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6.17.20 – JACKSON, Miss. (AP)

Mississippi reported one of its largest single-day increases in cases of the new coronavirus on Wednesday, more than two weeks after Republican Gov. Tate Reeves lifted most of the restrictions he had put on businesses because of the pandemic.

“I’m concerned that people are losing interest in the effort to keep each other safe,” Reeves said Wednesday on Twitter. “We are all tired and ready to be done, but the virus doesn’t care. Please be on your guard — small efforts have a big impact!”ADVERTISEMENT

The governor has asked people to wear masks in public, but he has not required it in most places.

The state Health Department said Wednesday that Mississippi has had at least 20,641 cases and 938 deaths from the coronavirus as of Tuesday evening. That was an increase of 489 cases and 23 deaths from the numbers reported a day earlier; the deaths include 16 that occurred between May 23 and June 11, with information from death certificates arriving later. Mississippi has a population of about 3 million.

Reeves called the increase of 489 cases “a large number by any measure.”

The number of coronavirus infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. For others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.

The Health Department said Tuesday at least 2,226 cases of the virus have been confirmed in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, with at least 477 virus-related deaths in those facilities.


Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.