Amid Record COVID-19 Fatalities and Cases, School Reopenings Loom in Mississippi

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Mississippi is suffering from yet another record week of COVID-19 infections as July ends, with Gov. Tate Reeves placing eight more counties under his growing mask order. Thirty-seven of the state’s 82 counties are now on the continually growing list, with Carroll, Coahoma, Jones, Lee, Leflore, Lowndes, Noxubee and Pontotoc counties joining the rest.

The limited mandate is part of the governor’s self-proclaimed strategy, which he has argued previously is more effective than a statewide mask mandate. But he has repeatedly implored all Mississippians to join in. “If you wear a mask and maintain social distancing—at least 6 feet away from those that you are around—we can make a difference by doing these little things, so we don't have to shut down parts of our economy.”

Today, the Mississippi State Department of Health announced 1,168 new cases of COVID-19 and a staggering 52 deaths, the most significant single-day report of loss of life since the pandemic arrived in Mississippi. None of the deaths reported yesterday came from death certificate investigations.

Yesterday, the Mississippi State Department of Health announced 1,775 new cases of COVID-19, another all-time high, as well as 48 deaths, 23 of which stem from prior investigations. Record numbers of cases and deaths join long-term care facility outbreaks, which currently stand at 201, and testing positivity rate, which has fluctuated between 20% and 25% as the week has progressed.

All of Mississippi’s per capita metrics, from new cases, to hospitalizations, to test positivity rate, rank the state as the site of one of the worst outbreaks in the U.S. The coronavirus crisis is only worsening as Mississippi prepares to reopen its schools.

Reeves will spend the weekend reviewing district plans for the fall semester to gauge their sufficiency. “I've received a large majority of the school-reopening plans from districts across our state. I plan

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