Mississippi gov. says Biden’s vaccine mandate is an ‘attack’ on ‘hard-working Americans’ while the state has the highest per-capita death rate

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves appears with CNN's Jake Tapper.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves called Biden’s effort to mandate vaccines an ‘attack.’ CNN/State of the Union
  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves called Biden’s attempt to mandate vaccines an “attack,”
  • “The reality is this is an attack by the president on hard-working Americans and hard-working Mississippians who he wants to choose between getting a jab in their arm and their ability to feed their families,” he said.
  • Reeves and CNN’s Jake Tapper sparred over the state’s per-capita death rate, which is the highest in the US.
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Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on Sunday said President Joe Biden’s plan to require vaccinations or weekly testing for workers in the US was an “attack” on Americans while Mississippi has the worst death rate from COVID-19 in the US.

“The question here is not about what we do in Mississippi, it’s about what this president is trying to impose on the American worker,” Reeves told CNN’s Jake Tapper during an appearance on “State of the Union.”

“The reality is this is an attack by the president on hard-working Americans and hard-working Mississippians who he wants to choose between getting a jab in their arm and their ability to feed their families,” Reeves added.

The Biden administration earlier this month announced that all federal employees, contractors of federal agencies, and staff at all healthcare facilities that receive federal funding from Medicare or Medicaid would be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

The president also in September announced that all companies in the US with 100 or more employees would be mandated to require vaccinations for their employees or make them undergo weekly testing for COVID-19. The move impacts 80 million American workers, as Insider previously reported.

According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 181 million Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. About 54.5% of the total US population is fully vaccinated for the disease, while 63.4% of Americans have been partially vaccinated for COVID-19.

In Mississippi, just over 1.2 million people have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 – about 41% of the state’s population, according to data from the Mississippi Department of Health.

Reeves defended his COVID-19 mitigation strategy amid the spread of the Delta variant Sunday after Tapper noted the per-capita death rate in the state. The state has the worst per-capita death rate in the US, according to data analyzed by The New York Times. About 310 in every 100,000 people in the state have died of COVID-19, according to the data.

What President Biden is trying to do is save lives,” Tapper said.”Now, you can think that policy or it’s unconstitutional, and that’s fine. We can have that discussion. We already have. But he’s trying to save lives.

“I’m saying to you, your way’s not working. And whether you say it’s a lagging indicator or whatever your argument is, Mississippi now has, if it were its own country, the second-worst per capita death rate in the world, behind only Peru,” he said.

Reeves called the death data a “lagging indicator” and said he had taken action to combat the disease. According to the Times data, new cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi are down 32% over the last 14 days while deaths are up 18%.

“Mississippi has seen a significant uptick in the total number of Mississippians that have gotten the vaccine,” he said. “Our case numbers have fallen dramatically in the last two weeks.”