Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves added ten counties to his mandatory facemask cover order on Monday, bringing the total under such an order in the state to 23 that have requirements to wear a face covering in public.
From Tate Reeves:
COVID-19 is spreading and killing in our state. It is not a hypothetical, it is happening. Today, I’ve extended our executive orders to mitigate the threat—adding 10 counties to the list of those with stricter measures in place. We’ll discuss more at our 2:30 briefing today.
The counties are Bolivar, Covington, Forrest, Humphreys, Panola, Sharkey, Simpson, Tallahatchie, Tate, and Walthall. They join Claiborne, DeSoto, Grenada, Harrison, Hinds, Jackson, Jefferson, Madison, Quitman, Rankin, Sunflower, Washington, and Wayne. Take precautions—wear masks!
The Governor went on to say the following about mask orders:
Throughout this pandemic, everyone has leapt for the “silver bullet” solution. Every few weeks, there seems to be a new shiny object that will protect us all. First it was more ventilators. Then it was a shelter-in-place. Testing and contact tracing. Now a statewide mask mandate.
Here’s the hard truth: there’s no single answer. All of those measures can be useful. None can be our savior. There’s no magic solution coming to save us all from personal responsibility. There is no piece of paper that I can sign to make this go away.
It’s a messy, complicated problem. There’s lots of contradicting information out there. It’s nuanced. Unfortunately, our country (especially the dominant political and media infrastructure) does not do nuance very well right now.
I, for one, am very grateful that there seems to be an emerging consensus around masks. I am frustrated—even angry—at the smug dismissal of masks from the world’s experts at the start of this pandemic. They pushed for painful shut downs that cost livelihoods and lives instead.
Now, they are doing something that I wish more leaders would do: they are admitting they were wrong. They are saying we don’t need to have lockdowns. We can use masks instead. We still need to limit many interactions (remember none of this is simple) but no more lockdown talk.
I’m baffled by my friends who are so passionately anti-mask. This is so much better. No, it’s not fun. Of course, there are a few people who can’t safely wear masks. But as policy, wearing a mask at public gatherings is infinitely better than losing your paycheck and livelihood.
Skepticism is good. We should all question authority constantly. I questioned the risk/reward of long-term lockdowns, and went against the grain many times. It’s not wrong to do so. But I’m telling you, the effects of COVID-19 on hospitals are not hypothetical. It’s happening.
The prevailing question should always be: what is the cost of this measure compared to the benefit? We believe the benefit of wearing masks is pretty high. Nothing’s perfect, but it’s good. And the societal cost—compared to shuttering schools and businesses—is infinitely lighter.
We also have to be clear: masks alone won’t be the end of this fight. In a few weeks, there will be something else for everyone to chase in the media. It’s why I’ve tried to deemphasize any single part of the equation—none are magic. Acting to the contrary loses us credibility.
COVID-19 is extremely dangerous. School closures are dangerous. Mass unemployment is dangerous. Those aren’t contradictory ideas. We have to mitigate the damage from all of them. Pretending this is simple, when it’s so obviously not, makes intelligent people stop listening.
The only solution is for all of us to make some effort. Wash your hands. Avoid that large gathering. Wear a mask as often as you can. You won’t be perfect—none of us are. Please just try, because the impact of mass apathy or overconfidence is widespread death.