Nationally, hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have been rising the past few weeks. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, shows that hospital admission rates are still considered low in 97 percent of the U.S.
Amid the rise in cases, Governor Tate Reeves (R-Miss.) said he will not reinstate widespread masking or COVID rules.
“Mississippians will not and should not submit to fear again. In the early days of COVID, there was understandable uncertainty. We did not yet know what we were facing. As the months unfolded, it became clear that there were two pandemics. A disease that was easy to spread and that was deadly for many vulnerable people. And a pandemic of fear stoked by ‘the expert class’ that demanded total subjugation of the American people,” the governor stated.
According to Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the necessity of mask mandates will come down to a case-by-case basis, adding that publicly available data should inform these decisions.
“If you want to take extraordinary measures to protect yourself from getting sick, God bless you. That is your right and you should do what you think is best. Maybe you’re the smartest of all of us. But we are never going back to 2020,” said Reeves.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2022 that the White House did not have the authority to enforce a vaccine-or-mask mandate on companies with 100 or more employees, though individual businesses can uphold their own policies on the matter.
The court also ruled last year that the Transportation Security Administration could impose mask mandates on planes, trains and other forms of transport, leaving mask requirements as an option for the federal agency.
Clinicians and public health experts maintain that high-quality N95 masks help in reducing viral spread in communities.
The Hill contributed to this report.