JAC K S O N March 18 - 31, 2020 â€¢ jfp.ms
FREE PRESS MAGAZINE
March 18 - 31, 2020 Vol. 18 No. 15
ON THE COVER illustration by Kristin Brenemen
4 Editor’s Note
andra Shelson has served the Jackson area, and Mississippi at large, in her position as executive director of The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi for the last 16 years. However, the road to finding her passion was not a direct one. Born in Shreveport, La., Shelson and her family moved to Jackson when she was only 18 month old, and they moved to Brandon some years later. After graduating from Millsaps College in 1982, she spent the next several years changing professions, looking for the right fit. She first tried selling real estate. “I wasn’t very good at it because I kept telling people that they couldn’t afford it,” she says. Next, she worked for a catering company, “which was interesting because I couldn’t cook,” she adds. Eventually, she ended up pursuing law, attending the University of Illinois College of Law. “At that time, I still wasn’t convinced that I wanted to come back to Mississippi,” Shelson says. After earning her law degree, Shelson moved to Carlisle, Pa., to teach at The Dickinson School of Law, now Penn State Dickinson Law. There, she met her husband, Jim, who followed Sandra when she returned to Jackson, and the couple married in 1992. Shortly thereafter, Shelson began her life of public service within the Mississippi Attorney General’s office, eventually rising
Facts v. Myths
To be informed is to be prepared. Review the research on COVID-19.
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Learn about LD’s BeerRun and the home-crafted brews the store offers.
16 summer activities to head the children’s division, which then-Attorney General Mike Moore created. In addition, she engaged in volunteer work—with the Junior League of Jackson, the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Delta, the Rotary Club of Jackson and other organizations. “I began my transition from traditional law to prevention. I wanted to be on the front line of helping kids,” she says. In 2004, the executive director position with The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi opened, and the organization selected Shelson for the role, which she describes as “a dream come true.” The nonprofit aims to tackle major issues that affect the health of Mississippians, such as tobacco use, obesity, student food insecurity on the campuses of Mississippi-based colleges and universities, and recently the dangers associated with vaping, which has increasingly been used as an alternative to smoking. “We are not trying to be a nanny state. We’re trying to provide real information so that the healthy choice is the easy choice,” Shelson says. Shelson and her husband live in Jackson and have two children: Carlisle, who attends the University of Illinois College of Law, and Tucker, who attends the University of Virginia. For more information on The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi, visit healthy-miss.org. – Richard Coupe
and CAMPS guide 20 St Paddy Info
21 ‘The Everlasting’ A Jackson author’s book depicts social issues across time.
24 Puzzle 24 Sorensen 25 astro 25 Classifieds
March 18 - 31, 2020 • jfp.ms
courtesy The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi
by Todd Stauffer, Publisher
t’s hard to believe about 10 days ago we were calling this the “St. Paddy’s Parade issue.” But things turned on a dime, and the Jackson Free Press team has done its damnedest to bring you the latest news on COVID-19 as it breaks here in the Jackson and throughout the state, as well as vital safety information. Since late last week, our staff has been allowed to work from home; starting on Wednesday, pretty much everyone plans to stay out of the office except for critical drop-ins. We’ve been implementing remote work in every way we can, and our team has come through well while producing a packed archive of vital COVID-19 coverage at jfp.ms/covid19. You can still reach us on our office lines and extensions (thanks Fuse.Cloud for forwarding our messages!) and obviously through other digital channels.
