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Mississippi's Gov hits back at Biden's 'neanderthal thinking' jibe

Mississippi's Republican Governor Tate Reeves has lashed out at President Joe Biden over his 'neanderthal thinking' jibe, saying his decision to drop COVID-19 restrictions was driven by data. 

Reeves said Biden's 'insults' about his state fully reopening wouldn't stop him from 'leaning towards freedom'.

He announced earlier this week that Mississippi would join Texas in dropping all COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandates. 

The move was criticized by Biden who said it was a 'big mistake' and that the last thing the US needed was 'neanderthal thinking'.

Reeves promptly hit back, saying the residents of his state didn't need a handler to tell them what to do. 

Mississippi's Republican Governor Tate Reeves has lashed out at President Joe Biden over his 'neanderthal thinking' jibe, saying his decision to drop COVID-19 restrictions was driven by data

'President Biden said allowing Mississippians to decide how to protect themselves is 'neanderthal thinking',' Reeves tweeted. 

'Mississippians don't need handlers. As numbers drop, they can assess their choices and listen to experts. I guess I just think we should trust Americans, not insult them.'

Texas Governor Greg Abbott also hit out at Biden, saying the Lone Star state was ready to safely open up 100 percent.

'We are able to contain COVID and safely allow Texas to open 100%,' Abbott said. 

'Today... Texas has the lowest COVID hospitalizations since October 24th. The positivity rate is the lowest since October 14th - and has steadily declined for 2 straight months. We gave a daily record of vaccinations: 229,490. In the last week we gave 1,220,577 vaccine shots.' 

Some of Abbott's own medical experts on his COVID-19 task force say they weren't directly consulted about the move to remove the mask mandate in Texas. 

'I don't think this is the right time,' Dr. Mark McClellan, a former commissioner of the FDA and director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University, told the Texas Tribune. 

MISSISSIPPI CASES: The number of daily cases in Mississippi plunged in January and February. The state has seen a slight uptick in cases over the last week

MISSISSIPPI: Diners are pictured above in a St Louis restaurant in Mississippi on the same day COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in the state. Photo courtesy of WWLTV

'Texas has been making some real progress, but it's too soon for full reopening and to stop masking around others.' 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott also hit out at Biden, saying the Lone Star state was ready to safely open up 100 percent

Another adviser, Dr John Hellerstedt, who is commissioner of the state Department of State Health Services, confirmed he did not consult directly with Abbott on the reopening but said he agreed with the governor.

'I think the difference is, should you wear a mask? The answer is absolutely yes,' Hellerstedt told the House Public Health Committee on Wednesday. 

'Does the governor want folks to wear a mask and to take their own personal responsibility to do it? The answer, I believe, is yes.' 

It comes as Dr Anthony Fauci said on Thursday that Texas and Mississippi residents should still abide by public health measures, including wearing masks, even after their Republican governors dropped all COVID-19 restrictions to fully reopen their states. 

'My strong advice to them would be to continue to implement the public health measures,' he told MSNBC's Morning Joe. 

TEXAS CASES: The seven-day rolling average of cases in Texas has dropped to about 7,600, down from more than 10,000 in mid-February. Texas has seen a slight uptick in cases over the last week

TEXAS: Texas Tech students watch Texas Tech and TCU play during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lubbock, Texas on Tuesday

'Now is not the time to pull back.

'I would advise the people of Texas and Mississippi to just abide by the public health measures we talk about all the time.'  

In a separate interview with CNN, Fauci said the decision to drop restrictions was 'explicable' given the number of daily infections are not yet low enough to pull back all public health measures.   

'I don't know why they're doing it... from a public health standpoint it's ill-advised,' he said.  

'We've been to this scene before months and months ago when we tried to open up the country and open up the economy. When certain states didn't abide by the guidelines, we had rebounds that were very troublesome,' Fauci said. 

'What we don't need right now is another surge. 

'Pulling back on all the public health guidelines that we know work, it's just inexplicable.'   

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