4251110
Copiah424784
Wayne422363
Tate4202100
Adams4184110
Yazoo412486
Sunflower4077104
Covington406591
Marion4016100
Leake390485
Coahoma387098
Newton361674
Grenada3511100
Stone343757
Tishomingo323788
Attala319685
Jasper309562
Winston299191
Clay286172
Chickasaw280564
Clarke275587
Calhoun258539
Holmes258585
Smith242246
Yalobusha216447
Tallahatchie214949
Walthall204657
Lawrence203231
Greene202645
Perry195753
Webster191642
Amite191451
Noxubee174438
Montgomery169453
Jefferson Davis164341
Carroll159437
Tunica147634
Benton138232
Kemper136939
Claiborne125534
Choctaw124424
Humphreys123037
Franklin114327
Quitman101425
Wilkinson98435
Jefferson86332
Sharkey61720
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 761865

Reported Deaths: 12856
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1087131712
Mobile696141168
Madison47959565
Baldwin35517431
Shelby34948283
Tuscaloosa32719498
Montgomery32358648
Lee21708200
Calhoun19823367
Morgan19140308
Etowah18450414
Marshall17138255
Houston15970340
St. Clair14803270
Limestone13986179
Elmore13893240
Cullman13892229
Lauderdale12986264
Talladega12235203
DeKalb11788220
Walker10110304
Autauga9416120
Blount9329149
Jackson9026132
Coffee8598153
Colbert8257160
Dale8204143
Escambia639399
Tallapoosa6315165
Covington6265153
Chilton6188128
Russell588353
Franklin560093
Chambers5182127
Dallas4595174
Marion4540114
Clarke447871
Pike441488
Geneva419499
Winston402682
Lawrence4018101
Bibb392976
Barbour335567
Marengo318878
Monroe308244
Butler307679
Pickens297366
Henry290752
Randolph290055
Hale284081
Cherokee277249
Fayette269769
Washington242244
Crenshaw229463
Clay220261
Macon212554
Cleburne207346
Lamar185538
Conecuh175237
Lowndes168156
Coosa161531
Wilcox153533
Bullock146242
Perry133132
Sumter122735
Greene118241
Choctaw71925
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