Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves with President Donald Trump.
The Governor of Mississippi admitted he would backtrack on plans to partially end the state’s coronavirus lockdown after seeing its largest single-day increase in both cases and deaths on Friday.
Mississippi reported 397 new cases of coronavirus and 20 new deaths Friday, both of which were the highest daily numbers in the state. There have been 291 deaths from the virus in the state.
Those figures prompted Governor Tate Reeves to pull back on plans to reopen non-essential businesses.
More than 66,000 people have died, , and the virus has infected over 1.1 million in the US, which is now the global epicenter of COVID-19.
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The Governor of Mississippi said he would backtrack on plans to partially end the state’s coronavirus lockdown after seeing its largest single-day increase in both cases and deaths on Friday.
Mississippi reported 397 new cases of coronavirus and 20 new deaths Friday, both of which were the highest daily numbers in the state since the virus first appeared there. By Saturday the number of new cases had fallen to 229, while there were 10 new deaths.
The spike in cases caused the state’s governor, Tate Reeves, to pull back on plans to allow some non-essential retailers to reopen under strict guidelines for their operation.
“Things can change quickly. We have to stay flexible. Today, I was prepared to announce further reopenings. That was the plan and I was excited to get more of our people back to work,” Reeves said in a briefing Friday.
“This was a large enough change to make me take a step back,” he said, referencing the large number of new cases. “I have come to the conclusion that I must hold on for now.”
Mississippi, the US’ poorest state on a GDP per capita basis, has reported 7,441 cases of COVID-19, and 291 deaths, the state’s department of health says.
There have been some 1.1 million cases across the US, and around 66,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Mississippi was set to be one of a handful of states to begin easing lockdowns by reopening some non-essential businesses and allowing some workers to return to work.
Children wait in line at a ice-cream shop as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Biloxi, Mississippi U.S., April 17, 2020.
Reeves had planned a so-called “safer at home” initiative, whereby non-essential retail businesses like clothing stores and bookstores could reopen, while following strict guidelines. Those guidelines included lowering capacity, practicing social distancing, and ensuring high levels of hygiene.
“The increase was a large enough change to make me take a step back, reexamine things and must hold on and reconsider at least over the weekend,” Reeves said.
He stressed his desire, “not to recklessly put people in harm’s way.”
At a federal level, President Donald Trump has pushed for a reopening of some businesses after several weeks of lockdown, citing a desire to protect the US economy from the damage that a prolonged period of low activity would cause.
The president has frequently yo-yo-ed between pushing for a reopening at the behest of business leaders, and urging caution amid advice from public health officials.
Health officials warn that reopening the economy too quickly could lead to a second wave of new cases, much like was witnessed during the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918.
The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) warned this week that the most likely, and worst-case scenario going forward is a “one in which the first wave is followed by a larger wave in the fall or winter of 2020, and one or more smaller subsequent waves in 2021,” Business Insider’ Aylin Woodward reported Saturday.
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