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Virus: Some critical of Reeves handling of state's response

Gov. Tate Reeves speaking at a news conference in Jackson March 24.

Not everyone is happy with how Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves is managing the state's response to the new coronavirus outbreak.

Posted: Mar 28, 2020 11:01 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Not everyone is happy with how Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves is managing the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lee Smithson, the former director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, said he can't believe what Reeves has and has not done while following the lead of the Trump administration in the health crisis, he told The Sun Herald.

“I’m so frustrated by the whole thing,” said Smithson, who also served as director of military support for the Mississippi National Guard. “The only thing I can do is minimize my outings and take care of my family. I think it’s going to get a whole lot worse.”

Added Smithson, “We’re looking at economics over public health.”

Smithson is among thousands who have asked Reeves to issue stay-at-home orders for all but essential businesses. Instead, Reeves has allowed businesses such as restaurants and retail stores to continue operating as the state's numbers continue to rise.

As of Saturday, the state's health department said there were more than 660 confirmed infections in Mississippi and 13 deaths, up from at least 579 cases and eight deaths reported a day earlier. Although most people recover and many suffer only mild symptoms, COVID-19 can cause serious illness including respiratory problems for some, including the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. The disease is highly contagious.

“Since the onset of the outbreak, the Governor immediately began developing and implementing Mississippi’s preparedness and response planning, including declaring a state of emergency, extending school closures by four weeks, and ensuring paid leave for local level employees,” his office said Friday in an email.

But Smithson said that's not enough.

“In my opinion, not imposing a shelter in place and clarifying what are truly essential facilities, you’re going to force health care providers to decide who lives and who dies because there simply won’t be enough bed space,” Smithson said.

The governor’s office said Reeves has taken remarkable steps to keep Mississippi residents safe.

Reeves' communications director, Renae Eze, said in an email that after consulting with state and federal health officials, they have not yet received any recommendations to establish a shelter-in-place order.

“Should the situation in our state change, the Governor is ready to issue a shelter in place — whether it be for a city, a region, or the entire state,"she said. “Throughout the state’s ongoing response to COVID-19, the Governor has asked businesses to let all nonessential employees go home and asked Mississippians to stay home as much as possible.”

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319704

Reported Deaths: 7369
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22276267
Hinds20677421
Harrison18407317
Rankin13880282
Jackson13689248
Madison10249224
Lee10056176
Jones8464167
Forrest7827153
Lauderdale7260242
Lowndes6509150
Lamar634888
Lafayette6310121
Washington5420137
Bolivar4837133
Panola4669110
Oktibbeha466098
Pearl River4604147
Marshall4573105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425373
Union415777
Monroe4155135
Neshoba4061179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386687
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3369111
Alcorn325972
Scott320174
Yazoo314171
Adams307486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298189
Tippah291968
Prentiss283861
Leake271974
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George252051
Newton248663
Tishomingo231568
Winston229981
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190374
Clay187854
Stone187833
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164034
Walthall135347
Greene131833
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127138
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108033
Tunica108027
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69532
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548323

Reported Deaths: 11288
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809531565
Mobile42066826
Madison35663525
Tuscaloosa26162458
Shelby25595254
Montgomery25081612
Baldwin21839313
Lee16265176
Calhoun14718325
Morgan14626285
Etowah14171363
Marshall12449230
Houston10764288
Elmore10295213
Limestone10182157
St. Clair10160251
Cullman9941201
Lauderdale9596249
DeKalb8967189
Talladega8458184
Walker7335280
Autauga7230113
Blount6944139
Jackson6922113
Colbert6414140
Coffee5627127
Dale4929114
Russell454941
Chilton4472116
Franklin431083
Covington4273122
Tallapoosa4136155
Escambia401780
Chambers3726124
Dallas3607156
Clarke352961
Marion3242106
Pike314078
Lawrence3129100
Winston283572
Bibb268464
Geneva257581
Marengo250665
Pickens236862
Barbour234659
Hale226878
Butler224071
Fayette218162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph187044
Monroe179341
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155657
Cleburne153244
Lamar146537
Lowndes142054
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh113430
Coosa111429
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93534
Choctaw62025
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The humidity ramps up a bit more into Friday morning, and so will the heat. Temperatures will heat up a little more with heat index values climbing even more. There could be an isolated afternoon shower in spots, though most will stay dry. Rain chances increase some into the weekend as a tropical system approaches. But it now appears that many areas may dodge the heaviest rain.
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