At least 10,000 Mississippians are now confirmed dead from COVID-19 since the pandemic began after the Mississippi State Department of Health reported an additional 34 deaths this morning.
The Magnolia State leads the nation in COVID-19 deaths relative to population size; the virus has officially claimed the life of at least one out of every 296 Mississippians since the pandemic began.
Despite the escalating death toll, though, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves continued vowing to fight President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandates over the weekend, tweeting that Mississippi’s “economy is roaring because we’ve refused to let fear & pressure dominate our COVID response.”
“It’s been a challenging time across the country, but the reality is we’ve done it right because we’ve focused not only on saving lives, but also on protecting livelihoods,” Reeves told Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham during an interview Friday in Oxford, Miss., which he described as “real America.”
“We’re seeing people around the country looking at Mississippi and other red states because we’ve been open for business. We have a business-friendly environment, we have a great place to come visit,” the governor said.
MS’ economy is roaring because we’ve refused to let fear & pressure dominate our COVID response. We’ll fight unlawful federal mandates, & protect lives & livelihoods – like we’ve done since day 1. Good to be w/ @IngrahamAngle to discuss how real America is getting back to normal. pic.twitter.com/MUWrvpyX65
— Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) October 23, 2021
The Fox host noted that Mississippi’s GDP returned to its pre-recession gross domestic product levels before the nation did overall, crediting Reeves’ decision to go light on pandemic mitigation measures. Neither Ingraham nor Reeves pointed out that Mississippi’s unemployment is a point higher than the national unemployment rate and remains higher than its average for the years preceding the pandemic.
In August, Reeves claimed Mississippians are less afraid of COVID-19 than other Americans because “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.”
As Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs has said since last year, the real death toll from COVID-19 could be thousands higher than today’s official 10,004 confirmed deaths. Mississippi State Department of Health data shows that, since 2020, 14,334 more Mississippians have died of all causes than would have been expected during a similar period in other recent years.