Friday, July 24, 2020

Howdy.

Unless something terribly inspiring happens, we’re going to wait until the evening before we post an article. Call it a hunch, but I’m thinking it’s going to be an interesting day. Plus, I stayed up way too late last night finishing the Actual Paying Work.

Regardless, watch this space.

UPDATE: 5 p.m.

 Okay. Well. At least by five in the afternoon, I was wrong. There is, of course, still plenty of time for a Friday night dump, but since it’s still too hot outside for our afternoon constitutional, let’s knock this off. And since we haven’t looked at Mississippi in a while, we’ll do just that.

 To be honest, neighbors, it’s not looking all that great. Like the rest of the country, we were looking at slipping out from under this COVID-19 beast and start the fall with some sort of sense of normality. Unlike most Trump toadies, Gov. Tate Reeves has kept on top of the development, more or less, and has never pretended it was worse than it was. Granted, that’s a low bar and he was still fairly weak in trying to get anything done, but points for trying.

 We were all set to cut folks loose. That pretty much fell on its face as, along with the rest of the South, experienced record-breaking numbers of cases overloading the already strained Mississippi healthcare system. Just today alone, we notched 1,610 new cases for a total of 49,663 since it started and 28 deaths. We’ve had 1,463 deaths from COVID-19 since it began. Interestinglythe highest percentage of illnesses are coming from the 18-29 range, with 22%. The older you go, the less we see.

 There could be a number of reasons for that breakdown. Like everyone else, our elders were the first group to get hit, and they got hit pretty hard. Furthermore, the young folk really haven’t done their part to curtail the spread of the virus. State health official Dr. Thomas Hobbs has played the scolding parent to Reeves’ “fun dad,” and hasn’t been gentle in telling folks how bad they’ve been fumbling it by being so damn selfish. He said yesterday during the governor’s daily updates:

“I am worried about some of the over-exuberance of some of the summer sports stuff. I think it’s a little bit reckless, to be quite honest.”

 Reeves is getting fairly scolding, as well, and it makes sense. The science and evidence show that social distancing along with wearing masks helps slow down the spread, but far too many people don’t even bother. The end result is he’s amended the Safe Return order he had set for today.

 In short, according to the new executive order, we’re backing off plans to open up and going back to things like limiting social gatherings to 10 folks indoors or 20 outside. Bars and restaurants are seeing increased restrictions, like going back to 50% capacity and no more leaning at the bar for your booze. Reeves also announced six more counties are hotspots and are under tighter restrictions. This all is gospel until 8 a.m. Aug. 3, so a week from Monday.

 Credit where credit’s due, the governor issued another executive order to help out the thousands of Mississippians out of work and against the wall because of the pandemic. Unemployment benefits were supposed to run out July 25, which with something like 15% (a point higher than the entire country’s percentage) of the state on unemployment would be disastrous. The amended rules would extend the suspension of work search requirements until Aug. 8. Other unemployment gets a reprieve until Sept. 26.

 So that’s where we stand on that. We’ll see if we as a state can smarten up on dealing with this epidemic and I’m going to just leave that right there. In other state news, the committee to pick out a new flag is underway. They started up earlier in the week but for whatever reason, Reeves didn’t get around to naming his contribution to the committee today. Got a lot on his plate, I imagine. Anyway, hopefully they get it knocked out by Sept. 14 so it can make the Nov. 3 ballot.

 Have a pleasant weekend, friends and neighbors.

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