Mississippi governor Tate Reeves told attendees at a fundraiser last week that the reason why people in Mississippi and elsewhere in the South are not as afraid of COVID-19 as people in other areas is because of their belief in eternal life.
“I’m often asked by some of my friends on the other side of the aisle about COVID,” said Gov. Tate Reeves, according to the Daily Memphian, “and why does it seem like folks in Mississippi and maybe in the Mid-South are a little less scared, shall we say.”
The reason, said the governor, is that “when you believe in eternal life — when you believe that living on this earth is but a blip on the screen, then you don’t have to be so scared of things.”
The governor was not offering faith in God as a reason not to take steps to prevent catching the COVID-19 virus. “God also tells us to take necessary precautions,” he said. “And we all have opportunities and abilities to do that and we should all do that. I encourage everyone to do so. But the reality is that working together, we can get beyond this. We can move forward. We can move on.”
Gov. Tate Reeves Faces Crises
As of this writing, Mississippi is second only to Florida as the state with the most cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents within the past seven days, according to data from the New York Times. At the same time, Mississippi is bracing for the impact of Hurricane Ida, which has now been downgraded to a tropical storm.
“As eye of #Ida hits central MS know we are 18-22 hours from it departing our state – stay diligent,” Reeves tweeted Monday. “Tornado threat remains for Coast. Heavy rainfall up to 8”. Downed trees across roadways in SW MS. Downed power lines with 130,000+ without power. Stay aware! Be safe! God bless!” Currently, residents are vulnerable to flash floods, tornadoes, and damaging winds.
Gov. Tate Reeves has encouraged Mississippi residents to get vaccinated, but was criticized in March for ending the state’s mask mandate, as well as capacity limitations on businesses. President Biden called this, “Neanderthal thinking.” Reeves responded to Biden by citing data showing that ICU bed occupation, hospitalizations, and positive COVID-19 cases were down.
Now that COVID-19 cases are rising in the state, Reeves says the primary challenge that hospitals face is not a lack of beds, but a labor shortage.