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Jul 13

Facts, not Hysteria, not Politics

Posted on July 13, 2020 at 2:59 PM by Darren Musselwhite


COVID-19 Update:

Effective today, July 13, 2020, Governor Reeves declared Executive Order #1507 which will be displayed on the City of Southaven’s website to be viewed in its entirety.  It has specific changes for specific counties. The key changes for Desoto County are as follows:

Masks must be worn by all people in all retail businesses and in any business or gathering by people who cannot maintain a distance of 6 feet from other people.

Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people and outdoor gathering to 20.

Along with my staff, I have answered many hundreds of questions regarding the Governor’s Orders throughout this pandemic.  My goal today is not to try to explain the thought processes of someone else, but to give direction and lead those who read this with facts.

First, many who are regarded as public health experts have given and continue to give us incorrect information throughout this pandemic.  When someone gives me incorrect information multiple times, they lose credibility.  This is not disrespectful to them, but simply factual.  When many people rely on your statements, you have a great responsibility to be accurate.  There is nothing wrong with saying, “I don’t know”.  Unfortunately, the former has been rampant during this pandemic and hard to know who to believe, so I encourage everyone to join me in making logical judgments considering facts.  Let’s talk about the facts and I will share my thoughts…

This virus is real and very dangerous for a very small percentage of our people.  We should all do our part with a common sense, practical approach to protect all of our people.  Although I do not agree with government mandates considering real data now, I do think we should all stay smart with hygiene, social distancing, and common courtesies to our fellow man.  I encourage facial coverings when in dense gatherings (less than 6 feet apart) if an individual is able to do this without jeopardizing their own health.  Individuals should make their own decisions regarding their health, not governments.  I strongly disagree with “shutdowns” and limitations of any kind that kill our economy and increase other health risks, considering the real numbers (*99.99% of Desoto Countians and 99.96% of Mississippians have survived this virus to date).

Testing is not accurate, period.

Even for the testing statistics we have, we know that positive case counts will naturally rise with more testing.  This does not accurately prove that the infection rate is increasing.  How do you know how many people have been positive, but never got sick, nor got tested?   You don’t. Testing statistics are not accurate, nor are they a reliable source of information regarding spread rates. 

Desoto County is one of the most densely-populated counties in Mississippi and when you consider that we border Shelby County, TN, we are the most densely-populated area in the state (approximately 1.1 million people combined).  Of course we have one of the highest positive case totals because we have more people and more testing, largely because of mandatory testing by employers. Our fatalities per capita are lower than the State of Mississippi as a whole.

As noted above, we now know that many people who test positive are not sick and statistics that are reliable (fatalities per capita) prove that this virus does not have a dangerous outcome for most people.  Fatality rates, although not perfect, are the most reliable data.  Death rates are not rising exponentially, but have been at a consistent rate throughout this pandemic.  Check the sources below. 

We should also continue to watch and be conscious of hospitalization increases, although again, many statements have proven to be untrue regarding capacity challenges.  However, it is very important that we continue to watch closely.

I plead with all my fellow elected officials and centers of influence to remember that we have a greater responsibility to promote facts and consider all risks to people, including all health risks and devastating risks to livelihoods.  We should listen to credible sources, but the people elected us to maintain sight of the “big picture” and make policy decisions accordingly.

This virus is not going away anytime soon.  We cannot shut down our lives, but must stay smart and proceed with our lives through it.

 *Source:  Mississippi State Department of Health, July 13, 2020

Desoto County Confirmed Cases Per Capita= .96 of 1% (2009/185,000), 98.91% Not Positive

Desoto County Fatalities Per Capita= .010 of 1% (20/185,000), 99.99% Survival Rate

Mississippi Confirmed Cases Per Capita= 1.23% (36,680/2,976,000), 98.77% Not Positive

Mississippi Fatalities Per Capita= .04 of 1% (1,250/2,976,000), 99.96% Survival Rate