‘Never going back′: Gov. Reeves says no more mask mandates amid slight uptick in COVID hospitalizations

FILE - Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves addresses the crowd at the Neshoba County Fair...
FILE - Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves addresses the crowd at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss., July 27, 2023. He recently announced mask mandates will not be coming back. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)(Rogelio V. Solis | AP)
Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 11:00 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - No more mask mandates.

That’s the word from Gov. Tate Reeves, who says he will not implement new widespread masking or COVID-19 rules amid an increase in COVID-19 cases.

“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,” he said. “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.”

“The simple answer to the question being posed by ‘experts’ is no. We will not return to widespread masking or COVID rules.”

[READ: Mississippi is the first state to lift mask mandate]

Reeves issued the statement Monday morning, pointing to media reports asking if mask mandates are coming back.

National media outlets have reported a slight uptick in COVID hospitalizations in recent weeks. An NBC News analysis showed the seven-day average for COVID hospitalizations on August 19 was 8,998, up from about 5,700 a month earlier.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported 121 hospitalizations for the virus for the week of August 12. No data was available on MSDH’s website for August 19.

Nationally, the last spike occurred in early January when the seven-day average on January 8 was approximately 48,000 hospitalizations, NBC reports. On January 7, MSDH reported 459 hospital admissions for the prior seven days.

Reeves said people can still mask up if they choose to but said it would be a personal decision.

“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,” he said. “Maybe you’re the smartest of all of us. But we’re never going back to 2020.”

Want more WLBT news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please click here to report it and include the headline of the story in your email.