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862 New Cases of COVID-19, Viral Spread Increasing

High numbers of coronavirus infections in the week after Gov. Tate Reeves ended the state’s mask mandate reveal a dangerous upward trend following a successful September push to contain the virus. Photo by Ethan Wilkinson on Unsplash

High numbers of coronavirus infections in the week after Gov. Tate Reeves ended the state’s mask mandate reveal a dangerous upward trend following a successful September push to contain the virus. Photo by Ethan Wilkinson on Unsplash

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Numbers graphic. Courtesy MSDH

Mississippi’s COVID-19 cases have ceased the downwards trend they displayed through most of September this week. The infection rate is now showing the first consistent signs of a resurgence almost immediately after the governor’s new executive order rescinded the mask requirements across the state of Mississippi, leaving only a patchwork of local restrictions in place.

The Mississippi State Department of Health announced 862 new cases of COVID-19 today—on Oct. 6, MSDH reported 975 new cases, marking the highest single-day total of reports since Aug. 19. Today’s rolling seven-day average is 589 daily positive tests, comparable to the averages seen at the beginning of September, when the trends were coming down from staggering peaks in July and August that stressed the state’s hospital system.

Hospitalization trends, too, are headed in the wrong direction, with 472 confirmed cases in the state’s hospitals as of yesterday’s report. Earlier in the week, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs warned that “the state’s equilibrium is unraveling,” citing hospitalizations and high case reports. Dobbs also shared grave fears that mask usage was declining precipitously following the end of the statewide mask mandate.

A Center For Public Integrity report on the White House Coronavirus Task Force's survey of the states revealed that Mississippi is still firmly in the red zone for new cases, defined as showing more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people every week.

Last week, at the same COVID-19 press conference the governor used to end the mask mandate, he celebrated the hard work Mississippians have put in to crushing the spread of coronavirus, insisting that mask usage was “still wise,” and still something he intended to do himself. Previously, the governor has made several appearances at public events in Mississippi and outside the state without wearing a mask.

Read the JFP’s coverage of COVID-19 at jacksonfreepress.com/covid19. Get more details on preventive measures here. Email state reporter Nick Judin at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @nickjudin.

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