Roses and thorns: 4-5-20




A rose to Columbus mayor Robert Smith, who moved quickly to protect public health when a potential threat emerged. Wednesday evening, the mayor instructed the police chief to investigate a tip that an employee at the Lowe's home improvement store had tested positive for COVID-19. When store officials confirmed the story, the mayor ordered the store temporarily closed. After meeting with Lowe's officials -- whom the mayor said were cooperative -- the store was closed Thursday for a "deep cleaning" and reopened Friday morning. Under local and state orders, many businesses have been allowed to remain open, with the understanding that they must comply with CDC guidelines. Without enforcement, there is a danger they can be neglected. We hope it will serve to keep business owners vigilant in adhering to these rules, for the sake of employees and customers alike.



A thorn to Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach whose tweet containing an image of a noose brought embarrassment to the university and its football program, including criticism from within the program. In the face of the backlash, Leach deleted the tweet and issued a less-than-reassuring apology: "I sincerely regret if my choice of images in my tweets were found offensive," he wrote. There's no "if" to it, coach. In a state where such images are a particularly painful reminder of our state's sordid past, there should be no ambiguity whatsoever about the such conduct. Do better.




A rose to Dr. LouAnn Woodard, vice chancellor at University of Mississippi Medical Center, whose email to Gov. Tate Reeves urging him to enact at state-wide shelter in place order appears to have been the tipping point. For more than a week, Reeves had resisted calls to implement the order. In fact, as recently as the day before Reeves changed course and issued the order, he maintained the state would take a county-by-county approach. Woodard's letter pulled no punches. "As the CEO of the organization that will bear the brunt of the fallout, I need to speak my mind," Woodward wrote in the email: "Without a statewide 'shelter in place' starting very soon ... our health system will be overwhelmed." Within hours, Reeves had issued his two-week shelter at home order, which started Friday. We applaud Woodard for using her position to influence policy.



A rose to Mississippi State University, which has donated more than 700 N95 masks to OCH Regional Medical Center, increasing the hospital's total inventory of the mask by a third. The MSU Aerospace Engineering Department donated 680 masks, with another 25 masks coming from the National Wildlife Research Center, boosting the hospital's supply of masks to about 2,100. The donation again affirms the symbiotic relationship between the university and its host community. We applaud the university for stepping up to fill this important need.




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