Transcript for Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba on COVID-19 surge in Mississippi
Joining us from the hard hit state of Mississippi is Jackson chokewe antra lumumba. Mayor, thank you for joining us, we appreciate it. As you know, Mississippi hospitals are seeing a record surge of covid-19 patients right now. Five of the biggest hospitals have zero icu beds available forcing some patients to actually go out of state for treatment. Would you characterize this as a failure of the state to properly respond to the pandemic? I don't think there is any other way to characterize it. We've been begging for a uniform response from the state. It's of great concern to us here in Jackson, not only because we are the most populous city by a factor of three but because we're the capital city but the capital of health care. As other city's numbers increase it is likely our hospitals that will receive the increased burden. As you're running out of hospital space what is the plan to expand capacity in your city? Well, largely the plan depends on resources that the state needs to impose. We're trying to do all that we can to try to flatten the curve, trying to impose measures, mandatory face mask requirements. We were the first to do that in the state. Now the state has officially followed suit. But I think that we saw this state open far too quickly and at the time that that took place, I warned of the consequences. Mayor lumumba, forgive me, we're four months into this and talking about hospitals running out of beds. Is there not actually a plan right now to expand that, to have field hospitals, other facilities open up? If so, that has not been clearly articulated to me and I believe that other cities have not received that plan from the state. I wanted to mention this because this is right in your backyard. The statehouse in Jackson was shut down after dozens of lawmakers were tested positive for coronavirus. Governor Tate reeves issued a mask mandate for 13 counties this week only. Is that enough? Should that expand statewide? I think it should be statewide. The communities here in Mississippi are far too interconnected. As we have tried to impose measures here in the city of Jackson, we've had a want for the state to follow suit because you can literally go across the street in some areas of our city and find another city adjacent to us and so it becomes more of a notion than a reality if you have restrictions imposed in your city then people can go across the street and congregate. They can go across the street and find communities where people are not wearing masks. And so I think that it is necessary that this be a statewide regulation and on that note, I think that the nation in many regards should impose the same. Mayor lumumba, thank you. We do appreciate it.
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