Fraternity parties in Mississippi have continued this summer, and as a result Covid-19 cases have too, the state’s health officer said Thursday.
Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs announced 381 new cases and five additional deaths in a press conference on Thursday. Quite a few patients have been linked to fraternity rush parties, said Dobbs, also an associate professor at the University of Mississippi medical school in Oxford.
“We recently have identified a cluster of cases and outbreaks in Oxford, Mississippi,” Dobbs said. Early information suggests the fraternities have violated state guidelines with the number of people they have gathered at parties, Dobbs said.
Adherence to social distancing over the summer break has been “overwhelmingly disappointing” and has made him extremely concerned about what the fall may have in store.
Dobbs added that there are efforts to try to prepare for a surge of cases in the fall which he said “seems quite likely.”
That resurgence is made even more worrisome by the fact that the state’s healthcare system is already under stress, Dobbs said. There are 465 hospitalized patients, 159 people in intensive care units
and 100 on ventilators in the state, he said.
Large gatherings are a concern for many health experts nationwide as they anticipate another surge in cases.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold a large campaign rally Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where coronavirus cases are rising.
Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at George Washington University, told CNN’s Erin Burnett that social distancing will be near impossible at the rally and county health officials should shut it down.
In Florida, a group of 16 friends all tested positive after spending a birthday all together at a crowded bar.
“I feel foolish, it’s too soon,” one of the friends Erika Crisp told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Tuesday.