TN Politics: Mixed Signals on COVID Underscore Need to Mask Up

Nov 20, 2020

Screenshot from latest State ad targeting rural communities that have been reluctant to embrace mask wearing.

Just ahead of Thanksgiving, Shelby County health officials are taking a closer look at the so-called data-driven "tripwires" that could lead to new restrictions in places where people gather, from restaurants and gyms to sporting events. 

But political analyst Otis Sanford says the calculations surrounding stronger measures involve more than just numbers of infections and deaths. Politicans are balancing public health needs with the need to keep the economy moving and people employed. 

This week, Gov. Bill Lee announced that testing would be available statewide so people could get screened for COVID before attending holiday gatherings. He also remarked that the Pfizer vaccine would be available here in December for health care workers and first responders. But the governor still hasn't called for a statewide mask mandate, even as some Republican mayors begin to see the need for it.