12 News Exclusive: One-on-one with Governor Tate Reeves on COVID-19

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – In an exclusive interview with 12 News, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves discussed the impacts of the coronavirus in the state.

Currently, 22 counties are under additional COVID-19 restrictions, including Hinds, Madison and Rankin counties. The additional restrictions include a mask mandate. On Thursday, Gov. Reeves said he believes a statewide mask mandate will not work as good as a county by county approach.

With Thanksgiving approaching, the governor encouraged Mississippians to reduce the spread of the virus.

“If you’re going to be indoors with 25 or 30 people around the table, as the Reeves family likes to do, that’s not going to be particularly safe. But if you make the crowd much smaller, the smaller the crowd the better, if you wear a mask when you’re not actually eating or drinking, if you limit the size of the crowd, you can make a huge difference in helping us reduce the slow or the spread of the virus,” he stated.

Reeves said the goal is not to stress the health system. In the past few weeks, Mississippi has seen a spike in coronavirus cases. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs and State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers discussed the spike during a recent news conference. Dr. Dobbs warned of the possibility of an “explosive outbreak” after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Recently, several school districts have moved to temporary virtual learning ahead of the Thanksgiving break. The governor believes that kids should be in the classroom learning, but they should follow social distancing and mask guidelines.

Gov. Reeves also discussed the recent COVID-19 vaccine announcements by Pfizer and Moderna. 12 News asked the governor if he would take the vaccine if it was available.

“If it is proven to be safe by the FDA and the CDC, which is the only way it will be put out, I would definitely be willing to do that,” he said.

In regards to another stimulus package, the governor said he hopes U.S. lawmakers will come up with a targeted approach.

“The Democrats in Congress passed a $3.4 trillion plan, as if no one is going to have to pay for that. We need a much smaller targeted approach, $500 billion, to get money in people’s pockets so we can get through and bridge this gap between now and when the vaccine is readily available to all Americans.”

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