Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said residents of the state were “less afraid” of COVID-19.
“When you believe that living on this earth is just an echo on the screen, then you don’t have to be so afraid of things,” he said.
Health services are grappling with a wave of new infections in the state.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said on Saturday that residents of the state were “less afraid” of COVID-19 because they believe in “eternal life,” as new infections hit record highs and hospitalizations are increasing.
Reeves made the remarks at a rally of state Republicans during a fundraiser last Thursday in Eads, reported the Daily Memphian.
“Some of my friends across the aisle often ask me about COVID … and why it seems people in Mississippi and maybe the Mid-South are a little less scared, shall we say,” Reeves said.
“When you believe in eternal life – when you believe that living on this earth is just a blot on the screen, then you don’t have to be so afraid of things,” he said.
Reeves went on to say, “God is also telling us to take the necessary precautions. And we all have opportunities and abilities to do it and we should all do it. I encourage everyone to do it.”
Mississippi has recorded more new COVID-19 cases per capita than any other state, with about 127 new cases per 100,000, according to an analysis of the data by the New York Times.
The wave of infections in Mississippi has put the state’s health services to a breaking point, with 93% of the state’s intensive care beds in use and 63% occupied by COVID-19 patients, according to data from the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
The state also has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with around 37% of the population fully vaccinated, the data shows. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Reeves, throughout the pandemic, has criticized measures to slow the spread of the disease introduced by public health officials and has refused to issue a mask warrant in schools, where the disease is spreading rapidly.
In July, after the CDC issued new guidelines for fully vaccinated people to wear masks indoors to help reduce transmission, Reeves told supporters the measure was part of a political conspiracy.
“It stinks of political panic to the point of making it seem like they are in control,” Reeves told his supporters, reported the Associated Press.
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