Latest Mississippi news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. CDT

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MISSISSIPPI

African Americans more than half of Mississippi virus deaths

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi state epidemiologist says African Americans are disproportionately affected by the new coronavirus. Dr. Paul Byers says Tuesday that about 50% of cases and more than 50% of deaths from the virus are among black residents. About 38% of the state's 3 million residents are black. The Health Department says Tuesday that Mississippi had 1,915 positive tests for the virus and 59 deaths. Those numbers are among all groups. Areas with the largest populations are seeing the most cases. Two smaller, majority-black counties, Bolivar and Wilkinson, have disproportionately large caseloads. Gov. Tate Reeves says Mississippi has not hit its peak for the virus.

CONFEDERATE MONTH-MISSISSIPPI

Mississippi governor declares Confederate Heritage Month

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has declared April as Confederate Heritage Month. The first-year governor is following the practice of several of his Democratic and Republican predecessors. The state’s only African American congressman, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, says Reeves's action is “unnecessary.” The Mississippi chapter of Sons of Confederate Veterans posted Reeves's proclamation on its Facebook page. The document does not mention slavery as the central issue of the Civil War. It says Americans should learn from the “mistakes and successes” of the past. Mississippi is the last state with a flag that prominently features the Confederate battle emblem.

JACKSON STRING SHOOTINGS

Police: Shootings that killed two under investigation

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Jackson Police say they are investigating a string of shootings that killed two people and injured three others in connection to each other. Police say the Monday morning shootings killed one man and injured another in a Taco Bell Parking lot. Officers say an 11-year-old child was also fatally shot inside his apartment. Police say another man and child were injured but did not suffer life-threatening injuries after shots were fired inside their homes. No injuries have been reported in the fifth shooting inside a home. Police say vehicle descriptions from three of the shootings appear similar.

OFFICER RUN OVER

Authorities: Officer run over trying to stop stolen car

MARSHALL COUNTY, Miss. (AP) — Authorities say a Mississippi officer is being hospitalized after being run over by two suspects in a stolen car. The Clarion Ledger reports it happened Monday when the K-9 officer was attempting to stop the vehicle that was being pursued. Marshall County Sheriff Kenny Dickerson says the officer partially went under the car and got hit around the waist and back. WMCTV reports Robert Darnell Watkins was arrested on scene and charged with attempted murder. The passenger riding with 36-year-old Watkins has not been charged with a crime. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is investigating the case.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGES IN TROUBLE

Financial hits pile up for colleges as some fight to survive

Colleges across the nation are scrambling to close deep budget holes and some have been pushed to the brink of collapse after the coronavirus outbreak triggered a series of financial losses. Scores of colleges say they’re taking heavy hits as they refund money to students for housing, dining and parking that went unused after campuses closed last month. Yet college leaders say that’s only the start of their troubles: Even if campuses are allowed to reopen by this fall, they worry that many students won’t return. Officials believe the economic downturn will leave many Americans unable to afford tuition, and colleges are forecasting heavy losses among international students.

OIL SPILL-WILDLIFE

Wildlife group: Gulf oil spill still affecting wildlife

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A decade after the nation’s worst offshore oil spill, a wildlife advocacy organization says dolphins, turtles and other wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico are still seriously at risk. The National Wildlife Federation released a report Tuesday looking at Gulf restoration since the April 20, 2010, explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. The explosion killed 11 workers and spilled tens of millions of gallons of oil before it was capped 87 days later. Since then, $4 billion has been invested or committed to projects to help restore the Gulf and its ecosystem, while another $12 billion has been made available for amelioration projects through 2032.