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Our drive to report the news remains the same …
Speaking of digital channels, we’re updating jacksonfreepress.com multiple times per day and sending the JFP Daily five days per week. If you haven’t subscribed, you can do so at jfp.ms/subcribe/. We’re also sending COVID-19 special alerts when we feel the need, including on weekends. Our drive to report the news remains the same, albeit by watching a few more streaming press conferences and staying out of the office to keep from spreading infection and to help flatten the curve. What is different is pretty much everything else—events, music, restaurants, entertainment, gatherings, shopping and so much more. In this past week, we’ve seen not just a devastated stock market, but the reality has set in that every day people are supposed to stay at home is another day that restaurants aren’t making money, servers aren’t making money, suppliers aren’t making money—even the places where they advertise those services aren’t making money. This can have a devastating effect on the local economy. So what do we do? I encourage you to shop locally as much as
you can given the constraints. See jfp.ms/ covid19 for web editor Dustin Cardon’s growing list of businesses offering delivery or curbside pickup and tip generously. Always choose Mississippi-owned grocery stores and wine shops. Buy gift cards. We’ll be working with local businesses to promote this as much as possible. That revenue tends to go straight into the cash register for local businesses, meaning they can pay the bills and their people. Like a lot of local businesses, the Jackson Free Press could use your help, too. Canceled or postponed events, in particular, mean less advertising revenue, which is the bulk of the way we finance getting the Jackson Free Press to our readers and paying our staff. You’ve got a few options for supporting us and our ongoing coverage. Buy a “gift” ad. If you’d like to buy an ad for yourself in the future or for a favorite charity, we’re offering special discounted one-time quarter-page ads or a week’s worth of digital advertising at special pricing. Go to jfp.ms/giftad/ and make that purchase online. We appreciate it, so will the charity of your choice! Become a JFP VIP. We’ve had tons of people over the past 18 months become direct supporters of the Jackson Free Press, and their help has been invaluable. Now, more than ever, we could use your direct support. Visit jfp.ms/vip to become a VIP—at certain levels, you can also get a mailed copy of the JFP, which you may enjoy if you’re not leaving the house as much these days. Advertise online. JFP.ms is closing in on 1 million pageviews in the first three months of 2020, so if there is a message
Flatten The Curve, Think Local in Wake of COVID-19
This was going to be the annual issue to celebrate Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade but things have changed quickly.
that you need to get out, our web advertising or JFP Daily ads is a really good bet to help you right now. Ask us about JFP Digital Services. If you have a nonprofit, medical practice or other local organization that needs help with your website, digital communications, or even online events and fundraisers, get in touch. Nonprofits: We can even help run a digital summit, a virtual fundraiser or create an online course if you need it! In the meantime, I’d like to offer some shout-outs to some very hard-working people who are also doing their best to stay out of harm’s way and keep others healthy, as well as informed. Dustin Cardon, web editor, has been manning the “cancellations” and COVID-19 safety-tips desk while putting up breaking story after breaking story, al-
State reporter Nick Judin grew up in Jackson and graduated from the University of Mississippi. He is covering this year’s legislative session. He wrote the cover story on COVID-19. Email him tips to nick@jacksonfree press.com.
Book reviewer Carlton McGrone has earned his bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Southern Mississippi and currently works as an editorial assistant at the University Press of Mississippi. He interviewed Katy Simpson Smith.
Associate Publisher Kimberly Griffin is a Jackson native who loves Jesus, her mama, cooking, traveling, the Callaway Chargers, chocolate, her godson, working out, Mississippi University for Women and locally owned restaurants, not necessarily in that order.
ways willingly working like crazy to find a photo to go with the words. The super-organized Kristin Brenemen, creative director, has directed not just “creative,” but the whole orchestra, from backing up the server and getting things into the cloud to creating new GroupMe channels and keeping all the remote staffers in the loop. Zilpha Young, advertising designer, has taken all the changes of the past week in stride, happily designing new ads, new house ads and re-doing the flat plan a few times to accommodate all the changes. Nate Schumann, deputy editor, is as always prepared to go into editorial battle against anything thrown his way. Kayode Crown, events editor, gets a special mention because, well, it’s been the craziest week of event changes in our 18-year history as a publication. And, of course, it goes without saying that we wouldn’t be doing the work we’re doing without Donna Ladd, Nick Judin and Seyma Bayram on point, and the trains wouldn’t run without Azia Wiggins Kimberly Griffin and Mary Kozielski doing their thing hour-by-hour. Stay safe out there. As much as it pains me, I discourage you from doing much shopping, travel or dining out— buy gift cards, order curbside and let’s see if we can “flatten the curve” as quickly as possible by doing the right thing. Here’s to your health and the health of our local economy. Slainte! Send business news related to COVID19 to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Shine Light on the Power of Courage.
Step through our doors today. Come explore the many stories that connect us all as Mississippians.
Explore the movement that changed the nation—and the people behind it.
