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OPINION

‘It Is Time’: Mississippi Joins Texas in Lifting All COVID Restrictions Despite Doing Terrible Job Controlling Virus

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Barely one hour after Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott announced he was lifting all COVID-19 restrictions, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, also a Republican, joined in, tweeting “it is time” to get rid of his state’s mask mandate. Next to a vaccine, wearing a mask is the single most effective action anyone can take to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

“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 declared on Twitter, revealing that he has blocked other “lockdown” protocols. “Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed. It is time!”

Governor Reeves, dubbed a “Trump acolyte” by The New Yorker, early on in the pandemic refused to take any action, and worse, overrode local officials who had ordered lockdowns and other protective measures. Instead, Reeves told Mississippi residents to trust the “power of prayer” over the deadly virus. And then he flew to Europe for a family trip.

Reeves has a strong background in finance, and he says he’s looking at the coronavirus numbers, but it appears he isn’t actually looking at the important coronavirus numbers for his state.

At a Tuesday afternoon press conference Reeves said he’s focused on the numbers, he looks at them every morning.

But, he declared, “the total number of daily cases is not the end-all be-all,” If you’re not testing much, like Mississippi, Reeves would be correct – but not in a good way.

“What is the end-all be-all, and the single most important issues, are what do the total number of hospitalizations look like, what are the total number of patients that are in ICU beds, and what is the total number of patients that are on ventilators?”

Those are the “single most important” numbers you would look at if your only goal is ensuring hospitals are not over capacity. They are the most short-term numbers you could look at to manage the pandemic in the worst possible way. Those are numbers to focus on if your main goal is merely preventing “last-mile” problems. They do not take into account “long COVID,” those patients who contract the virus and never fully recover. In fact, they are numbers to look at if you literally don’t care how many people contract the disease, or spread it.

Meanwhile, we did look at the numbers, the really important ones, to determine how well – or poorly – Governor Reeves is managing the pandemic.

It’s not good.

Here are some stats the first-term GOP governor might want to be paying attention to.

Mississippi ranks 32nd in total population across the U.S., but ranks 23rd in total coronavirus cases. That means Reeves’ state is outpacing the average – not good.

Those numbers are probably a lot worse, since Mississippi ranks 36th in per capita coronavirus testing.

Worse, just 14 percent of Governor Reeves’ residents have had their first COVID-19 vaccination shot, which means his state ranks 43rd, per The New York Times. That’s pretty bad.

Governor Reeves claims that “hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted,” but Mississippi, according to Bloomberg, ranks number 13 in hospitalizations (number one is the worst.)

And here’s the worst number: Mississippi ranks number 5 in per capita coronavirus deaths. There are just four states that are in a worst position.

Despite all this, Reeves is opening up his state, immediately.

 

Stats via WorldOMeter

 

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OPINION

‘Completely Broken’: 5 Major Weekend Shootings Leave Many Furious That Republicans Continue to Block Gun Reform

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A high school football team captain signed to play college ball, and a high school basketball player are two of the three people who were shot and killed at a shooting in Austin, Texas Sunday. Austin was one of five major shootings this weekend. Columbus, Ohio, LaPlace and Shreveport, Louisiana, and Kenosha, Wisconsin had mass shootings over the weekend, following a horrific mass shooting at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis, Indiana that left eight dead and seven wounded.

In Austin the suspect is “a former Travis County Sheriff’s Office detective who was charged with sexual assault of a child,” CNN reports.

Five mourners, including a 12-year old child, at a Columbus, Ohio vigil commemorating the murder of a man one year earlier were shot. One woman driving by the scene was shot in the head. She died.

Also Sunday, a Kenosha, Wisconsin shooter killed three people and injured three others. A “person of interest” has been arrested and will be charged with one count of first degree intentional homicide.

Saturday night in LaPlace, Louisiana six people, all children, were shot at a 12-year old’s birthday party. None of the injuries were fatal. The suspected shooter was also a child. And in Shreveport, Louisiana, late Sunday five people were shot and hospitalized.

The Gun Violence Archive doesn’t even count the Austin, Texas killings as a “mass shooting” because it only includes events where at least four people were shot. Nor does it list the Ft. Worth, Texas 3-year old who shot and killed herself Sunday afternoon at a local park, or last weekend’s fatal shooting of an 11-year old boy by a 9-year old boy at a Dallas Walmart parking lot.

This weekend’s five major shootings are a slice of all the gun violence over the weekend. Every day on average there are 316 people shot, including 106 who are shot and killed.

Sunday was the 108th day of the year. The Gun Violence Archive lists 152 mass shootings through Sunday.

On social media Americans are reeling in anger over the explosion of gun violence just as some feel the coronavirus pandemic is slowly approaching some semblance of starting to be controlled as more and more people are getting vaccinated. (Sunday saw another 43,181 new cases, a dramatic drop from Friday’s 81,600 and Saturday’s 63,627.)

Others point to the Texas House this week passing legislation that would end the requirement for gun licenses, allowing unlicensed open or concealed carry to be legal.

 

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OPINION

Internet Slams ‘Idiot’ Senator Who Tweeted Graphics Attacking Infrastructure Bill: ‘Are These Supposed to Be Bad Things???’

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U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is continuing her agenda of actively attacking everything Democrats do, to the point she is becoming like a more experienced Marjorie Taylor Greene or Lauren Boebert.

On Wednesday Blackburn posted a Twitter thread filled with graphics she appeared to see as attacking President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure bill. As the far-right Tennessee conservative may learn, the legislation is extraordinarily popular with the American people – Democratic and Republican voters alike.

Blackburn is among the most extreme GOP Senators, with just four (Ernst, Cruz, Cotton, and Inhofe) being even more far-right than she is. She is also rated below average in leadership, according to GovTrack, a non-partisan website that tracks Congress.

Here’s Blackburn’s “attack”:

The DNC liked it so much they “stole” it (her logo is still at the top):

It didn’t go well for her. Take a look:

 

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OPINION

‘Trump Stood on a Stage With Putin and Took His Side’: GOP and Fox Slammed After Reporter’s COVID Question to Biden

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In post-Trump America the Fox News–GOP machine is becoming even tighter and more conjoined. Several former Trump officials, including former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, are now front and center at the conservative cable channel whose CEO admitted last month it is on a mission – not to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting – but to be the “loyal opposition” to the Biden presidency.

That is on full display almost daily, when Fox White House correspondent Peter Doocy speaks.

Doocy on Tuesday tried to advance GOP talking points in the press briefing room but White House press secretary Jen Psaki was not having it.

As Vox’s Aaron Rupar notes, Fox News really didn’t care what Psaki’s answer was – or the actual facts were – they wanted a GOP talking points chyron:

Just hours later Doocy was doing the GOP’s bidding once again.

At the end of President Joe Biden’s announcement that by April 19 every adult in America will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine Doocy was the only reporter to shout out a question (a regular tactic Doocy employs,) which President Biden generously answered despite the event having ended and he was already walking away:

(To be clear, studies and Trump’s own Dr. Deborah Birx say 400,000 COVID deaths were avoidable.)

It took the GOP no time to sweep that ready-made soundbite up and blast it out, almost as if it had be pre-scripted (RNC Research is an official RNC account):

Fox News minutes later blasted out this alert from its mobile app:

On social media many Americans expressed anger and frustration:

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