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: 253932

Reported Deaths: 5524
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17120175
Hinds16207322
Harrison13353193
Rankin10689211
Jackson10303183
Lee8796141
Madison8232162
Jones6288110
Forrest5949119
Lauderdale5847180
Lowndes5355116
Lafayette494292
Lamar484165
Washington4777123
Bolivar3966108
Oktibbeha392480
Panola368378
Pontotoc362853
Monroe3533105
Warren348498
Union343060
Marshall341665
Neshoba3370152
Pearl River327899
Leflore3002105
Lincoln297085
Sunflower282669
Tate270862
Hancock266559
Alcorn263253
Itawamba262459
Pike262077
Scott246245
Prentiss245052
Yazoo244355
Copiah240849
Tippah240450
Simpson234867
Leake230564
Coahoma230054
Grenada217770
Covington211371
Marion210672
Adams204670
Winston200164
Wayne199630
George199038
Attala193559
Newton191342
Tishomingo184459
Chickasaw183644
Jasper169735
Holmes168567
Clay159033
Stone142320
Tallahatchie140134
Clarke138660
Calhoun135721
Smith120123
Yalobusha116534
Walthall111836
Noxubee110322
Greene109729
Montgomery109434
Carroll104221
Lawrence102417
Perry101631
Amite97725
Webster92224
Tunica86321
Claiborne86125
Jefferson Davis84125
Humphreys82924
Benton81523
Kemper77120
Quitman6888
Franklin66415
Choctaw60313
Wilkinson58325
Jefferson53819
Sharkey42717
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 422598

Reported Deaths: 6120
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62039921
Mobile30225548
Madison27052186
Tuscaloosa20728267
Montgomery18978305
Shelby18504114
Baldwin16251182
Lee12465101
Morgan12233113
Etowah11735168
Calhoun11122200
Marshall10191107
Houston8598148
Cullman8023105
Limestone800274
Elmore7836101
DeKalb768397
Lauderdale754683
St. Clair7535120
Talladega6166108
Walker5897174
Jackson580341
Colbert532073
Blount530483
Autauga518455
Coffee441056
Dale396181
Franklin366248
Chilton336165
Russell330310
Covington327268
Escambia316842
Dallas303196
Chambers282769
Clarke281433
Tallapoosa2616107
Pike248729
Marion245650
Lawrence243647
Winston226635
Bibb215147
Geneva201435
Marengo199029
Pickens196531
Hale175842
Barbour172936
Butler169658
Fayette168226
Cherokee160330
Henry153621
Monroe145217
Randolph139835
Washington137626
Clay126145
Crenshaw118744
Lamar118019
Cleburne117423
Macon114735
Lowndes110335
Wilcox103121
Bullock99028
Perry97419
Conecuh94420
Sumter89026
Greene76023
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
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