July 10, 2020

Mississippi has kept its legislature open throughout the pandemic and has not mandated mask-wearing, or seemingly any social distancing. And this is the result.

Rachel Maddow had a segment on Wednesday night about the outbreak.

Source: Associated Press

Packed elevators and crowded committee rooms. Legislators sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on the House and Senate floor. People standing close to each other and talking, sometimes leaning in to whisper, without a mask in sight.

Those were common scenes at the Mississippi Capitol in June — a month that saw a historic vote to remove the Confederate emblem from the state flag — and now at least 26 lawmakers have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in the biggest known outbreak in any state legislature in the nation.

That works out to about 1 in 7 Mississippi legislators.

Among those testing positive in the heavily Republican body are the GOP presiding officers, House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann.

None of the lawmakers has been hospitalized, according to state officials.

President Donald Trump has resisted wearing a mask, and many other Republicans around the country have cast face coverings and social distancing as an infringement on their freedom.

But around the Mississippi Capitol, not wearing a mask — or wearing one pushed below the chin — was a bipartisan activity in recent weeks. At the same time, plenty of other lawmakers from both parties covered their faces and took other precautions.

Mississippi has seen a rapid rise in confirmed cases in the past two weeks, with the total hitting nearly 33,600 by Wednesday, including at least 1,200 deaths.

This part was amusing and/or maddening.

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