Governor Tate Reeves appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday to talk COVID-19 in Mississippi, the impact on schools and what it means for the upcoming November election.
Host Margaret Brennan began by saying that according to Johns Hopkins, Mississippi has a positivity rate of 23%, “which is the highest in the nation when it comes to COVID infections.”
“Where are you headed going into a fall that the CDC warns could be the worst ever?” Brennan asked Reeves.
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) August 17, 2020
“Well, I haven’t seen that particular data,” the Governor responded, adding, “but what I can tell you is in our state, we peaked with a seven day average of one 1,391 cases on July 29. As of yesterday, we had brought that number down considerably to 728 cases per the state of Mississippi for a seven day trailing average. And so we’ve actually almost cut the total number of cases on a daily basis in half just over the last two and a half weeks. And what that shows us is our mitigation measures are working.”
The Johns Hopkins data is a graph that shows the total daily number of virus tests conducted in each state and of those tests, how many were positive each day. The trend line shows the average percentage of tests that were positive over the last 7 days.
According to Johns Hopkins, “if a community’s positivity is high, it suggests that that community may largely be testing the sickest patients and possibly missing milder or asymptomatic cases. A lower positivity may indicate that a community is including in its testing patients with milder or no symptoms.”
In Mississippi, both Governor Reeves and State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs have encouraged citizens with symptoms to get tested. As such, the State Department of Health has reported that 536,310 tests have been given with 72,136, or 13.45%, have been positive since the beginning of this pandemic. It is also reported that 2,084 deaths have been reported as a result of COVID-19. That is 2.89% of positive confirmed cases, or to frame it a another way, 97.11% of confirmed patients with COVID-19 have survived to date in Mississippi.
The ‘Face the Nation’ host went on to ask Governor Reeves about the availability of ICU beds, noting that 11 hospitals had zero ICU beds currently available and questioning Reeves’ characterization that it was under control.
“Do we have hospital capacity issues? We do. But the reality is, Margaret, in our state and virtually every other rural state across America, we have ICU bed issues and- and hospital capacity issues even when there’s not COVID-19,” Reeves said. “And so we’re certainly working through those. We have 150 ICU beds available throughout the state of Mississippi. We have over 450 ventilators available throughout the state of Mississippi.”
As for schools reopening, Brennan stated that about 300,000 kids are back in the classroom in Mississippi, adding, “You’ve had about 109 cases of COVID. You’ve quarantined roughly 500 students due to some cases. Why not shut down the schools?”
When Reeves attempted to respond, Brennan chimed in again, saying, “Once a school is already open, as you have done it, and there is an infection in it, which you have, why don’t you shut it down?”
“We have very objective measures in place to shut down schools if and when that becomes necessary, but keep- keep this in perspective. You said yourself that we have 300,000 kids in classrooms,” Governor Reeves said. “We’ve had approximately 100 cases that have been confirmed positive. And what I’ll tell you is we’ve yet to find one that actually the transmission occurred inside the school. In virtually every single one of those cases, it is these kids have gotten the virus outside in the community and brought it back into the- into the schools.”
Brennan then pivoted the interview to discuss the upcoming November election. She said to Reeves, “Your state was identified by the Postal Service as one where mail in voting could be delayed. Are you confident that all mail in ballots in the state of Mississippi will be counted in November?”
“I am confident that the ballots that are legally cast in the state of Mississippi will be counted, and I’m also very confident that Donald J. Trump is going to win the state of Mississippi and he’s going to win it big,” Reeves said.
ICYMI: @tatereeves showed no intention to change #Mississippi state rules to allow voters fearful of #covid19 to apply for #AbsenteeBallots@USPS warned #MailInVoting could be delayed in Miss. but Reeves is "confident" "legally" cast ballots will count pic.twitter.com/94OXB93LeM pic.twitter.com/9hG4ZNYv6G
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) August 17, 2020
Brennan pushed back on the Governor, asking what he meant by “legally cast.”
“We do not allow mail in voting in the state of Mississippi,” Reeves said. “We think that our elections process, which has been in place for many, many years, ensures that we have a fair process in which we have the opportunity to limit fraud,” adding, “Democrats that have gone to jail because of election fraud and it is just reality.”
Brennan replied that was not substantiated, continuing to push back on the state not allowing expanding mail-in voting.
“That is not what Mississippi state statute allows for. We’re going to have an election. We’re going to have a huge turnout in November,” the Governor said. “In fact, Margaret, I’ll tell you, we’ve already had multiple elections in the last three months. We’ve had special elections throughout the state of Mississippi. We’ve had very good turnout in every single one of those elections. We’ve had fair elections, and we’ve had a winner and we’ve had a loser. We’re going to do the same thing in November.”
You can watch the full interview below: