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State health officer: COVID-19 being spread in the home

Governor Reeves at a press conference in Jackson.
Governor Reeves at a press conference in Jackson.(WTOK)
Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 2:26 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WTOK) - Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves held a news conference Tuesday to address issues about COVID-19. The state reported more than 1,400 new cases, along with 42 new deaths Tuesday.

Reeves said, despite those numbers, he is encouraged to see more Mississippians wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines. But he says people have to be vigilant.

Reeves says the state Department of Health data shows almost half of the total cases are those under the age of 39 and that age range only accounts for 33 deaths. But that could be misleading for some.

“Well some people take that and say ‘well it’s not that big of a deal because it’s just spreading among the young people.’ That is wrong. That is not the way you should look at this because what ultimately happens is the young people will go back home. Just a bunch of 25-year-olds that live with their mom and dad,” said Reeves.

The risk there is that parent could then pass it to their parents without even knowing.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says the biggest way the virus is being transmitted, according to what the MSDH is seeing, is inside the home.

With the start of the school year looming, state officials were also asked about the risk for teachers of contracting coronavirus.

Dobbs concedes there is risk but also says masks and social distancing can help mitigate that risk. He says that keeping very young children in masks is challenging but notes that day care centers have remained open without massive infections resulting.

Another question centered on the spread of COVID-19 due to large gatherings and family gatherings, and how that is determined as the source of infection.

Dobbs says the tracing is a series of questions to the person who has tested positive. He says, yes, large family gatherings are problematic, but also large gatherings in bars and restaurants, with social distancing not being in place.

Reeves called on community leaders to help in driving home the message about doing the small things that will reduce the chance of the virus being spread: masks and social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, family or otherwise.

Another reporter asked if students are required, as teachers are, to wear masks at all times at school in counties under a mask mandate. Reeves said that will be clarified in the coming days.

In response to another question, Dobbs addressed recent claims by Dr. Stella Immanual and others that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine has been effective taken as a preventive measure and treatment for COVID-19. Immanuel tweeted about her experience with patients in Houston, Tex. Her tweet and re-tweets were removed by Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for “promoting misinformation”.

Dobbs said there are no clinical trials that scientifically prove that and he must side with science. Reeves said he has no opinion on medicines used to treat COVID-19.

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