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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

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Katie Ledecky in Tokyo. Photo: Ding Xu/Xinhua via Getty Images

🚨: Simone Biles won't compete in individual vault or uneven bars

🏊‍♀️: Katie Ledecky wins gold in women's 800m freestyle

🏊: Caeleb Dressel breaks world record in men's 100m butterfly, 3rd gold

🇬🇧: Britain wins gold in first-ever Olympic mixed 4x100m medley relay

🎾: Novak Djokovic defeated in Olympic semi-finals

💻: Japan tests teleporting games and "remote cheering"

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Updated 3 hours ago - Sports

Simone Biles won't compete in individual vault or uneven bars Olympic finals

Photo: Loic Venance/AFP via Getty Images

Simone Biles will not compete in the individual vault or uneven bars finals at the Tokyo Olympics, USA Gymnastics announced Friday.

Why it matters: USA Gymnastics said Biles, who previously withdrew from the individual all-around and team finals to prioritize her mental health, will continue to be evaluated to determine if she'll compete in the balance beam or floor exercise events.

4 hours ago - Sports

American Katie Ledecky wins Olympic gold in women's 800m freestyle

USA's Katie Ledecky reacts after taking gold in the final of the women's 800m freestyle race. Photo: Odd Anderson/AFP via Getty Images

American superstar swimmer Katie Ledecky grabbed her second gold medal of this year's Olympic Games, winning the women's 800-meter freestyle race Saturday in Tokyo.

Driving the news: Ledecky, who holds the world record in the 800m freestyle, is considered one of the best women swimmers of all time. Saturday's final marks her third straight Olympic gold in the event.