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March 18 - 31, 2020 • jfp.ms
* SOURCE: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION COLLEGE SCORECARD WWW.COLLEGESCORECARD.ED.GOV
Dr. Corey Wiggins
very year Mississippians head to the polls to exercise their right to vote, and the primaries in early March were only the first of those visits. We will return to the polls in November and cast ballots for president, congressional offices and Mississippi Supreme Court seats. Countless times, many of us exercise our civic duty and head to the polls to make sure our voice is heard through the ballot box. For some, Election Day is just another day to awaken and go about the business of trying to survive and make a living. The struggles of life do not stop for an election. Whether you vote regularly, infrequently or do not vote at all, we all experience the onslaught of campaign rhetoric that is high on promises. We are bombarded with campaign events and commercials from politicians hoping to be elected. We see community advocates and leaders with meager resources working tirelessly to host community education events to help inform communities on important issues. Volunteers use their time to knock on doors for get-out-the-vote campaigns and drive people to the polls to vote. Some organizations and political campaigns spend tons of money on clever slogans designed to move and motivate us to vote. It doesn’t require well-rehearsed promises and clever slogans to increase African American voting. The reality is the unfortunate truth that we should vote because our lives depend on it.
March 18 - 31, 2020 • jfp.ms
We must all ensure full access and use of the ballot box.
Far too many African American communities in Mississippi do not experience full benefits of the American dream that remains confined to distant daydreaming without materializing into a reality where individuals have access to equitable opportunity. African Americans comprise 38% of the state’s population, which represents the largest proportion of black Americans of any U.S. state. However, the diversity of our state is not maximized when many communities across the state continue to be left behind and out of opportunities for better-funded public schools, employment
Photo by ElEmEnt5 Digital on UnsPlash
Black People: Vote Like Our Lives Depend on It
Editor-in-Chief and CEO Donna Ladd Publisher & President Todd Stauffer Associate Publisher Kimberly Griffin Creative Director Kristin Brenemen REPORTERS AND WRITERS City Reporter Seyma Bayram State Reporter Nick Judin Culture Reporter Aliyah Veal Contributing Reporters Ashton Pittman, Mauricio J. Quijano State Intern Julian Mills Contributing Writers Dustin Cardon, Bryan Flynn, Alex Forbes, Jenna Gibson, Tunga Otis Torsheta Jackson, Mike McDonald, Anne B. Mckee EDITORS AND OPERATIONS Deputy Editor Nate Schumann JFPDaily.com Editor Dustin Cardon Executive Assistant Azia Wiggins Listings Editor Kayode Crown Consulting Editor JoAnne Prichard Morris ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY Senior Designer Zilpha Young Contributing Photographers Seyma Bayram, Acacia Clark, Nick Judin, Imani Khayyam, Ashton Pittman, Brandon Smith
Executive Director Dr. Corey Wiggins writes that far too many African American communities in Mississippi do not experience full benefits of the American dream—and they must vote this year to bring change.
that offers livable wages and access to health care that is affordable. We cannot run from the stories and pictures depicting the atrocities and deplorable conditions happening in our prisons. To date, 24 deaths have occurred of mostly African American inmates under the supervision of the state’s prison system. The conditions sit squarely in the laps of the elected officials who have neglected to pay correctional officers a living wage, and they have promulgated a system of mass incarceration built off African American bodies. These officials have also opted for a system of taxation that gives our limited resources to the wealthy and corporations, while the state’s attempt at rehabilitation of returning citizens is laughable at best. Each year, residents in Humphrey County recognize the work of Rev. George W. Lee, a co-founder of the local NAACP branch, to register African American to vote in the 1950s. Due to that work, Rev. Lee was murdered in May 1955 when an assailant fired three shotgun blasts into his car. Rev. Lee’s ultimate sacrifice and that of so many others paint a grim reality of just how dangerous it has historically been to register voters in Mississippi. Building upon this the legacy of voterregistration programs, every year there are statewide efforts to make sure Mississippians are registered to vote. Today, 79% of eligible African American voters in the state are registered. Voting because our lives depend on it should not be taken as political rhetoric. It is a call and reminder of the
importance of why we must all ensure full access and use of the ballot box. While voter-registration programs have been successful in making sure people are registered, more must be done. We must move with a sense of Medgar Evers and Fannie Lou Hamer urgency in our voter mobilization efforts. Medgar Evers once said, “Our only hope is to control the vote.” It should be our communal duty in making this hope a concrete reality. We must face our problems and not run away from them as Fannie Lou Hamer insisted. We must do more to mobilize registered voters to ensure democracy works for our communities. Mississippi NAACP and Mississippi NAACP Youth & College Division members from across the state worked to mobilize voters in 2019. Our members knocked on more than 78,000 doors, made over 42,000 phone calls, and sent 249,000 text messages with the specific intent to mobilize voters and get them to the polls. In 2020, we are working to sustain and expand our impact. We don’t have an option because our lives depend on it. More importantly, as we all begin to look forward to casting our vote in the November general election, we should all be thinking about how to mobilize our families, friends and communities to vote in November. Dr. Corey Wiggins serves as executive director of the Mississippi NAACP. He is driven by a simple mission of being a servant leader. This column does not necessarily reflect the views of the JFP.
