“At the moment I’m fine – no symptoms,” Parson said in a recorded message on Facebook. The first lady is showing mild symptoms, the governor said.
Coronavirus cases are on the rise in Missouri, where nearly 117,000 cases and nearly 2,000 deaths have now been recorded, according to the Washington Post tracker. A September 13 report by the White House Coronavirus Task Force received by KCUR said the state had the fourth highest rate of new cases in the country by population.
During the pandemic, Parson has often resisted calls for tougher action from health professionals.
In March, the governor declined to issue a stay at home order in Missouri. He said social distancing rules and the ban on large gatherings were sufficient. The next month, in the face of mounting pressure as more than 30 states passed similar orders, Parson issued one. However, some health professionals called Parson̵
In May, Parson, along with four other Republican governors in the region, wrote a statement for The Post promoting their effectiveness in keeping the economy open and maintaining low infection rates.
“The Plains States handled this emergency exceptionally well through many measures,” wrote the governors. “The experiences of our states provide collective evidence that a unified approach is not the best way to address specific circumstances.”
In July, Parson criticized local governments for closing recreational facilities for children and called for schools to be reopened with face-to-face tuition. The governor told KFTK radio host Marc Cox he was not concerned about students contracting the virus.
“You have the lowest possible risk,” said Parson. “And if they get Covid-19, which is what they will – and if they go to school – they won’t go to the hospitals. You don’t have to sit in a doctor’s office. You will go home and get over it. “
In a response, the Missouri Democratic Party noted that children can transmit the virus to older relatives. “Mike Parson said today that if every child in Missouri gets COVID-19 and passes it on to their family members, he will be fine,” the statement said. “There is no place in our policy for such ruthless disregard for Missourian lives.”
Parson has also decided not to establish a nationwide mask mandate, which was among the recommendations of the White House’s coronavirus task force on how to reduce his state’s infection rate. Sixteen states do not have statewide mask mandates.
Parson has encouraged Missourians to wear masks and maintain social distance. “I don’t want anyone to think I’m against the mask because that’s not the case,” Parson told KFTK. “I just don’t think it’s the government’s job to tell everyone to do this.”
However, critics note that Parson did not follow his own advice consistently. In July, he tweeted pictures from an indoor event where he was not wearing a mask and standing around other people. A picture also showed him grilling steaks without gloves or mask.
In August, the governor did not wear a mask when speaking at the Missouri State Fair, along with the majority of the crowd members who were also not socially distant.
Parson isn’t the first governor to test positive for the virus. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R) caught the virus in July. Stitt has also stated that he would not prescribe masks.