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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

SMITH: Davidson County, don’t lose your mask mandate now

Williamson County recently lifted its mask mandate, even though they shouldn’t have.
Even+Vanderbilts+statues+wear+masks.+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FTruman+McDaniel%29
Truman McDaniel
Even Vanderbilt’s statues wear masks. (Hustler Multimedia/Truman McDaniel)

As of Saturday, Feb. 27, masks are no longer required in public spaces in Williamson County, barring county-owned buildings, courtrooms and private businesses who choose to continue requiring masks. For those who don’t know, Williamson County is right next to our own Davidson County, with the nearest border around 15 minutes from Vanderbilt’s campus. 

According to Diane Giddens, Chief of Staff at the Williamson County Mayor’s Office, Mayor Rogers Anderson is lifting the mask mandate that has been in effect since July 8 because of “the significant progress in reduction of COVID cases in recent weeks, and the positive impact on hospital capacity.” However, after taking a look at a few graphs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the recent caseload in Williamson County is not looking much better than it did in July when the mandate was put in place. As of Mar. 10 2020, Covid Act Now is even considering Williamson County to be currently “at risk for outbreak,” the third-highest risk level, citing a high positive test rate and the fact that 72 percent of the county’s ICU capacity is in use.

COVID Data Tracker: COVID-19 Integrated County View. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention/U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)


With all of this in mind, it doesn’t seem like a good idea to be lifting the mask mandate now. Even if other Tennessee counties have lifted their mandates, that doesn’t mean removing mask mandates is the right thing to do. While the numbers are looking better in Williamson County than they have been the past few months, experts are saying 60 to 80 percent of the population will need to either have had COVID-19 or be fully vaccinated to reach herd immunity, and our country is not close to those numbers just yet. 

Why remove a mask mandate amidst a pandemic that is clearly not over? I’m not sure why it hurts to keep wearing masks when they’ve been proven (when worn properly) to slow the spread of a deadly virus that, as of Mar. 10, has already killed 526,213 people in the U.S alone. Currently, businesses and many public spaces are open, meaning the only thing that really changes with a mask mandate is the virus’s ability to spread. So, why remove the mandate?

It might be related to politics as some members of the Republican Party believe that it’s not the government’s place to impose mandates like those related to masks and social distancing. And it is understandable that some might think the government should not be enforcing mandates regarding required clothing or protection, such as a mask. However, who else is going to enforce protection of our public health during a pandemic?

Regardless of politics, many people are dying, and that should be enough to push anyone to wear something over their nose and mouth when in public so they don’t contribute to the spread. 

While I’m sure many agree, not all people understand the dire need for mask-wearing. There are still plenty of people who think that COVID-19 is no worse than the flu and that the precautions the government has taken are an overreach of power. I may not be able to convince every conspiracy theorist who claims that the government is showing false statistics, but I do know many people who have been personally impacted by this pandemic, and many who have lost loved ones. On top of that, when credible studies are showing that masks are as much as 79 percent effective in preventing transmission between family members living in the same household, people need to be wearing them regardless of political party while in public social situations—if not for themselves then for the protection of other, potentially more vulnerable citizens. 

Mayor Anderson of Williamson County was cited as saying he encourages people to continue wearing masks and social distancing. But, if he really wanted his citizens to continue wearing masks, why’d he lift the mandate? Despite what our neighbors are doing, for the health and safety of our community, keep our mask mandate, Davidson County. Masks aren’t killing anyone, but COVID-19 still is. 

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About the Contributors
Nora Smith, Former Editorial Director
Nora Smith ('23) is majoring in Special Education and English and minoring in French. When she’s not writing, Nora loves hanging with friends, exploring (and eating) everything Nashville and finding dogs to pet. On sunny days, she can also be found running or reading in her hammock next to a friend. She can be reached at [email protected].
Truman McDaniel, Former Multimedia Sports Specialist
Truman McDaniel (2023) is a student in the College of Arts & Science majoring in Environmental and Ecological Biology and Political Science. In his free time, he enjoys taking pictures, drinking coffee and watching movies. He can be reached at [email protected].    
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Comments (8)

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S
2 years ago

If there was a real benefit in wearing a “mask” they wouldn’t allow just any type of face covering. The fact that a bandana around the mouth and nose helps visually to calm the ridiculously panicked population should alert most INTELLIGENT people with a large degree of COMMON SENSE that masks are being used to somewhat control us. There are 350,000,000 people in the USA, of those let’s say there are 280,000,000 USA adults, 530,000 died from covid. The mathematical equation of dividing 530,000/280,000,000 = .00189286! Not anywhere CLOSE to even 1% of the people in the target group of 18-99 have died. It is basically a bad cold for most of us, and like the flu……it will kill a SMALL portion of the population, but also like the flu, we can live our normal lives. If you’re afraid of dying from it…… STAY HOME MASKED UP. Me?……. I’m maskless and HEALTHY

