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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."

Go deeper: The U.S. could be in danger of a fourth coronavirus wave

Go deeper

Chauvin trial leaves cities, activists across America on edge

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The impact of the Derek Chauvin trial is reverberating far beyond the walls of the downtown Minneapolis courtroom.

The state of play: With the trial set to enter its third week, activists across America are watching the proceedings unfold with heavy skepticism that what they perceive as justice will be served.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

The dispiriting housing boom

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's a discouraging scene: Bidding wars, soaring prices, and fears that homeownership is becoming out of reach for millions of Americans. We're in a housing frenzy, driven by a massive shortage of inventory — and no one seems to be happy about it.

Why it matters: Not all bubbles burst. Real estate, in particular, tends to rise in value much more easily than it falls. Besides, says National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun, this "is not a bubble. It is simply lack of supply."

Updated 6 hours ago - World

China's COVID vaccines have low efficacy rates, official says

China Centers for Disease Control director Gao Fu at a March event in Beijing, China. Photo: Han Haidan/China News Service via Getty Images

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention's director said Saturday authorities are considering mixing COVID-19 vaccines because the country's domestically made doses "don't have very high protection rates," per AP.

Why it matters: The remarks by the Gao Fu at a news conference in the southwestern city of Chengdumark mark the first time a Chinese health official has spoken publicly about the low efficacy of vaccines made in China.