/A disease of a splintered society’ Politics, science clash in COVID-19 response

A disease of a splintered society’ Politics, science clash in COVID-19 response

Each of the three men said that they would feel comfortable attending a Mississippi State football game, with normal attendance in a stadium holding 60,000 people, this fall. By that time, Mississippi had already seen more than 10,000 cases of COVID-19 and almost 500 deaths. Dr. Cameron Huxford claimed that COVID-19 was not as severe as we thought. Dr. Jim Brown called orders from the health department aimed at controlling the spread of the disease “an infringement of civil liberty.” Dr. Will Carter remarked, “You can’t isolate yourself forever.” Huxford, Brown and Carter also wrote a joint letter opposing a Starkville Board of Alderman approved mask requirement. The arguments presented by 18 doctors, including Dr. Huxford at the July 7 board meeting are not shared by either the country’s primary health organizations or government health agencies. Huxford, the medical director of Oktibbeha County Hospital’s intensive care unit, stated that “fear, rather than hope” is the basis of many of the decisions regarding this virus. He also cited his religious beliefs. He stated that he didn’t wear a mask in public, except at the clinic or hospital, until the city required it. And that he wouldn’t wear one if he was visiting a municipality that did not require it. Huxford, who has shared opinions and articles on social media that downplay the severity, much to the delight of some of his followers, declined to speak with Mississippi Today. Carter and Brown didn’t respond. These doctors are not experts in infectious disease or epidemiology. The pandemic has polarized communities all across the country and Starkville’s demonstration showed that not only doctors are affected by the conflict. Thomas Dobbs, the State Health Officer, stated that rhetoric around the virus — “like all things digital media… finds fertile soil in groups that distrust governments on a good day.” — has led Mississippians to disregard public health orders. Dobbs stated in a recording meeting that July 10: “It’s insanely hard to control a pandemic if people A) believe it’s fake and B) find every reason not to follow the rules.” Although they clarified that they were not against masks in their letter, they did so by citing medical reasons (e.g. mask use increasing face-touching and causing health problems) to oppose a mandate for masks. Lynn Spruill, Starkville Mayor, stated that “that didn’t track” for her. Lynn Spruill, Starkville Mayor, said that “that didn’t track for me.” Studies have also shown that mask mandated states saw a lower rate of COVID-19 growth after they imposed them than those without mandates. Starkville physician Emily Landrum stated that while mask mandates have become a political issue for many, it was not. The Starkville Daily News reported that Dr. Landrum advocated for the mask mandate. “We are now six months into a pandemic involving a novel or new virus. We still have much to learn about COVID-19. We know that measures such as masking, social distancing, and hand washing are crucial to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It will take time to learn more, but there are many things we have learned. It stated that “we strongly believe that without the statewide mandate for masks, our state’s healthcare system can not sustain the trajectory of the outbreak, which could ultimately lead to the death of many Mississippians.” Already, there is strain on the health system from the record number of severe cases. Nearly 1,100 people were hospitalized on Tuesday with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. On Tuesday, Thomas Dobbs, the State Health Officer, stated that in Jackson, there are only seven open beds at tier 1 and 2 hospitals, and one open ICU bed at tier 1. He told doctors in a recorded meeting the previous week that he knew four people who died because they couldn’t get into crowded hospitals. “They either died in transit, or they were in an incorrect hospital, and couldn’t reach where they needed to. They died. Dobbs stated that these are just the four I am aware of. Last week, Gov. Tate Reeves issued a mandatory mask order to 13 counties in which cases are soaring (to which a former lawmaker and candidate for gubernatorial office replied via Facebook: “I’d like you to come up here and make me wear a mask .” Starkville’s Oktibbeha County was not included on the list. Monday was the effective date of the order. Reeves repeatedly encouraged Mississippians to wear masks “as often and humanly possible.” However, when asked Tuesday if Gov. Reeves said that the task was similar to a dentist trying get children to do their work. He said that some children won’t brush their teeth if they are told. It’s just the truth of where we are at this moment.” He also tweeted that trying to shame people for not wearing masks only “hardens their resistance.” Kay Ivey enacted a state-wide mask mandate Wednesday. Georgia Governor. Brian Kemp issued an order to override local mask mandates in Georgia. Starkville officials required that residents wear masks at the beginning of the pandemic. However, Spruill stated that the public statements by doctors meant that the city had lost support for the measure. This city is one of many Mississippi municipalities that placed additional restrictions on residents and imposed mask orders after the pandemic. They didn’t do this for fun. They did it because they had to. They did it because their cases were being taken away from them, and it improved their community numbers,” Dr. Dan Edney of Vicksburg, who is a member of the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure that oversees doctor discipline, said. Edney stated that the board will not consider taking action against doctors who express professional disagreements. However, it may intervene if clinics don’t follow health orders such as requiring masks or limiting people waiting in waiting rooms. The state is still facing the greatest threat from rhetoric that discourages people to take protective measures against the virus. Dobbs stated to Mississippi Today that Mississippi would have a better situation today if COVID-19 conspiracy theories hadn’t been rampant. Dobbs stated to doctors that “we don’t have an integrated society.” Dobbs stated to doctors on July 10 that “we don’t have a cohesive society.”