“Foolish”: Mississippi governor criticizes new CDC mask guidance

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NESHOBA COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – During his speech at the Neshoba County Fair on Thursday, Governor Tate Reeves (R-Miss.) pushed back against the new guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC reversed course Tuesday on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging. Cases have been surging in Mississippi in recent weeks due to the Delta variant. On Thursday, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reported 1,908 new coronavirus cases, along with four additional deaths.

Reeves called the new guidance “foolish and harmful” during his speech. However, he encouraged Mississippians to get vaccinated.

U.S. Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) responded to Reeves’ statement. He said on Twitter, “I’d rather be foolish and follow CDC mask guidelines than dead by following @tatereeves mask recommendations.”

The governor also said he will not enforce a mask mandate for schools in the Fall.

“I don’t think you’re going to see any school district mandate masks in schools. I think if you start seeing them do that, the parents will erupt, and they should, and I feel certain they will,” said Reeves.

Some school districts in the state have mask mandates in place, including the Jackson Public School District and the Hinds County School District, while others are making mask mandates optional.

Last week, MSDH released new COVID-19 guidance for K-12 schools. They recommended masks should be worn indoors in school settings by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated. 

Watch the governor’s full speech below:

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