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: 497790

Reported Deaths: 9917
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34102530
DeSoto31839398
Hinds31837622
Jackson24314377
Rankin21881388
Lee15427234
Madison14525279
Jones13772241
Forrest13412250
Lauderdale11937314
Lowndes10934185
Lamar10470135
Pearl River9431237
Lafayette8454138
Hancock7697126
Washington7365156
Oktibbeha7111129
Monroe6727174
Warren6642176
Pontotoc6609101
Neshoba6606205
Panola6460131
Marshall6386132
Bolivar6266145
Union596094
Pike5784152
Alcorn5633101
Lincoln5417134
George491879
Scott470998
Tippah465381
Prentiss464181
Leflore4627143
Itawamba4596104
Adams4570119
Tate4546109
Copiah445191
Simpson4421116
Wayne438572
Yazoo438586
Covington427394
Marion4216107
Sunflower4215104
Coahoma4115104
Leake407787
Newton380879
Grenada3692108
Stone358464
Tishomingo356391
Attala330289
Jasper328265
Winston313191
Clay306375
Chickasaw296767
Clarke290694
Calhoun277945
Holmes266987
Smith262550
Yalobusha232647
Tallahatchie225251
Walthall217763
Greene215548
Lawrence211140
Perry204755
Amite203954
Webster201645
Noxubee185340
Montgomery179056
Jefferson Davis170642
Carroll167438
Tunica158639
Benton147438
Kemper141241
Choctaw133026
Claiborne131237
Humphreys129038
Franklin119128
Quitman106227
Wilkinson104539
Jefferson94234
Sharkey64020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 812694

Reported Deaths: 15142
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1139601904
Mobile721751321
Madison51923685
Shelby37240339
Baldwin37044538
Tuscaloosa34902599
Montgomery33919719
Lee23122240
Calhoun22125469
Morgan20620370
Etowah19739496
Marshall18238298
Houston17288405
St. Clair15897337
Cullman15297290
Limestone15178198
Elmore15038284
Lauderdale14125294
Talladega13692271
DeKalb12554258
Walker11069364
Blount10081174
Autauga9883146
Jackson9776177
Coffee9176188
Dale8856180
Colbert8781200
Tallapoosa7032195
Escambia6725127
Covington6672179
Chilton6580160
Russell624758
Franklin5927105
Chambers5558142
Marion4952126
Dallas4854199
Clarke472681
Pike4716105
Geneva4558126
Winston4461101
Lawrence4252117
Bibb421686
Barbour355374
Marengo333989
Monroe329962
Randolph324763
Butler323994
Pickens313581
Henry310565
Hale308787
Cherokee299457
Fayette290579
Washington250851
Cleburne245958
Crenshaw243375
Clay239767
Macon230662
Lamar215446
Conecuh185351
Coosa177738
Lowndes173161
Wilcox167038
Bullock151744
Perry138040
Sumter131138
Greene125544
Choctaw86627
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A cold front passing through our area overnight will bring into our area some of the coolest temperatures of the season so far. We will see most of the highs this weekend only in the upper 60s to lower 70s. While overnight lows will drop off down into the 40s Saturday night.
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