Ordinarily, part of my nightly ritual, at or near midnight, is typing "Mi" in my URL line, going to the phrase, "Mississippi coronavirus," and seeing how many new cases and deaths the virus has caused for the day, in my county, my state, my nation and around the planet. I live in Coahoma County, where we have one hospital, and yesterday 16 new cases of Covid-19 were reported, with no new deaths.
We are a small county, and the few people you see here on the street nowadays are wearing masks. I can not say that Coahoma County has the coronavirus under control, but as the New Year begins, we are also not losing people every day.
Besides agriculture, Clarksdale, the well-known Ground Zero of the Blues, depends significantly on the blues-tourist business, and on public gatherings like our internationally attended Juke Joint, Sunflower and other Festivals. Like such public gatherings in other counties and states around the nation, ours were almost completely cancelled.
The only public gathering that I attended all year here in Clarksdale was a Black Lives Matter event, which the Mayor and our State Representative and State Senator also spoke at. And, especially with the failure (so far) of the federal and state governments to work together to get the vaccines to the states, to the counties, and in people's arms, we don't know whether, or more realistically, how long, our community will have to continue to hunker down in basically mass unemployment.
According to the Northside Sun,
Mississippi's unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in November, 2020 -- down a full percentage point from October's 2020 rate of 7.4 percent. This was slightly better than the national unemployment rate of 6.7 percent. Mississippi's rate a year ago, November 2019, was 5.6 percent.
However, the rate in our county is 14.1%, and that has gone on so long-- since April at least-- that the number does not include those who have given up the possibility of finding employment in our pandemic-devastated community. Our rate is undoubtedly significantly higher.
There are glimmers of hope, besides the imminent (at least, after January 20) widespread ramping up of vaccinations. Mid-South Chiropractic Clinic, a consortium of professional, and youngish, chiropractors, has established here back in the late summer.
I asked one of the partners how they could afford to come here with the city short on money due to the coronavirus. She answered, "because the need is so widespread."
I am part of that musical community. I am known internationally as Watermelon Slim, a musical and cultural ambassador of the Blues.
I have plenty to be thankful for, here in Mississippi, at 71; I own my own tiny home free and clear, and can afford to feed myself and my dog. But If I didn't have Social Security and Medicare Parts A and B, I'd be in as rough shape as I know many of my younger neighbors are.
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).