UPDATE: Reeves announced on Tuesday that he and members of his family tested negative for COVID-19. He said he’s had limited contact with the lawmakers who tested positive, but it was better to be safe than sorry. He also encouraged others to get tested.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves addressed his state from a different perspective Monday — stuck at home while awaiting results for a COVID test.
“A large number of legislators have tested positive for the virus. At least one of those, I had come in contact with over the last 14 days,” he said.
Reeves didn’t reveal how many officials have tested positive, but he did double down on comments he made over the weekend.
A tweet from the governor went viral after he made suggestions regarding the media’s coverage of protests. He took it further Monday, blaming the “hypocrisy” of the media for the return of COVID-19.
“The press and the news went weeks and weeks without even talking about the coronavirus. But instead focused on other things happening in this country, allowed for a lot of people to put their guard down,” he said.
The suggestion that protests played a part in recent COVID spikes contrasted with claims the Mississippi state health department made just days ago.
“We don’t have any evidence to that effect. Our investigations have not revealed any specific links to protests,” said Dr. Thomas Dobbs, health officer with the Mississippi Department of Health.
Reeves’ tweet and later claims didn’t convey the scene that WREG found in covering protests in northern Mississippi. Most protesters were wearing masks, and DeSoto County law enforcement actually coordinated with organizers to make sure the events were held responsibly.
Reeves did not take questions from the media after hosting the press conference from home. He ended by preaching unity and discouraging gatherings of any type, as the Magnolia State continues to battle the pandemic.
“We as Mississippians can help protect ourselves and we can help protect our neighbors,” he said.