As virus cases rise, Rep. Thompson suggests Mississippi reimplement statewide mask mandate

As virus cases rise, Rep. Thompson suggests Mississippi reimplement statewide mask mandate
(Source: AP Photo/John Minchillo)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Representative Bennie Thompson says the state should look to reimplement the statewide mask mandate as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

“In the absence of a vaccine and an increase of infections in Mississippi, the state should reconsider implementing a statewide mask mandate,” he tweeted Monday. “We should follow Dr. Fauci’s and other recommendations requiring wearing masks in public.”

Mississippi has seen a steady climb in cases over the past several weeks with last week seeing the highest single-day total since August. Gov. Reeves took to social media Thursday to remind citizens that “COVID-19 is not gone” and to “please stay watchful and protect yourself.”

“We want to be cautious and limited in using executive action—we’re counting on the people of Mississippi to be wise and careful!” Reeves said.

The statewide mask mandate lapsed at the end of September but the governor still advised Mississippians to wear masks. At the time, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs could not say if ending the mask mandate was a good or bad idea.

“It depends on what we do...” he stated. “If we go into this and the people are responsible and wear the mask, it’s going to be the, you know, that’s going to be probably the right thing to do.”

Less than a week after the mandate ended, cases began to surge. Whether this correlated with the mask mandate expiring, Dr. Mark Horne, president of the Mississippi State Medical Association, could not be sure.

As cases have continued to mount, though, Dobbs said that he did expect some sort of restrictions to be issued this week to slow the spread of the virus. When asked about specifics, he did not have an answer, adding, “I don’t really know what the governor is going to do until it happens.”

Gov. Reeves is set to provide an update on the virus and the state’s response to it Monday at 2:30 p.m.

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