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Jackson Free Press
Pub / Vendor
COVID-19 in Mississippi: A Primer by Nick Judin
Who does COVID-19 affect? Experts say everyone is at risk of infection, serious illness, permanent respiratory damage and death from COVID-19. There has been much discussion of the cat-
Happy Birthday X 2
Flatten the curve
State of Emergency
Word Cloud: Our New Reality Purell Telecommute
Is COVID-19 in Jackson? Yes. The Mississippi Department of Health reported the first detected case of COVID-19 in Mississippi March 11, detected in a Forrest County man who recently traveled to Florida. He sought testing at a Hattiesburg clinic and is currently recovering in isolation at home, Dobbs said at a March 12 press conference. MSDH announced the first cases of COVID-19 in Hinds County on March 15. Two students—one from Jackson State University and the other from the University of Mississippi Medical Center—are the capital city’s first positive cases of the novel coronavirus. The two Jackson residents who acquired the virus were also in quarantine at press time on March 17, but they clearly did not represent the only cases of the virus in the Jackson area. Recent research from Columbia University published in Science
egory of people considered at “elevated risk” for acquiring and suffering a severe case of the virus, but its rapid spread in China and Italy in particular shows that COVID-19 is capable of maiming and killing the youngest and healthiest among us. Still, we must not discard the group especially at risk from the virus. They include anyone over age 65, as well as anyone suffering from an immune system-compromising disease, including heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and more. Medical professionals worldwide have stressed that individuals with previously existing respiratory conditions are at particular risk of serious complications or death from COVID-19. This does not mean the virus is a death sentence. Information sourced from China’s Centers for Disease Control from the COVID-19 outbreak beginning in Wuhan revealed a 2.3% death rate across all
magazine estimates that “86% of all infections were undocumented,” meaning that testing may reveal only a fraction of the virus’ actual spread. More distressingly, Dr. William Shafer, professor at Vanderbilt University, told CNN on March 16 that “asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic transmission are a major factor in transmission for COVID19,” meaning individuals are capable of passing on the disease up to two weeks before displaying symptoms of their own infection. In fact, by March 17, Hinds County had six confirmed cases.
What is COVID-19? COVID-19 is a “novel coronavirus,”
meaning a previously unidentified type of coronavirus, so named for the menacing spiked “crown” along its surface. Coronaviruses in general are a common affliction, and include the common cold. But COVID-19 is different, more comparable to the Spanish Influenza pandemic of just over a century ago, which infected half a billion people worldwide, killing between 50 million to 100 million of them. Modern medicine will prevent the earth-shattering death toll of that pandemic, but we must not understate the virulence of COVID-19, its danger to everyone who acquires it, and our lack of preparedness for its arrival and spread.
March 18 - 31, 2020 • jfp.ms
lease, if you’re ill— if you have fever, please don’t go to work. Stay home, and protect your coworkers,” State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs pleaded from the open room in the core of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency’s Pearl headquarters. The March 16 press conference in the fortified recesses of the MEMA building, flanked by National Guardsmen, reflected the dire threat facing the state and the world at large. Gov. Tate Reeves followed the presser with a video address of his own, delivered from isolation—Reeves had just returned the Friday before to the U.S. from a family trip to Spain, a country the virus hit hard. “Our goal is over the next several days to stand up additional testing centers throughout Mississippi. And we’re going to give the Department of Health as well as the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency access to Mississippi National Guard personnel to ensure the safety of our health care workers,” Reeves said in the video address. COVID-19 is here. And as the United States virtually shuts down amid fears of an overwhelmed health-care system and an unchecked pandemic, understanding the virus, its history, and how to mitigate its effects becomes an issue of national and local importance.
