Dr. Thomas Dobbs said that at a press conference earlier this month, to highlight the rising number of coronavirus case–and the increasingly bleak outlook.
Dobbs posited that since many of the state’s White communities weren’t hit as hard during the first wave of COVID-19 infections over the summer, they may not have adopted preventative measures such as wearing face masks and social distancing.
“As far as the case trends, we have had really pretty good uptake by a lot of folks in the Black community with masking and social distancing,” state health officer Dobbs had told reporters on October 16, when asked about an uptick in White cases. “We’ve worked very aggressively to make sure that the Black community understands where the risks are and what can be done to prevent that.
“And I just will say … I think big parts of the White community, especially in areas that maybe weren’t as hard-affected (previously), have not been as compliant or engaged actively with social distancing and masking. And I think that does make a difference.”
At the beginning of the health crisis, Black people in Mississippi made up about 60% of the state’s cases and deaths, according to the state health department.
With the increase of White people becoming afflicted with the virus, Whites surpassed Black people in Mississippi’s overall reported COVID-19 death toll around September 21. This was the first time since the state health department started publishing data by race in June.