As of Friday night, members of the Metro Nashville Board of Health did not say specifically why they voted in favor of mandating face coverings or face masks in public to combat COVID-19.
Board members did not answer The Tennessee Star’s emailed questions about the matter before Friday’s stated deadline.
• What medical evidence did the officials involved in this decision cite that proves the efficacy of masks in preventing transmission of COVD-19?
• What is the data on cases, hospitalizations, and death rates to which they point as a reason for the mandate?
• What is the legal authority for the mask mandate?
• What is the enforcement mechanism?
Board members met late Friday afternoon to vote on the matter, according to the county government’s website.
Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson seemed to suggest on his Twitter feed that face masks or coverings do not successfully combat COVID-19.
Can Team Mask please explain Brazil? Face diapers have been required in many cities and provinces since April – two months – and where #Covid is spreading uncontrolled. As with lockdowns, there is just no coherent real-world evidence masks work as anything but social control. pic.twitter.com/mMxnI2htpy
— Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) June 24, 2020
“Can Team Mask please explain Brazil” Berenson said in one Tweet.
“Face diapers have been required in many cities and provinces since April – two months – and where #Covid is spreading uncontrolled. As with lockdowns, there is just no coherent real-world evidence masks work as anything but social control.”
In another tweet, Berenson retweeted information that the Danish Health Authority put out saying it “does not encourage healthy individuals who go about their daily business to wear mouth or face masks.”
As we all know, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden are bigly red states, Trump supporters all the way. Otherwise why would their health authorities possibly question masks? https://t.co/7StdlAUGa3
— Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) June 25, 2020
“It is uncertain that they have any effect on virus transmission,” the Danish Health Authority officials said in a flyer.
The flyer went on to say that “mouth or face masks can cause more harm than good.”
“For one thing you have to know how to use a mask correctly and how to dispose of it responsibly,” the flyer said.
“Incorrect use of a mouth or face mask can increase the risk of your hands being contaminated with the virus when you e.g. remove or correct the mouth/face mask, thereby increasing the risk of contact spread.”
Members of the Metro Nashville Board of Health scheduled an emergency meeting Friday to deliberate whether to mandate people wear face coverings or masks in public.
This, according to the county government’s website.
Metro Coronavirus Task Force Chair Alex Jahangir called the meeting, according to Nashville Public Radio.
“Disagreement has surfaced in recent days between Mayor John Cooper, who wants to mandate masks for everyone, and the director of Metro Health, Dr. Michael Caldwell. Caldwell has said he is trying to avoid a backlash and doesn’t want to add to the ‘tension’ by imposing a rule that would be impossible to enforce,” according to the station.
“Dr. Jahangir, who also chairs the city’s coronavirus task force, has called it a ‘difference of opinion.’ But he confirms to WPLN News that he was responsible for calling the emergency meeting to debate a public health order. In recent days, public health officials across Tennessee have pleaded with residents to wear masks as one of the last ways to stop the continued spread of the virus without reverting to restrictions on daily life.”
As The Tennessee Star reported this week, Cooper announced Nashville entered Phase Three of a four-phased plan to reopen the city after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. This, despite Nashville officials saying they have tallied higher numbers of the virus.
“Our 14-day case average is trending upward, but our testing capacity continues to increase, and more than 81,000 Nashvillians have received a COVID-19 test across Davidson County. We currently have 125 contact tracing investigators, well above our target of 105. Our health care capacity remains in good shape,” Cooper said.
“We currently have 27 percent of floor beds and 24 percent of ICU beds available at our local hospitals. And that all exceeds our target for 20 percent for both of these vital resources. Like our neighbors in other states and cities, our public health experts have determined that our COVID-19 public health benchmarks remain within an acceptable range to safely begin Phase Three.”
Nashville officials plan to keep the city in Phase Three for at least four weeks, Cooper said.
– – –