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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 3:52 PM
Updated: 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: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20772248
Hinds19888408
Harrison17489302
Rankin13311275
Jackson13097243
Madison9895210
Lee9856169
Jones8290160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7187237
Lowndes6262144
Lamar610584
Lafayette6027117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4419139
Warren4280118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403675
Neshoba3987176
Lincoln3869108
Hancock372085
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3180104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265779
Wayne261341
Leake261073
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120041
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81823
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518899

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753641487
Mobile37763798
Madison33859494
Tuscaloosa25266443
Montgomery23962565
Shelby23106238
Baldwin20631300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14284311
Morgan14139268
Etowah13662345
Marshall11957219
Houston10380278
Elmore9993200
Limestone9811147
Cullman9470188
St. Clair9426234
Lauderdale9215227
DeKalb8746181
Talladega8058171
Walker7087275
Jackson6754110
Autauga6723103
Blount6483135
Colbert6203130
Coffee5399112
Dale4767110
Russell428838
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia387674
Dallas3527149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256258
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218775
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171440
Washington164038
Macon154548
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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Columbus
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Sunshine continues into the work week with temperatures climbing well above average on Monday. But as clouds increase with slight rain chances into mid-week, we may see temperatures a bit cooler than average toward the end of the week.
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