Many in North Mississippi say they’re masking up but waiting to get vaccinated

NORTH MISSISSIPPI — As COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations continue to spike across Mississippi, the state’s health officer said Wednesday people need to mask up and get vaccinated and get tested if exposed.

Some Mississippians are doing some of that in one of the least vaccinated states in the nation.

Panola County’s Michael Henderson said he has worn a mask from the start.

”As far as the mask I have been wearing my mask since the coronavirus started last year,” Henderson said.

A lot of people we talked to in North Mississippi said they wear the mask consistently. The same folks said they haven’t gotten the shot yet.

”Well, the reason with the vaccination is because they made it so quick, and a lot of people are just scared of it. Like I wasn’t scared of it. I never said I wasn’t going to take it, but I just wanted to get more information on it,” Henderson said.

David Billingsley didn’t have a mask on when we met him, but he says he normally does. He even showed us the masks he wears that he keeps in his truck. He said he also intends to get vaccinated. He just hasn’t gotten around to it.

”No, sir. I have not. I have not. Well, I am going to the hospital in a week to get some work done, and they are going to vaccinate me to start, and I talked to my doctor, and I have been scheduled to get that done,” Billingsley said.

Billingsley says he agrees with what the state is advising. He just hasn’t done it yet.

”Well, sir, I really wish that this thing would go away, and if that is what it is going to take, that is what we need to do,” he said.

According to some people we talked to in Mississippi, the unknowns surrounding the Delta variant and the fact that it is more contagious is driving more to consider getting vaccinated.

COVID-19 cases have been proliferating in Mississippi in recent weeks because of the delta variant. The Mississippi State Department of Health reported 1,908 new cases Thursday. New case numbers the past few days have been comparable to those reported in February before vaccinations were widely available.