National Guard COVID19 Toilet Paper Hysteria
The Italian Model WHO’s data on COVID-19’s spread through Italy paint a stark, sobering picture for the rest of the world. Confirmed cases in
for the country’s 24,747 confirmed infections: a death rate of roughly 7.3%. These numbers almost certainly do not reflect the many mild cases that went undiagnosed or unexamined, but they still represent an ever-escalating nightmare. Experts in the U.S. and abroad say any attempt to address COVID-19 without the mass testing of countries like China and South Korea could spiral into the Italian catastrophe. “What is very clear,” Richard Neher, a biologist at the University of Basel told the news site Vox, is that “without a drastic reduction in transmission of the virus, health systems will be overwhelmed.” Mississippi Reacts As of March 17, MSDH had run 389 COVID-19 tests in Mississippi, 21 of them returning positive results. Early on, it appeared that many of the cases were the NICK JUDIN
The Chinese Model But numbers from the Chinese experience with the outbreak still weigh a majority of cases worldwide. And public-health experts like Dr. Bruce Aylward, senior adviser of the World Health Organization, assert that China was far more prepared for this virus than America is now because they acted quicker than the U.S. government to control the outbreak. “They actually changed the course of a respiratory-borne outbreak without a vaccine, which was extraordinary,” Aylward told NPR on March 8. Early testing was important in China, even as the U.S. is woefully behind on having enough tests or other needed medical tools like ventilators. Donald G. McNeil, science and health reporter for The New York Times, explained the breadth of the Chinese model to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on March 12. “(China’s strategy was) Testing, testing, testing. Find the virus. … If you go into any bus, train station, building, your temperature is taken.” China sent individuals displaying symptoms to specially designed fever clinics, created during the SARS outbreak and mothballed for just an occasion such as this pandemic, McNeil said. At the clinics, the Chinese are heavily isolated, given a bacterial pneumonia test, a flu test, a CT scan and finally the COVID19 test currently in such short supply in America. The entire process takes around four hours, with no exposure to the outside world, and critically, to their own families. “And that is the key element,” McNeil said. “There is no home isolation. There is no home quarantine. (Because) 75% to 80% of the transmission in China was in family clusters.” The most recently updated total for COVID-19 cases in mainland China was 81,077, with 3,218 deaths, which WHO reported March 16. Notably, that is an increase from the last report of only 29 new cases. As China arrests the virus’ spread, it continues to explode elsewhere, and so far nowhere more virulently than Italy.
Italy lingered around a hundred or so until late February. By the beginning of March, that number was over 1,000—then a week later, almost 6,000. WHO’s most recent situation report at the time of this article’s writing only places the total infections in the country at 24,747. That number will continue to rise, and the rapidity with which it spiked has plunged the country’s medical system into chaos. Shortages of ICU beds, ventilators and medical professionals alike have left the afflicted desperate for care and without the equipment necessary to receive it. On March 11, The Atlantic reported new guidelines for Italy’s worsening crisis, a morbid form of triage more suited for trench warfare than municipal hospitals. “Informed by the principle of maximizing benefits for the largest number,” The Atlantic’s translation of the document
State Health Ofﬁcer Dr. Thomas Dobbs regularly addresses the advance of COVID-19 in Mississippi, sharing the state agency’s recommendations for slowing the spread of the virus.
