Parents asking lawmakers for better furniture tip-over safety regulations
The daily beast
Boy in the bubble wouldn’t survive spring break. Will she?
Courtesy Patti ThompsonTUPELO, Mississippi – The end of her state’s mask mandate could cause problems for Patti Thompson. The 65-year-old jeweler fought a chronic immune disease known as a common variable immunodeficiency for two decades. She jokes that weekly infusions at home put her immune system into a jar. “The best way to understand this is to think of the ‘boy in the bladder’ who had a related disorder, Thompson said, referring to a Houston 12-year-old who died 15 days after leaving before he died a literally aseptic plastic bubble became famous in the 1980s. “If we didn’t have today’s technology, I’d have to live in a bubble.” Even before the pandemic, Thompson avoided the crowds, wore hand sanitizer, and wiped down microwave handles. Now, without the weight of a government mandate, she fears that too many people are ignoring public health recommendations and assuming the danger is over. And the spring break is looming. Anger breaks out after the Mississippi school tells children to pretend to be slaves. “I think we’re opening it too early,” Thompson told The Daily Beast.Gov. Tate Reeves ended the state mask mandate last week with 24 hours notice. Over the weekend, the Daily Mississippian and other media outlets took photos of bars in Oxford, home of the University of Mississippi, with mostly maskless crowds. On the Gulf Coast, the Margaritaville Resort Biloxi celebrates its reopening after hurricane repairs with a big party on Friday. Masks are required but not required in the resort’s entertainment center, restaurants, bars, and pool play area. Unlike Texas, Mississippi communities have the option to implement their own restrictions. Entrepreneurs like Thompson retain control of their own property regardless of their location. “I’m not going to take my mask off,” Thompson said. “I ask my employees and customers to mask themselves.” But with millions of unvaccinated residents and over a thousand Americans dying from COVID-19 every day, Thompson feels far from safe. Her hometown of Tupelo will continue to need masks in city facilities but will fail to reinstate a citywide mandate after local health officials said it was ineffective, Mayor Jason Shelton said. “COVID does not recognize the city at borders,” Shelton told The Daily Beast in an email. “The governor’s premature review of the state mask mandate is like turning off the water while a fire is still being fought.” In comments to a Tupelo newspaper, Shelton previously said he feared a city mandate would put restaurants and bars at a competitive disadvantage. The directors of the local hospital, which Shelton was referring to in the same outlet, said the lack of mask requirements would likely undermine their use – and that they would have preferred if the state mandate had stayed in place. Some Mississippi cities make a different call. State capital Jackson and the university cities of Starkville and Hattiesburg are among those maintaining or reintroducing mask mandates and capacity constraints. Reeves’ office did not respond to requests for comment on this story. As with the rest of the country, Mississippi has seen a dramatic drop in COVID cases since the beginning of this winter. Earlier this week, Mississippi state health officer Thomas Dobbs said the improvement was mainly due to reduced post-vacation travel, masking, and social distancing. The 7-day average for new cases was 424 on Wednesday. By comparison, Mississippi hit a daily high of 3,500 new cases on Jan. 8. Hospital stays and nursing home outbreaks have decreased significantly. However, Mississippi still shows signs of community transmission. According to the John Hopkins COVID Resource Center, Mississippi last week failed to meet WHO reopening guidelines with a 10.81 percent positivity rate for COVID testing well above the 5 percent threshold Take the case that even if Mississippians don’t have to mask, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t. “We’re not done with COVID yet,” said Dobbs. Health officials are holding their breath at the start of the spring break and the journey is picking up. Most Mississippi public universities bypass spring break in favor of an early end to the spring semester. However, K-12 schools across much of the state will be closed this week or next. In Memphis, which serves as a medical center in three states, Dr. Scott Strome said there will be at least one bump across the region. That bump could easily turn into a wave if people ditch face masks and social distancing. “Spring break is a perfect example of where this can happen,” said Strome, the senior dean of the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee’s Health Science Center. It’s hard to figure out the impact of mandates versus strict public health policies, added Strome. Texas’ MAGA-rich roll-up in their Benzes for a mask-burning gala to pretend COVID is over “Ultimately, it depends on the individual citizens,” he said. “If we expose too soon, especially people who If we weren’t vaccinated, we might see an increase that may be preventable. “There is a light shining at the end of the tunnel, argued Dobbs. Since late February, Mississippi has shot an average of more than 130,000 doses of vaccines a week. More than 300,000 people – just over 10 percent of the state’s population – have been fully vaccinated. More than 500,000 Mississippians have received at least one dose of vaccine. Those vaccination counts have to be much higher before Thompson can feel like he can go back to pre-COVID routines People who wear masks, great, “Thompson said during COVID, confining herself to her business, home and the chiropractor’s office. Her husband k Takes care of shopping and other errands. Like most people, she longs to have dinner with friends and family again. “I’m ready to get out of the bladder,” Thompson said. Mississippi has opened up eligibility to vaccinate anyone over the age of 50 and people with chronic illnesses. But Thompson said it wasn’t clear if her poorly functioning immune system was responding. “At this point, I don’t know if I can get the vaccine,” Thompson said. For almost every vaccine, there will be people like her who will remain vulnerable, said Strome. Therefore, it is important to continue masking as the vaccination effort progresses. “We know we have the tools to push this thing back,” said Strome. “We just have to be patient a little longer.” Read more at The Daily Beast. Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now! Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside delves deeper into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.