JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Governor Tate Reeves is throwing blame on protesters for the sharp rise in Coronavirus cases over the last few weeks.
On the Governor’s social media pages he writes, “Liberal media is trying to claim the increase of Coronavirus was just caused by family BBQ’s on Memorial Day. They completely ignore the fact that our uptick (and other states) began within days of massive protests all over—which they celebrated.”
This message seems to contradict the words of State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs who mentioned that he couldn’t say with certainty if the increases were because of protests or not.
On June 1st Dr. Dobbs responded to a question about the protests and rising case numbers saying: “We don’t have any evidence to that effect. Our investigations have not revealed any specific links to protests. Data is continuing to come in. Maybe it will in the future as we dig in more. It’s a question that we are very interested in asking.”
On June 23rd he said: “It would be hard to say. I will say of all the protesters I saw a lot of masks. I was very heartened to see that so kudos but we are not sure. We haven’t seen anything attributed to that but it is early. It takes a while. Outdoors are good. Masks are good. Crowds are bad. Remains to be seen.”
MSDH is attributing some of the spike to young adults who are not wearing masks or social distancing.
The Governor’s message Sunday comes just moments after House Speaker Phillip Gunn announced he tested positive for the Coronavirus. He also said that several other House members have also tested positive for the virus.
Senate Minority Leader, Derrick T. Simmons, issued this statement in response to the Governor’s post:
“I don’t think the governor or anyone else can for certain blame the increased number of COVID-19 cases on protests around the nation or in Mississippi. There are numerous reasons why an increase would occur as more people returned to work, resumed outdoor activities and most states opened up again after being shut down as a preventative measure. Therefore when people re-emerged from the shutdown more people mingled and crowds gathered in many places and socializing began again. When that happened and more testing across the country ramped up, as it did in Mississippi, the numbers increased. I trust media professionals with their assessments since they are trained to be factual and won’t dare to condemn them for doing the tough job and informing the American people with facts.”