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7/24/20 - COVID Strains Health Care System | School Start Delays | REFORM Alliance

State officials continue to express concerns over a hospital system on the brink of crisis as the state faces it’s worst month of the pandemic.

Then, the unceasing trend of high cases and hospitalizations has some school administrators and lawmakers going against the grain.

Plus, a national prison reform group has its eyes on Mississippi following the Governor’s veto of a comprehensive reform bill.

Segment 1:

Mississippi's hospitals remain on the brink of crisis as the steady trend of high cases usher in the worst month of the pandemic in the state. After reporting 27,900 between March 11th and June 30th, the state has added over 20,000 in July, shooting the cumulative total to over 48,053 cases. 18 - 29 year olds represent the most infected demographic, with a growing number of cases in those even younger. Governor Tate Reeves says that while cases in this age range are less likely to result in death, they can serve as transmitters to those who are more vulnerable. 

Widespread transmission also continues to put a strain on the Mississippi's health care system. Dr. Thomas Dobbs is the state's health officer. He says there are holes in the narrative that cases are up because testing has increased. He affirms cases are up because residents are sick. He says in addition to the hard data, there is anecdotal evidence in the parking lots of urgent care centers.

Segment 2:

As the new school year approaches, school communities in Mississippi are getting similar messages from national and state-wide leaders - children need to be in the classroom. But that message is getting more resistance has the state, and much of the country, faces its worst period of COVID transmission to date.

Representative Tom Miles, a Democrat from Forest, recently requested the Mississippi Department of Education delay all instruction until after Labor Day. He tells our Desare Frazier he is hearing concerns from constituents. At least one school district is electing to wait until after the Labor Day holiday to resume. Madison County Schools announced earlier this week it will not resume classes until September 3rd. We talk to MCS Superintendent Charlotte Seals.

Segment 3:

Mississippi's prison system was a top priority heading into the new legislative session in January. Earlier this month, after a months-long hiatus due to the pandemic, lawmakers passed what they hoped would be a comprehensive prison reform bill. That bill was vetoed by Governor Tate Reeves. Now, REFORM Alliance, a national prison reform group associated with hip-hop artist Jay-Z, is speaking out. Jessica Jackson is their Chief Advocacy Officer.

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9/18/2020

9/18/20 - Operation Pheonecia | AT&T Subpoenas | Student Leadership During COVID

A Mississippi U.S. Attorney announces a new campaign against domestic violence.Then, the Public Service Commission subpoenas telecom giant AT&T over questions regarding broadband expansion in the state.Plus, how student leaders at two of Mississippi's public universities are serving as liaisons between administration and the student body in the effort to keep campus safe during a pandemic.Segment 1:Families are staying home more during the coronavirus pandemic, and officials say this has led to a rise in domestic violence. In 2019, more than 10,000 calls were made to Mississippi law enforcement to report cases of domestic violence. U.S. Attorney of Mississippi's Southern District, Mike Hurst says domestic violence continues to be an area of concern that has risen during the coronavirus pandemic."Operation Pheonecia", which will work towards removing guns from the hands of abusers, is named after Pheonecia Ratliff of Canton, who was killed by her ex boyfriend after reporting him for domestic violence.Her mother, Suzanne Ratliff, offers advice to people facing domestic violence with our Kobee Vance.Segment 2:Major telecommunications conglomerate AT&T has agreed to provide the state of Mississippi records detailing how it used the almost $284 million it was paid by the federal government to expand internet access in the state. Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley said AT&T initially denied requests last week for records related to work it completed in the state to provide fixed wireless service access through the Connect America Fund.Earlier this week he spoke with our Desare Frazier, saying his office is charged with ensuring the work is done.Segment 3:A close eye is being turned to college campuses this fall as students are resuming in-person learning.College students usually exhibit a level of independence and freedom often not reserved for their K-12 peers, which has led to concerns from health officials over the potential for widespread community transmission of COVID-19 on university campuses.They worry the social element of college life could lead to behaviors and practices that could cause outbreaks. To combat this, university administrators are leaning on student leadership to develop and communicate safety plans. We talk to Sarah Helen Skelton of Mississippi State and Joshua Mannery of the University of Mississippi.
9/17/2020