reads, “the allocation criteria need to guarantee that those patients with the highest chance of therapeutic success will retain access to intensive care.” In plain English, this means some of the most vulnerable patients—the oldest and weakest victims of the virus—must simply be left to die. This is precisely the reason for the nationwide shutdown, first in Northern Italy, at the outbreak’s epicenter, then across the country and now here in the United States, which CDC data show to be on a horrifyingly similar trajectory to Italy’s. The potential for a 2% death rate for COVID-19, itself a dizzying prospect that could leave millions dead in the worst case scenario, requires a functioning health-care system that is capable of actually serving all of the critically infected at once. The newest data from Italy at the time of this article’s writing showed 1,809 deaths
result of outside transmission to Mississippi residents returning from out of state before coming down with the virus. This will not be the case for much longer. “There will be cases from individuals who did not travel outside of Mississippi. That will be the new norm,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said at a March 13 press conference. UMMC enacted a strict new visitation policy this week, limiting entrances and exits to the hospital complex and preventing visitation for most adult patients, mirroring the heightened security at UMMC facilities in other counties. “This will test all of us like nothing we have experienced in many years,” UMMC School of Medicine Dean LouAnn Woodward said in a March 15 email to faculty, staff and students. “I know you will join me in remaining calm and professional, and at all times serving our patients and each other
with the very best we have to offer.” On March 12, Dobbs announced expanded access to the Public Health Lab’s COVID-19 testing procedures. The testing services available at MSDH mean all primary-care providers in Mississippi may use courier services to send potential COVID19 samples to the state’s testing facility as well as private facilities capable of confirming or dispelling a potential infection. Preparedness for COVID-19 sample collection and testing in the capital city came in fits and starts. As of early afternoon Friday, March 13, the Jackson Free Press had yet to successfully reach a single healthcare provider in the Jackson metro capable of ordering a COVID-19 test. That was the same day that state health officials said they had been calling clinics all day to explain the procedure. Some institutions referred the Jackson Free Press back to MSDH, still unaware that they had the capacity to collect samples for COVID-19. That afternoon, MSDH acknowledged it was still reaching out to clinics and physicians to instruct them in addressing the pandemic, making over 400 calls on March 13 alone. By Monday, March 16, some of that confusion seemed to have abated. Clinics and hospitals the Jackson Free Press called Monday morning had a much better grasp of the process of COVID-19 sample retrieval and testing. Some, but not all clinics contacted, could confirm that they had the capacity to gather COVID-19 samples. On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control announced new guidelines advising against gatherings of 50 people or more, specifically targeted at “large events and mass gatherings (including) conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies.” By Monday, President Donald Trump amended that number to 10 people: a much more stringent advisory that pressed many states to shutter bars and restaurants after weekend photos of crowded weekend revelry shocked a scared nation. At a press conference on March 16, however, Dobbs declined to recommend the closure of Mississippi’s restaurants and bars. That same day, Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba declared a civil emergency in the City of Jackson, closing down nonessential government services and sending many state employees to work from home. Lumumba also urged businesses like restaurants to, at minimum, begin take-out and delivery only services to curtail large groups. “Do what is necessary to limit crowds and to ensure adequate spacing between patrons sitting down at your restaurant,” Lumumba MORE
SEE PAGE 10
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age groups, a number Our World in Data noted is 12 to 24 times higher than the flu. That death rate, broken down into age groups, reveals that around 18% of COVID-19 infections are fatal in individuals over age 80. Elsewhere, that number is proving to be higher. “Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died,” World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing on March 3.
COVID-19 from page 9
Flatten the Curve number of cases número de casos
Aplanar la curva
without protective measures sin medidas de protección
healthcare system capacity capacidad del sistema sanitario
with protective measures con medidas de protección
time since first case tiempo desde el primer caso
adapted from the CdC adaptado del CdC
said at a March 16 press event. He did not discount taking more draconian steps, if warranted. “If need be, we will implement more extreme measures or more severe measures going forward,” he said. Those restrictions, as well as those of the CDC, do not apply to the Mississippi Legislature, both chambers of which gaveled in at 4 p.m. March 16. The week before, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann announced new restrictions on legislative attendance, preventing access to the Capitol for most of the public, sending pages home and barring lobbyists from the Capitol rotunda. State of miSSiSSippi
he above graph illustrates why the entire nation is shutting down. COVID-19 is a dangerously virulent disease. What’s worse, it is also transmissible for up to 14 days before symptoms begin to show. A new study in Science Magazine reports that up to 86% of COVID-19 cases go undetected. Severe cases of the disease require hospital beds and ventilators, both of which are in limited supply. These facts, taken together, explain why social distancing, intense hygiene and limiting public gatherings may be our best defense against the worst-case scenario, the kind presently unfolding in Italy. If we take all measures to slow the spread of the virus through the population, hospitals will have the time and space needed to properly treat the afflicted. If we are not vigilant, however, and allow the virus to spread through large social gatherings and public spaces, the severely ill may overwhelm our hospitals’ capacity. There is no silver bullet for defeating COVID-19. Sham treatments, like self-diagnosis through a breathing test or snake oil “cures” hawked online, are useless. Only a series of professional medical tests can discern between COVID-19 and the common flu, and scientists developing a vaccine say it is still a year or more away. What you can do now to protect yourself and the most vulnerable members of your community is to follow CDC guidelines, limit contact with others and practice strong hygienic habits.
