During Monday’s press briefing, Governor Tate Revees and State Health Officer Dr. Thomas aimed to dispel several rumors surrounding the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Mississippi.
Governor Reeves opened the briefing by stating that Mississippi is in the midst of a spike in cases, which is a word he explained that he does not use lightly. On the day that mask mandates took effect in 13 Mississippi counties, the governor urged everyone to take part in the fight against the virus.
While he understands the skepticism some may have following mixed messages from federal health officials when it comes to mask use, he is asking for your cooperation.
“I want you to know, I have directly asked every hard question you’ve wondered about. ‘Why the change in tone? Are masks really effective?’ We’ve looked at every available tool, and I promise you this, this is the best weapon we have right now. It’s not fun, but its a hell of a lot better than widespread economic shutdowns,” Governor Reeves said.
In terms of what it driving the case surge in Mississippi, Dr. Dobbs wanted to act as a “myth-buster” for theories that he is being asked about.
“One person is one case. People ask me over and over again ‘if we test someone three times, does that count as three cases?” Absolutely not. If we test someone 20 times, the same person is going to be just one case. There is no case inflation for number of tests for an individual. We need to set that rumor to rest,” he explained.
The second “myth” that Dr. Dobbs disused was the reporting of positive antibody tests. He stated that of Mississippi’s 36,680 cases, just 285 are antibody tests.
“It’s a small number, and it’s only people who have a positive antibody test and either symptoms consistent with coronavirus or a known personal contact, so that’s not driving up the numbers, it’s coronavirus that’s driving up the numbers,” Dr. Dobbs said.
Governor Reeves followed Dr. Dobbs’ comments by refuting any claims that ‘herd immunity’ is a possibility in Mississippi. He posted his counterargument on social media.
“The experts say we need 70-80% of the population to get COVID-19 to achieve herd immunity. Let’s assume they’re wrong (it’s certainly possible, they have been before.) Let’s assume they’re being way overly cautious and we actually only need 40% infection for herd immunity.
In Mississippi, our population is 3 million. We’ve had 36,680 cases so far.
We’d need 1.2 MILLION infections to achieve that hypothetical 40% threshold. (Remember, experts say it’s double that.)
Over the last two weeks, our hospital system has started to become stressed to the point of pain. We are seeing the early signs and effects of it becoming overwhelmed. We had to suspend elective surgeries again.
On our worst day of new cases, we had just over 1,000. It has typically been between 700-900 during this most aggressive time.
To get to 40% infections, we’d need 3,187 new cases every day for a full year from today.
We would need to TRIPLE our worst day—every day—for a year.
I’m not one of these guys that immediately dismisses any idea that challenges the expert status quo talking points. I’m pretty skeptical by nature. That’s healthy. But herd immunity is not anything like a realistic solution in the short or mid-term. I wish it was.
Unless you’re willing to go without hospitals after a car wreck or heart attack, we need a different approach. Right now, despite mixed messages at the beginning, it seems like masks are the best bet. They’re a hell of a lot better than widespread shut downs. Please wear one!”
The order to restrict certain elective procedures across the state was announced last Friday as hospitalizations in Mississippi continue to place stress on the state’s healthcare system.
As the mask mandate and additional guidelines took effect today, the governor mentioned that additional counties have been identified as hotspots and could be added to the executive order.
You can watch today’s press briefing below: