State health experts see ‘no evidence’ protests led to COVID-19 spike despite Governor’s claim


JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – While governor Tate Reeves awaits COVID-19 test results following Speaker of the House Philip Gunn testing positive one week after the two briefly met at the flag bill signing, he’s drawn up new blame on why COVID-19 cases are rising.

Some good news, for the past two days new COVID-19 cases reported have dropped below 400 for the first time in weeks. But while hospitalizations and total numbers climb to record highs governor Reeves is turning his blame on last month’s police brutality protests. 

“My friends I’m here to tell you the virus is not a hoax,” Gov Reeves emphasized in a Facebook LIVE broadcast Monday afternoon.  

Both governor Reeves and leaders with the department of health boldly acknowledge the threat to COVID-19 is still serious, but what’s causing the rising cases seems to be mixed. 

“We’ve literally had thousands and thousands and thousands of individuals marching in protests in virtually every city around this country,” Gov. Reeves argued.  

“We don’t have any evidence of that effect,” Dr. Thomas Dobbs stated in a press conference on July 1st. “And what our investigations have not revealed any specific links to protests. Maybe it will in the future as we dig in more. It’s a question we’re very interested in asking.”

Over the weekend Governor Tate Reeves took to social media broadly labeling “liberal media” claimed the rise in COVID-19 cases was just caused by family BBQ’s around Memorial Day. And cable news deliberately dismissed any links from protests. 

“The news went weeks and weeks without even talking about the Coronavirus, but instead focused on other things happening in this country,” Gov. Reeves said. “Also allowed people to put their guard down. It was the hypocrisy of the media.”

Meanwhile, the doctors and health experts for the past two weeks have connected the increase in cases at community levels to unnecessary gatherings like BBQs and a lack of social distancing.  

“Honestly one of the biggest reasons we’re seeing community transmission, they’re still not wearing masks, they’re still coming together in very large groups, parties, BBQs, social events,” Dr. Paul Buyers of the department of health explained in a June 25. press briefing.  

They also want state leaders to step-up setting good examples following health guidelines. Just one week ago Governor Reeves was seen fist-bumping and shook hands with Speaker of the House Philip Gunn with no masks as others stood shoulder to shoulder. 

“You see these events where leaders are not wearing masks,” Dr. Dobbs stated on June 25. “And so, until the leadership adopts in and buys in at all levels it’s going to really be an untenable mandate.”

Following his Facebook LIVE address, Gov. Reeves also tweeted “local news largely does a good job. Like I said in my Facebook Live “my tweet and point were about national media celebrating mass protests, all mass gatherings are risky even if you love their politics”. 

On the department of health’s website, the age group with the highest jump in positive cases is those 18-29. A trend experts see throughout the whole state and not from one area or event.

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