‘Mississippians are dying:’ DNC member challenges Gov. Reeves on COVID-19 response

‘Mississippians are dying:’ DNC member challenges Gov. Reeves on COVID-19 response
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves responds to questions regarding the holiday social receptions his office planned at the Governor's Mansion, during his covid news briefing, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020 in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) (Source: Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A member of Mississippi’s Democratic National Committee is criticizing Governor Tate Reeves’ response to the coronavirus.

The scathing statement from Committeewoman Jacqueline Amos says Governor Reeves’ priorities are not with the health of Mississippians.

Amos is calling for Reeves and other state leaders to “drastically escalate efforts to combat the deadly virus and its spread in Mississippi.”

This comes a day after Reeves added more counties to his localized mask mandate. Mississippi is one of 12 states without a statewide mask mandate.

Reeves has repeatedly said he does not believe a statewide mask mandate would improve things, despite mounting pressure from local health officials

“I believe if we put in a statewide mask mandate and left it there for months and months and months, we would not have more people wearing masks,” he said last week.

“Mississippians are dying, struggling, and fighting to stave off the ravages of the Covid-19 disease. The number of our fellow citizens and their families who are impacted is intensifying at an alarming and rapid rate,” Amos said in a statement.

She also criticized Reeves’ willingness to continue with having Christmas parties at the Governor’s mansion.

Reeves says that Christmas parties at the Governor’s Mansion still happening

“It allows us to really send a message to the people of Mississippi that you can return to a life that is somewhat normal but you’ve got to do it in a way that minimizes risks,” Reeves said of the parties.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs brushed off the parties as “work” while continuing to advise against large gatherings.

“If you go to a party of 10 people, just on average, there is a 19 percent chance that somebody there is going to be shedding virus. If it’s 20 people, it’s about 34 percent. Not that you’re going to have contagious every time. But this is a dicey time,” Dobbs said.

Reeves says he doesn’t expect many of the 122 invitees to actually attend the party.

Amos also accuses Reeves of using the virus response as a political vehicle.

“From day one Governor Reeves has joined President Trump in wrongly assuming that the virus will magically disappear. Unfortunately, the rest of us in Mississippi do not have the luxury of living in the same reality-free cocoon as political elites like Governor Reeves, planning holiday parties for legislators at the mansion and sacrificing the health and safety of Mississippians for the chance to demonstrate his obedience to soon-to-be former president Donald Trump,” her statement reads.

In a Wednesday press briefing on COVID-19, Reeves was asked about President-elect Joe Biden’s plan to combat COVID-19 and said it would make no difference.

“The president doesn’t have any authority to tell a Mississippian to do what they can or cannot do,” he said, adding that Biden’s plans to curb the virus during his first 100 days in office “are going to have zero impact on the virus and where we find ourselves.”

Lastly, Amos called for immediate action including a true statewide mask mandate that is enforced, as well as stricter limitations on gatherings and cancellation of his holiday parties.

“For the sake of Mississippi’s families and communities, as a member of the DNC and Mississippi’s elected National Committeewoman, I am calling on Governor Reeves to take more serious and direct action: announce a true statewide mask mandate, enforce the mandate with vigor, impose tighter limitations on gatherings, and cancel his own holiday soirees with political insiders. Most importantly, listen to the public health and medical experts who can guide us out of this crisis safely. Effective, thoughtful leadership is needed now more than ever. Please stand up for Mississippi now, Governor Reeves!”

Amos also serves as the chair of the Mississippi Association of Democratic Chairs and chair of the Hinds County Democratic Executive Committee.

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