The relationship between coronavirus data and mask mandates in Mississippi


JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – In the last seven days, Mississippi has averaged about 1,249 new Coronavirus cases a day and hospitals are feeling the burden of this second wave.

Many are worried how it will look after the holiday and are we doing all we can to stop the spread?

Governor Tate Reeves hasn’t shied away from wearing a mask and promoting social distancing. But if you look at the case and hospitalization charts these pleas seem to be falling on deaf ears. This versus when there was a statewide mask mandate and our seven-day average got as low as 413 cases per day. A quarter of what it is today.

Governor Tate Reeves has now put an additional 19 counties under a mask mandate. This after the counties recorded at least 200 cases within the past two weeks or have over 500 cases per-capita.

“I think the data is very clear and proves my point that if you issue the mask mandates on a county by county basis and based upon where a number of cases are the largest that is the best strategy,” Gov. Reeves argued.

Not so according to charts from the Department of Health. When the mandatory state-wide mask mandate was issued on Aug. 4. every COVID-19 case especially those infected and in the ICU dropped massively. Easing the burden on hospitals.

“If we look at the Jackson area there’s only one hospital that has ICU beds available,” Dr. Thomas Dobbs said in Tuesday’s briefing. “Still feeling pressure on that front. In DeSoto County where we’ve seen a lot of cases we have zero ICU beds available.”

As of Tuesday night, UMMC is overcapacity in the ICU. And Dobbs says if people act carelessly over Thanksgiving it’s only going to get worse.

“As we’re going into Thanksgiving we’re going to be mixing young folks who get over it by in large quite nicely,” Dr. Dobbs said. “With middle-age folks like me and older age folks who they love. You don’t have to be feeling symptoms of Coronavirus to spread it.”

Some good news on the horizon is the first shipments of Phizer and Moderna vaccine is expected to reach Mississippi by next month. It will first be given to healthcare workers and the most vulnerable at no charge. Then move down to first responders.

In order for the vaccine to be effective you’ll need to get one dose then a second three weeks later. Meanwhile, doctors advise you don’t need to wait for a mandate to always wear a mask in public and follow all CDC guidelines.


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