B
Bill Dodge
2 years ago

Williamson County’s numbers rose very slightly for the two weeks after the mask mandate was lifted, just about the same as Davidson’s did. Yet more evidence that forcing healthy people to wear a mask doesn’t make much of a difference overall…

A
An Adult
2 years ago

So let me get this straight, he is lifting the mask mandate because the data showed little difference between cases before the mandate and cases during the mandate? When are these snot nose kids going to use their brain and realize that all the data shows that wearing mask does nothing in stoping the spread of a Virus, which the mask companies put on their packaging that their product in not Anti-viral. Also when are people going to wake up to realize that anti-bacteria and microbial does not equal anti-viral. In short, your health is your own responsibility. It is not my responsibility, or the mayor, governor or government to babysit you and parent you. You are an adult (well maybe, a degree does not prove intelligence or maturity) so start acting like one. If you are afraid of getting sick, then stay home, alone and let us brave (normal) souls live our lives in peace, mask free to breathe the God given air that we have been all given.

A
Another Adult
2 years ago
Reply to  An Adult

While you say that wearing mask does nothing to stop the virus, have you considered the possibility that it might be people wearing the masks wrong? I have seen many wearing a mask that only covers their mouth, which defeats the whole purpose of wearing one. Wearing a mask is to prevent the droplets from spreading when you cough or sneeze. These droplets contain the virus if you have COVID. The masks are not anti-viral, and no credible source is claiming them to be. It won’t magically kill the virus for you by wearing one. The only purpose the mask is doing is to stop those droplets from going everywhere. About your claim that your health is your own responsibility, while that is true, but as a comparison if your house is on fire, you could choose to let it burn to the ground, but it is not OK to let the fire spread to other houses. Maybe try to be a little more considerate of others? After all don’t you agree that everyone has the right to go out? You are making wearing a mask seems like a demanding job when in reality it’s just putting a cloth on your face. In psycho development, as a child ages, he or she is more aware of others, so maybe that’s a telltale sign of maturity instead of being egocentric?

C
Confused Citizen
2 years ago

So y’all just wanna be forced to wear masks forever? Alrighty then… some of us have already had the virus and are vaccinated. At what point will this all end? My guess is these authors, as college students, have certainly contributed to ‘the spread’ far beyond not wearing a mask. Y’all think partying is safe? Having a mandate to wear masks outside when there is nobody at all near you does not save anyone from anything… lol

T
Truth
2 years ago

How many politicians said do not travel only to be caught traveling. How many politicians/public health officials have shamed people for not wearing masks only to be photographed at events without a mask. How many politicians/public health officials have said do not gather in groups only to be photographed in groups at restaurants with no masks. How many politicians/public health officials said do not see your family over Thanksgiving and Christmas only for them to be caught seeing family during the holidays. How many politicians/public health officials have said that church is a public health crisis and must shut down while at the same time encouraging the violent and non socially distanced protests last summer. How many politicians said no crowds over 10/50/100 people while at the same time encouraging the violent protests last summer. How many politicians shut down salons and barber shops only to be caught getting a hair cut. I will not trade liberty for “security”.

L
Leslie Watts
2 years ago

It is not related to politics. According to a study released on March 5, the CDC claimed “Mask mandates were associated with a 0.5 percentage point decrease (p = 0.02) in daily COVID-19 case growth rates 1–20 days after implementation and decreases of 1.1, 1.5, 1.7, and 1.8 percentage points 21–40, 41–60, 61–80, and 81–100 days, respectively, after implementation. Mask mandates were associated with a 0.7 percentage point decrease (p = 0.03) in daily COVID-19 death growth rates 1–20 days after implementation and decreases of 1.0, 1.4, 1.6, and 1.9 percentage points 21–40, 41–60, 61–80, and 81–100 days, respectively, after implementation (p<0.01 for all).” The CDC concluded that “Daily case and death growth rates before implementation of mask mandates were NOT statistically different from the reference period.” One can conclude based on these numbers, masks do very little. However, at the end of the day, you are responsible for your own health. If you want to continue to mask up, go ahead. I prefer to see people’s faces because smiles matter. Here is a link to the CDC’s article: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7010e3.htm?s_cid=mm7010e3_w

C
Confused Citizen
2 years ago
Reply to  Leslie Watts

I’d be fine with masks if everything wasn’t virtual, and obviously when people who are unvaccinated are within 6ft of each other. However I’m vaccinated and everything is virtual. So what I’m supposed to still be alone all the time and whenever I leave still gotta wear I mask anywhere outside my own home? If I’m just walking through Nashville or around campus alone I shouldn’t need to wear a mask.