- One out of every 320 Mississippians has died from COVID-19, the highest rate in the country.
- Gov. Tate Reeves dodged CNN’S Jake Tapper’s question on whether he would do anything to change the state’s course.
- Reeves instead said “we believe in personal responsibility” and insisted the state’s cases have gone down.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves downplayed his state’s COVID-19 death toll and dodged a question on how he would change course.
In an interview on Sunday, CNN’S Jake Tapper pressed Reeves on the state’s high COVID-19 death toll, noting that if Mississippi was a country it would have the second-highest number of COVID-19 deaths per capita in the world, behind Peru.
“That’s a horrible, horrible, heartbreaking statistic. With all due respect, governor, your way is failing. Are you going to try to change anything to change this horrible statistic from what you’re doing already?” Tapper asked.
Reeves responded: “Yeah, well, obviously in Mississippi our legislature is a part-time legislature. Sometimes, I wonder if in America, if our Congress was part-time, we wouldn’t be in a better position.”
“Better position than what? Your state is second-worst in the world,” Tapper responded.
Roughly one out of every 320 Mississippians have died from COVID-19, the highest rate in the country, the Associated Press reported.
As of Thursday, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs told the AP that the state was still recording well over 2,500 cases a day. “A lot of that’s going to translate into the tragedy,” Dobbs said.
In response to Tapper, Reeves said the number of deaths was a “lagging indicator” and that had Tapper asked the question at any other time, the statistic would be different. He said his state was only experiencing a “quick” spike in cases that have trickled down.
The governor insisted that cases in his state have gone down.
“Now you want to talk about a lagging indicator which is sad and horrible and my heart breaks for all 9,000 Mississippians that have passed away,” Reeves told Tapper.
Reeves then blamed the transmissibility of the Delta variant, and claimed it spread first in Southern states and told Tapper: “If you want to talk about rising cases, look at Kentucky or West Virginia.” Tapper responded: “I’m talking to you about your state, governor.”
The governor then said Tapper did not want to talk about high COVID-19 case numbers in other states because they’re led by democrats.
According to The New York Times, the states with the highest number of average daily cases are Texas, Florida, California, and Tennessee. All except for California are led by Republican governors.
“This virus is not just attacking Republicans in red states. This virus is attacking Republicans and Democrats in red and blue states and what ought to be talking about is what can we do to minimize the deaths moving forward,” Reeves said.
Reeves then criticized President Joe Biden for suggesting a federal vaccine mandate, which he said wasn’t to save lives but to show his power by taking “unilateral” action.
Mississippi has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with only around 42% of all residents fully vaccinated, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Reeves has repeatedly refused to issue mask mandates as well.