9/17/20 - Flu Fighters | MADD 40th | Book Club: Ted Jackson

A coalition of health professionals are sending a united message to Mississippians to fight the flu.Then, Mothers Against Drunk Driving turns 40.We look back with their national President and discuss new initiatives the group is pursuing.Plus, in today’s book club … A remarkable story that began thirty years ago in Ted Jackson’s new book, “You Ought to Do A Story About Me.”Segment 1:A coalition of doctors and associations called 'Flu Fighters' is uniting to urge Mississippians to get their flu shot.Flu season begins in October, but doctors say now is the time to get a flu shot. Dr. Mark Horne, President of the Mississippi State Medical Association, tells our Kobee Vance viruses like the flu or coronavirus lower immunity to other illnesses, which could lead to severe outcomes for patients.Experts say that wearing masks and social distancing will help reduce transmission of the flu, but the virus still poses a serious risk because of the coronavirus.Dr. John Gaudet is President of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.He says young children and older adults are the most at risk for severe outcomes from the flu, and measures should be taken to avoid a "twindemic".Segment 2:Mothers Against Drunk Driving - more commonly known as MADD - is celebrating the 40th Anniversary of its founding.The organization has long-served to humanize the tragedies associated with impaired driving, and is releasing a new survey that measures the American public’s attitudes and knowledge about the impact of marijuana on traffic safety. According to the survey, one in eight U.S. adults admits to having driven under the influence of marijuana.President Helen Witty joins us to reflect on MADD's origins and how the group is facing the evolving issue of impaired driving.Segment 3:Ted Jackson has been a photojournalist with the New Orleans Times Picayune for the last 36 years.The Pulitzer Prize winner is a McComb native and alum of The University of Southern Mississippi.Thirty years ago he took a picture of a homeless man that led to a revelation, redemption and his new book, “You Ought to Do A Story About Me.”
9/16/2020

9/16/20 - Sally Comes Ashore | Jackson County EMA | Southern Remedy Health Minute | Mask Effectiveness

Sally comes ashore east of the Mississippi-Alabama state line. We examine the threats the storm still presents the coastal counties as it moves out.Then, Jackson county has been hammered with rain from Sally over the last 24 hours. We check in with their locale emergency manager.Plus, after a Southern Remedy Health Minute, state health officials weigh in on the effectiveness of masks.Segment 1:For days, Hurricane Sally has been threatening the Mississippi Coast as it churned in the waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico.Now, it appears that threat is over.Sally officially made landfall this morning near Gulf Shores, Alabama after strengthening overnight to a Category 2 storm with winds topping 100 miles per hour.But the slow pace of the storm could still require residents along the coast and in eastern Mississippi to be weather-aware.Segment 2:For the Mississippi Gulf Coast, hurricane season is a time of hyper-awareness and preparation.Jackson County in the southeastern corner of the state, was forecast to be hit by some of the most severe elements of Hurricane Sally when the state began preparing for the storm last weekend.But as the storm ticked east, the county was spared some from the worst.Still, as Emergency Services Director Earl Etheridge tells our Michael Guidry, the county was hit with winds strong enough to down trees and cause power outages.Segment 3:Southern Remedy Health MinuteSegment 4:Mississippians will be required to wear masks through the end of September following Governor Tate Reeves' decision to extended his pandemic-related executive order.The state has seen a downward trend in coronavirus cases since mandate was issued in August.State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers says mask-wearing could still be in integral part of fighting transmission even as vaccines are developed.State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs has long supported the wearing of masks.He says new studies are being conducted that examine micro-exposure - which could further prove the effectiveness of masks.