Mar 7, 2021 - Health

Mississippi Gov. defends lifting mask mandate: "We have to get our economy rolling"

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) defended his decision to revoke the state's mask mandate on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, describing the move as backed by data and a necessary step to boost the state's economy.

Why it matters: Although hospitalizations have dropped, Mississippi had the largest increase in the average of new coronavirus cases over a seven-day period in the country as of March 2, according to Axios' weekly tracker.

Driving the news: Mississippi lifted its mask mandate for all counties last week and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) ended all coronavirus restrictions via executive order, although some companies are continuing mask mandates.

What he's saying: "We have to get our economy rolling so that individuals can get back to work. And I think that's critically important," Reeves told anchor Jake Tapper.

  • "The fact is we have seen significantly reduced levels," Reeves said, referring to the drop in hospitalizations and number of patients in intensive care units.
  • "And oh, by the way, unlike President Biden, who wants to insult Americans and insult Missippians, I actually trust Mississippians to make the decisions. They've proven throughout the last year that they can do so."
  • "The numbers don't justify government interaction at the levels that we're seeing in other states."

Flashback: States that are relaxing coronavirus restrictions are making "a big mistake," President Biden told reporters last week, adding: "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking."

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