March 18 - 31, 2020 • jfp.ms
a gráfica de arriba es la mejor ilustración para explicar por qué la nación entera está tomando medidas de contención. El Covid-19 es una enfermedad peligrosa y contagiosa. Lo peor es que se puede transmitir hasta 14 días antes de que los síntomas comiencen a aparecer. Un nuevo estudio en Science Magazine indica que hasta 86% de los casos del Covid19 pasan desapercibidos. Los casos más graves de esta enfermedad requieren camas de hospital y ventiladores, cuya disponibilidad es limitada. Estos hechos, en conjunto, explican por qué practicar el distanciamiento social, mantener una rigurosa higiene, y evitar los lugares concurridos, pueden ser nuestra mejor estrategia contra el peor escenario posible, como el que actualmente se desarrolla en Italia. Si tomamos todas las medidas para retrasar la propagación del virus a través de la población, los hospitales tendrán el tiempo y el espacio necesarios para atender a los afectados adecuadamente. Sin embargo, si no somos cuidadosos y dejamos que el virus se propague a través de reuniones multitudinarias y espacios públicos, los pacientes más delicados podrían superar la capacidad de nuestros hospitales. No hay una cura mágica para vencer al Covid-19. Los tratamientos improvisados, como el autodiagnóstico con una prueba de respiración, o los remedios milagrosos que se anuncian en internet son inútiles. Solo mediante una serie de exámenes médicos es posible distinguir el Covid-19 de la gripe común, y los científicos que están trabajando en el desarrollo de una vacuna dicen que esta tardará un año o más en estar lista. Lo que puedes hacer en este momento para protegerte y proteger a los miembros más vulnerables de tu comunidad es atender las recomendaciones de los CDC, reducir el contacto con otros, y seguir una higiene muy rigurosa. tranSlation by: Carla mariana fernández de la Cruz
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency over the weekend, activating the National Guard to assist in the expansion of testing sites and facilities. Following federal guidelines, the governor urged an end to gatherings of more than 10 people.
“We intend to work as long as is humanly possible,” Hosemann said at a Friday press conference in the Capitol press room. As of Monday morning, March 16, legislative sessions in 20 states across the U.S. had postponed or adjourned to avoid providing a vector for the virus to spread. By mid-day on March 17, the Mississippi legislative session was on hold. The Legislature passed bills before adjourning that extend the session and provide state employees with pay during the quarantine period. But House Republicans killed a bill by Rep. Robert Johnson III, D-Natchez, that would have required the Mississippi Department of Employment Security to provide paid leave for employees of private businesses laid off or furloughed because of COVID-19.
Part of the initial hesitation to suspend the session, one source told this reporter, was a desire to pass emergency legislation to “ease the burden on citizens.” Such legislation could pass quickly before the Legislature shuts down to weather the global pandemic’s spread. Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, acknowledged the threat the virus posed to public health and the unique danger of the disease spreading through the Legislature. “We each represent a different part of the state—If somebody were to be infected there it would certainly be possible for us to take it back to our districts,” he said in a phone interview on March 16. By Tuesday, March 17, plans to indefinitely suspend the legislature were underway, with House Speaker Philip Gunn telling the chamber that “We have decided to work to suspend the session.” Later, in a livestream press conference from the Capitol rotunda, Gunn and Hosemann joined to explain the session’s suspension, planned for Wednesday, March 18. “The House is adjourned for this time period,” Gunn said. “This has not been going on in a vacuum,” Hosemann said. “We have met with the state economist, and the Department of Revenue.” Hosemann said regular Thursday meetings with state financial officials would help project the cost of the quarantine period. Hosemann wrapped up the press conference with words of encouragement for Mississippians preparing for a long quarantine. After weathering this “most unusual” pandemic, Hosemann promised that “we will again join our friends and our neighbors at church, social gatherings, sporting events—at the things we normally do as a society to make our lives fulfilled. Our lives will return to normal. They’re going to return to normal when we get through this. These challenges are temporary. But our persistence is permanent. And we will survive this.” Hosemann closed his remarks with characteristic optimism. “Hope to see y’all in two weeks,” he said. Read full, ongoing coverage of COVID19 in Mississippi at jfp.ms/coronavirus. Email state reporter Nick Judin at nick@jacksonfree press.com. Reporter Seyma Bayram and state intern Julian Mills contributed to this report. MORE
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