Masks still a tough sell for some in Tennessee

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The plea to wear masks is often now an economic argument from many state and local officials, but it remains a tough sell in some spots.

“Failure to wear a mask puts our economy at risk,” said the head of Nashville’s coronavirus task force as the state and city once hit record one-day highs within 24-hours.

Dr. Alex Jahangir added that “The faster we get this virus under control the faster we can open our economy.”

But are his words–and downtown flashing signs urging mask wearing–heeded in the heart of music city’s entertainment district?

The area has been hurt bad by the economic shutdown due to COVID-19, but it’s also part of a new hot-spot showing a concentration of virus cases.

Some talked to by WKRN-TV seemed to get part of the message.

“As soon as we get on one of these buses, we’ll put a mask on,” said Tampa, FL tourist Gary Ancer. “What do you think COVID is just floating around your head right now?”

Some researchers said the virus can do just that–lingering minutes from a carrier.

A WKRN bar graph in blue using state department of health numbers shows the dramatic rise in positive COVID-19 cases since the march outbreak peaking at over 65,000 cases on Monday. 

A graph in red shows the record rise in daily cases since then including Monday’s number over 3-thousand.

“Our problem in Tennessee is whether we are willing to do what we know works,” said Nashville state Senator Jeff Yarbo during a video conference on Tuesday.

Another Democrat state senator pointed to some science behind the masks during the video conference.

If 95-percent of folks wore masks, our infection rates and death rates would plummet,” said Memphis Senator Raumesh Akbari. “That’s from the University of Washington. Its not something we are making up.”

Her reference was to a study from the university in the backyard of where U.S. cases were first reported this winter.

While the mask issue is a plea from many, it still divides the country and Tennessee.  

The Democrats once again said more contact tracers should be hired and trained by the state.

They suggested some of those part of Tennessee’s record unemployment would be available.

COVID-19 in Tennessee

(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )

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