As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased this month, more Tennessee counties are re-issuing mask mandates. Tennessee has nearly 250,000 confirmed cases, 88 percent of which have recovered.
Montgomery County issued the most recent mask mandate and state of emergency on Tuesday. Other counties that re-issued these orders include Williamson, Wilson, Rutherford, and Sumner. These mask mandates adhere to guidelines issued under Governor Bill Lee.
Several citizens groups protested the mandates in Franklin and Knoxville last weekend. These instances of community pushback are examples of the budding “pandemic fatigue” across the nation. Additionally, health experts speculate that fatigue is partly to blame for the nationwide spike in cases.
One of the groups, Tennessee Stands, intends to hold another mask mandate protest this Friday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study several months ago in which a majority of individuals who reported “always” wearing masks either tested positive for COVID-19 or negative with some other respiratory illness. The study didn’t address the possible effects of mask hygiene worsening exposure to COVID-19 or other respiratory illness.
The White House first declared a national state of emergency for COVID-19 on March 13. November will mark eight months of government-imposed shutdowns, coronavirus-related mandates, and socioeconomic strains.
Less than a week later, Davidson County declared its own state of emergency. Since then, Mayor John Cooper has upheld rigorous mandates and orders that have left many businesses floundering. The city’s resulting financial straits moved Cooper to declare a 32 percent property tax increase. A court battle over a ballot referendum revoking the tax hike is ongoing.
Even so, the mayor and the city have increased expenditures. Just last week, city council affirmed the creation of two diversity and equity positions supported by Cooper that may cost over $250,000 annually.
A growing number of voters are protesting Cooper’s authority and petitioning to recall him.
Lee is scheduled to extend county mayors’ authority to issue mask mandates. Early reports from the governor’s office say the extension will likely last until the end of the year.
– – –