Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Amid chatter about the possible return of COVID-19 mask mandates, at least one governor said that they will not return to his state under any circumstances.
“Mississippians will not and should not submit to fear again,” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, said in a recent statement.
“In the early days of COVID, there was understandable uncertainty. We did not yet know what we were facing. As the months unfolded, it became clear that there were two pandemics. A disease that was easy to spread and that was deadly for many vulnerable people, and a pandemic of fear stoked by ‘the expert class’ that demanded total subjugation.”
He added that the "simple answer" to mandates is "no," adding, "We will not return to widespread masking or COVID rules.” That statement was issued as he pointed to a CBS News report that asked if mask mandates are coming back.
There has been a small uptick in COVID-19 cases across the United States, according to data provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the increase is a considerably smaller than previous so-called COVID-19 "waves" since 2020.
“An upswing is not a surge; it’s not even a wave,” Dr. Shira Doron, the chief infection control officer for Tufts Medicine, told ABC News last week. “What we’re seeing is a very gradual and small upward trajectory of cases and hospitalizations, without deaths really going along, which is great news.”
The federal government, including the CDC and Transportation Security Administration (TSA), do not currently have any mask mandates in effect. A TSA spokesperson told The Epoch Times several days ago that rumors suggesting mask mandates or lockdowns will come back later in the fall are false, while the CDC told NBC News that there have been no discussions to bring back masks.
But some businesses have reimplemented mask mandates in recent days—namely hospitals in California and New York. Several hospitals have made masking mandatory for anyone entering the premises, including visitors and patients, while several have only implemented mask-wearing for staff, nurses, and physicians.
In one instance, Kaiser Permanente's location in Santa Rosa, California, said it would mandate masks for anyone coming into the hospital. However, several days later, the hospital told a local paper the statement was erroneous and that the rule only applies to staff, not patients or visitors.
“Our intent was to communicate that as of Tuesday, we have expanded the masking requirement for our employees and physicians to medical offices and clinic settings; we apologize for any confusion among Press Democrat readers,” the hospital’s updated statement said.
“Visitors, patients, and members are strongly encouraged to also wear masks in these settings,” it continued. “We have not changed our masking requirements in the hospital, which have been in effect since April: employees and physicians are required to wear masks and we ask visitors to wear masks when in the hospital.”
Meanwhile, a historically black college in Atlanta as well as Hollywood studio Lionsgate said they, too, would re-implement mask mandates. However, Lionsgate said it had rescinded its mandate this week, saying that it was the Los Angeles Department of Health that forced its hand.
“The LA County Department of Public Health notified us yesterday that we could lift the mask requirements, effective immediately, and we have,” the Hollywood film studio told news outlets over the past weekend.
The statement also said: “Lionsgate never changed its own mask policy. The LA County Department of Health ordered us to institute the temporary masking requirement after we reported a cluster of COVID cases to them and we have an obligation to comply with their orders.”
Meanwhile, on Monday, Mr. Reeves said that if people want to, they have the right to put on masks in the state of Mississippi.
“If you want to take extraordinary measures to protect yourself from getting sick, God bless you. That is your right and you should do what you think is best,” the governor said.
“Maybe you’re the smartest of all of us. But we’re never going back to 2020.”
Other than Mr. Reeves, some Republican lawmakers have expressed concern about reports of masks coming back. Among them, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) said in a recent interview that "it’s alarming that the mandates are kicking in again" and again said that masks "didn't work, particularly for children."
The comment also comes as President Joe Biden on Aug. 25 told reporters that he signed a proposal “to present to Congress a request for additional funding for a new vaccine that is necessary, that works.” He did not provide any further details about the plan.