Blount County Mayor Shares Comparison of Mask and No-Mask Counties in Tennessee


Mayor of Blount County Ed Mitchell took to Facebook last week sharing a comparison of how Tennessee counties have fared under mask and no-mask mandates.

Blount County, which is not under a mask mandate by Mitchell, has Maryville as its county seat and largest city.  It lies in Tennessee’s eastern grand division adjacent to Knox and Sevier counties, both of which have mask mandates in place.

Mitchell’s post comes as positive test results for COVID-19 continue to rise around the country and mayors and governors impose increasingly tighter restrictions and enforcement related to masks and gatherings.

Meanwhile, even under ever-increasing and intense pressure from across the state, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has maintained that decisions related to mask mandates should be made at the local level and that greater compliance is achieved through voluntary efforts.

Mitchell recognized that Blount County is not alone, as the growth in COVID-19 numbers has been seen across the state, nation and world.

Not having implemented a mask mandate in Blount County, Mitchell said, “I want to address some of the concerns that I have received from citizens recently.”

Probably coming under similar pressure to institute a mask mandate, Mitchell said that people have cited a recent Vanderbilt University School of Medicine study that, “on average, Tennessee counties without a mask mandate are seeing a death rate twice as high as those with a mandate.”

Mitchell offered with regard to his commitment to handling the coronavirus, “Since this pandemic began, my office has worked every day to learn more about this virus, review new data, and discuss COVID-19 with both local health officials and regional mayors on almost a daily basis.”

In light of the Vanderbilt study, Mitchell said they looked at numbers in East Tennessee, using population counts from 2019 Census data and COVID-19 data available on the state’s website as of November 18.

BLOUNT COUNTY: No mask mandate

Population: 133,088

Total COVID cases: 4,727, or 3.55% of the County’s population

Total COVID deaths: 49, or 0.04% of the County’s population


KNOX COUNTY: Mask mandate in place

Population: 470,313

Total COVID cases: 16,716, or 3.55% of the County’s population

Total COVID deaths: 126, 0r 0.03% of the County’s population


SEVIER COUNTY: Mask mandate in place

Population: 98,250

Total COVID cases: 4,337, or 4.41% of the County’s population

Total COVID deaths: 27, or 0.03% of the County’s population


ANDERSON COUNTY: No mask mandate

Population: 76,978

Total COVID cases: 2,510, or 3.26% of the County’s population

Total COVID deaths: 25, or 0.03% of the County’s population


COCKE COUNTY: No mask mandate

Population: 36,004

Total COVID cases: 1448, or 4.13% of the County’s population

Total COVID deaths: 26, or 0.07% of the County’s population


ROANE COUNTY: No mask mandate

Population: 54,181

Total COVID cases: 2,084, or 3.85% of the County’s population

Total COVID deaths: 19, or 0.04% of the County’s population


HAMBLEN COUNTY: Mask mandate in place

Population: 64,934

Total COVID cases: 3,109, or 4.79% of the County’s population

Total COVID deaths: 56, or 0.09% of the County’s population


DAVIDSON COUNTY: Mask mandate in place

Population: 694,144

Total COVID cases: 39,122, or 5.64% of the County’s population

Total COVID deaths: 391, or 0.06% of the County’s population


SHELBY COUNTY: Mask mandate in place

Population: 937,166

Total COVID cases: 44,102, or 4.71% of the County’s population

Total COVID deaths: 623, or 0.07% of the County’s population


WILLIAMSON COUNTY: Mask mandate in place

Population: 238,412

Total COVID cases: 9,993, or 4.19% of the County’s population

Total COVID deaths: 69, or 0.03% of the County’s population


RUTHERFORD COUNTY: Mask mandate in place

Population: 332,285

Total COVID cases: 15,857, or 4.77% of the County’s population

Total COVID deaths: 139, or 0.04% of the County’s population


While Mitchell drew no conclusions about the data, even the casual observer will note that for the most part counties with mask mandates in place are not faring any better than those without and, instead, are worse off.

Mitchell did say that at a press conference by Lee as well as recent White House calls with state and local officials, colder weather is driving more household gatherings indoors and contributing to rising case counts.

According to Mitchell, “Contact tracing is showing that these small gatherings at people’s private residences are the source of much of Tennessee’s recent increase in cases.”

As Mitchell points out, “Mask mandates and gathering limitations do not prohibit folks from gathering at their own homes.”

And, if prolonged contact in intimate home environments has contributed to an increase in positive tests, that fact belies the usefulness of mask mandates for short and transactional activities in public places.

Mitchell acknowledges the increase in cases and says, “It is true that many people are relaxing far too much in the face of the growing threat of this pandemic.”

Throughout his Facebook narrative, there is no sense that Mitchell does not take COVID-19 seriously.  In fact, the coronavirus is personal for him, as his wife was reported to have tested positive over the summer.

Throughout the pandemic, Mitchell has expressed concern about executive branches overstepping their power and has encouraged personal responsibility.  He reiterated in his post last week, “at the end of the day, it is up to each person to embrace personal responsibility and make the wisest decisions that we can.”

Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Tennessee Star.
Photo “Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell” by Blount County and “Blount County Courthouse” by Brian Stansberry CC3.0.






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12 Thoughts to “Blount County Mayor Shares Comparison of Mask and No-Mask Counties in Tennessee”

  1. A Free Human

    Masks are about authoritarianism more than anything else. You’re in a bizarre slave masking ritual by being forced to do something that doesn’t stop a virus. Are you free or are you a slave? Blount County’s mayor should be commended for treating the people as free citizens – which they are supposed to be. This is not the Soviet Union, people! Not to mention the fact that this overreaction to corona is astonishing. 99.7% survival rate and liberals are living in sheer terror. This isn’t Ebola, for God’s sake. Even if it was Ebola, this is a free country. You are not slaves nor a herd of sheep. If that is who you are or aspire to be (a slave or a sheep) then California and New York welcome you.

  2. Jay

    Sad but true if only Trump had said “wear a mask “ there would be zero mandate.

  3. JG2284

    Tennessee stands video on Gov Lee’s unconstitutional emergency powers and mask mandates by local authorities:

  4. LM

    People who take COVID-19 seriously don’t subscribe to the lie that masks are effective at preventing its spread. What a mask does is give people a false sense of security so that more people contract the virus. I hope Vanderbilt has some actually useful demographics to back up their seemingly casual observation about mark use and death rates- like overall age and health of those counties’ populations- just to name a couple.

  5. Horatio Bunce

    Wrong. Masks don’t work against virus transmission. They never did. If they did, why did the masks all simultaneously stop working in the end of September/beginning of October? Look at the state Coronahoax dashboard. Ramp up of positive “cases” consistent regardless of urban/rural county or mask mandates. Fortunately, the positive “cases” are not resulting in the same ramp of deaths almost two months later. The Coronahoax test ramp is not correlating with the death data – or deaths are not due to Coronahoax – despite the monetary bribes and 2020 changes to death certificate rules by CDC.

    Ramp coincides with flu shot roll-out. Influenza-like-illness coincides with “flu season” which coincides with flu shot roll-out. Flu shots shown to give a 36% greater chance of contracting another respiratory virus (plus they don’t prevent flu infection/transmission). See DOD study from 2019 on military personnel:

    CDC after this data is known, recommends high dose flu shots for age 65+ (four times the normal dose). Flu shots therefore enhance respiratory virus infection and spread. Masks don’t prevent an infection that was injected into your arm.

  6. Julie

    Seems to be in line with the Danish mask study in terms of comparison of mask/no mask and rate of infection (2% both groups in that study). It is not hard to manipulate data in research studies, and what we have seen with this “pandemic” is that there is more political science involved than actual science. I no longer have faith in these institutions to identify bias in their research or speak to omissions or other manipulation in their research papers. It is great that this mayor shared the data he was looking at and justification for no mandate.

  7. Jill Walker

    Has it occurred to anyone that doctors are lying about the diagnosis. COVID stands for certification of vaccine ID. If doctors are gertting paid to say it’s Covid when it’s just a bad cold or a flu, then how can we trust any statistics especially when many believe that the whole thing was foisted on this nation, in particular, so China could take us over? What if it was all part of an elaborate scheme that democrats thought would win them the WH? Add to that legitimate claims of voter fraud and you have a horrid poltical cocktail that has cost many lives.

    1. Pam M

      Do you people realize how ridiculous you sound? There’s no proof of voter fraud & doctors are not fudging coronavirus death statistics. Apparently you’re one of the many americans who’s been completely brainwashed for years by conservative talk radio, media outlets & pundits like #FauxNews, OANN, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Breitbart News, Drudge Report, War Room, America’s Voice, The First, Newsmax, Daily Caller, Daily Wire, Gateway Pundit, InfoWars, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Matt Drudge, Andrew Breitbart, Mark Levin, Joe Pags Pagliarulo, Steve Bannon, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Jeanine Pirro, Lou Dobbs, Bill O’Reilly, Brit Hume, Brian Kemp, Jesse Watters, Geraldo Rivera, Laura Ingraham, Dinesh D’Souza Dan Bongino, Tomi Lahren, Ann Coulter, Ben Shapiro, Paul Joseph Watson, Jack Posobiec, Ryan Saavedra, Steven Crowder, Mark Dice, Charlie Kirk, Candace Owens, Mike Cernovich, Laura Loomer, Gavin McInnes, Lauren Southern, James Woods, Alex Jones & many more which definitely now includes #QAnon. Everyone should watch”The Brainwashing Of My Dad”, especially anyone still supporting that evil, lying, narcissistic megalomaniac #TraitorTrump

      1. Bill Chunko

        Nice list you have there Pam. Did you get it from your handlers in the dnc?

      2. tfhr

        Pam is keeping a list for later.

      3. Kal Bo

        What a frigging moron you are, Pam. Locate a red scarf and report to the nearest vacant doorknob, knob.

      4. Patrick

        Pam, how are you so dumb? I bet you even have a toilet paper college degree, a couple kids whose minds you are poisoning and been divorced a couple times and can’t figure out why. Go find a liberal state to infect