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DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — Gov. Tate Reeves is pleading with Mississippi residents to wear masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The state reported 862 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, and the number of hospitalizations has reached an all-time high of 805.

Reeves said wearing a mask has become a point of contention across the state.

“It does no one any good for you to shame someone because they’re wearing a mask,” Gov. Reeves said. “It also does no one any good for you to shame someone because they’re not wearing a mask because I can tell you those who are actually skeptical … while I personally disagree with that, if you try to shame them, it’s going to make their resolve even stronger.”

Daniel Wyrick lives in DeSoto County, where residents are required to wear masks at public gatherings or while shopping. He thinks everyone should wear one but said he would never criticize or argue with someone who doesn’t.

“It’s safer to wear your mask, but if they choose not to, that’s their decision,” Wyrick said.

DeSoto County resident Debra McGlothin agreed.

“For some people who don’t believe in it, for them to be convinced, it has to happen to them, and that’s sad to say,” McGlothin said.

Dr. Manoj Jain is an infectious disease expert.

“It’s very unfortunate that the whole issue has been politicized,” Dr. Jain said. “I really think this is a medical issue, and I think people should look at, just as in the winter season, we wear a hat and a scarf. Masking is within your control.”

Dr. Jain said masking is one of the most important guidelines in place when it comes to slowing the spread of COVID-19 because, depending on where you are, you can’t always guarantee six feet of separation from others, but you can make sure you have a mask on.