Mississippi is seeing the largest outbreak of COVID-19 among legislators in any state.
(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
Twenty-six Mississippi lawmakers tested positive for coronavirus, CNN reported.
According to The Virginian-Pilot, 10 employees in the building have also tested positive.
Many lawmakers have not been wearing masks, and the floor of the legislature is also quite crowded and indoors.
Health experts have agreed that masks are proven to help reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.
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Some lawmakers in Mississippi have not been wearing masks while in the state Capitol, and 26 state legislators, about one-in-six of the state’s lawmakers, tested positive for coronavirus, CNN reported.
Earlier this week, WTVA reported that Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann tested positive for the coronavirus. House Speaker Philip Gunn also tested positive for COVID-19, the local outlet reported. According to CNN, neither Hosemann nor Gunn wore masks while visiting the governor’s mansion last week.
“We could have done more to prevent this,” State Rep. Robert Johnson III, the Democratic leader of the state’s House of Representatives, told CNN in a statement.
“It seems it was all about some erroneous, dangerously promoted political stance. It’s disgusting. Our governor refuses to order statewide mask requirements and our leadership decided not to require it at the Capitol.”
According to The Virginian-Pilot, in June, lawmakers were crowded “shoulder-to-shoulder” in committee rooms, and in some cases even whispered in each others’ ears without wearing masks.
State officials told The Pilot that no one has been hospitalized.
Mississippi has recorded over 34,600 coronavirus cases with more than 1,000 over the past day. The state also has over 1,200 deaths.
Earlier this week, Gov. Tate Reeves said he and his daughters tested negative for the virus.
“Limited contact with the people who were diagnosed, but better safe than sorry! If someone you know gets the virus, get a test!” Reeves said in a tweet.
According to The Pilot, at least an additional 10 people who work in the Capitol have also been diagnosed with COVID-19, and the number is expected to be higher.
“If you have been in contact with anyone in the Legislature, or if you have been in contact with any staff person that works at the Legislature, you need to get tested,” Reeves said according to the outlet.
Reeves mandated masks for 13 counties with a high rise of coronavirus cases, CNN reported
“Mississippi is in a fight for our lives,” Reeves said.
Rep. John Faulkner told The Pilot he consistently wore a mask but still ended up testing positive for the virus. Health experts have agreed that masks are proven to help reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.
“Even if you do all that you can do, there’s still a possibility that you can be infected with this,” Faulkner told the outlet. “If you’re not practicing, following the guidelines from the CDC, then we’re basically playing Russian roulette with our health and our lives and the lives of our friends and families.”
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