Politics

Mississippi Lifts Restrictions, Mask Mandates

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Republican Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced Tuesday the state will be open for business starting Wednesday, just hours after Texas announced they’d be doing the same.

“Starting tomorrow, we are lifting all of our county mask mandates and businesses will be able to operate at full capacity without any state-imposed rules,” Reeves tweeted. “Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed. It is time!”

The average daily new coronavirus cases in Mississippi have dropped by 27% this past week compared to the average two weeks earlier, according to The New York Times (NYT). Average daily deaths have also sharply decreased by 34% during the same time frame, according to the NYT. (RELATED: Biden Says US Now On Track To Have Vaccines For Every Adult By End Of May)

In total, the state has had slightly over 295,000 positive cases and nearly 6,800 deaths, according to the NYT.

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also announced Tuesday that starting March 10, the state would ditch its mask mandate and that businesses could open fully.

“Too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities,” Abbott said during a Tuesday press conference, according to The Dallas Morning News. “Too many small business owners have struggled to pay their bills. This must end. It is now time to open Texas 100%.”

Texas’ average coronavirus case count has decreased by 18% this past week from the average two weeks early, the NYT reported. Average daily number of deaths have also decreased by 13%, according to the report.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), warned Friday, however, that despite declining hospitalizations and infections, states aren’t in the clear, according to NPR.

“Things are tenuous. Now is not the time to relax restrictions,” she said, according to the report. “Although we have been experiencing large declines in cases and hospital admissions over the past six weeks, these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic.”

Walensky said the 7-day average in confirmed cases had jumped over a three-day period which the CDC considers a “very concerning shift in trajectory,” according to NPR.