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Masks work, mandate or not

The fact that the greatest drop in COVID-19 cases and deaths in the state occurred after Gov. Tate Reeves issued a statewide mask mandate in early August is no coincidence.

Masks work. That one thing is clear in this year of uncertainty.

As the state struggled to control a steep increase in cases this summer, Reeves followed the actions of other governors and issued the mandate on Aug. 4, which required citizens to wear masks in public.

Since then, the results of the mandate have been clear and convincing, even to Reeves.

“We’ve cut our average number of new cases in half. We’ve cut our hospitalizations by two-thirds of what they once were,” Reeves said.

Even still, Reeves made the decision to lift the mandate Wednesday — saying such mandates should be reserved for “the most critical, most dangerous moment.”

Reeves left in place some restrictions on schools, barbershops, spas and other events.

The governor says he still plans to wear a mask in public, saying it is the smart and prudent thing to do. 

“I want to be clear; I still believe that masks work,” Reeves said.

For now, Adams County residents are still required to wear a mask until Oct. 31 under a mask order issued by the board of supervisors. But the board may soon follow the governor and lift the county’s mandate early.

We will let residents decide if Reeve’s decision was the correct one.

Like the governor, we believe that masks work. The decision to wear a mask is not a political one. It is a demonstration that we are all in this COVID-19 fight together. 

Masks work — that’s been proven. Let’s continue to put them to work, mandate or not.

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