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Doctors group warns against lifting mask mandates

Posted at 10:56 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-29 00:02:47-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — More county mayors are deciding to take back their mask mandates, citing improvement in daily new case numbers, including an announcement from Montgomery County and Wilson County on Monday, but the doctors group Protect My Care says removing mandates before a reliable vaccine could lead to surges of new COVID cases.

In justifying the move to rescind the mask mandate, Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto pointed to data In a letter released to county residents Monday, noting the drop in the county’s 14 day average of new cases — from more than 40 new cases per day in July to just more than 22 cases per day on Friday.

Dr. Diana Sepehri-Harvey with the group Protect My Care, says without mask mandates, until a vaccine is available, the numbers will surge again.

"I would tell them thank you for a job well done with what you’ve done so far with mandates and implementing public health mandates - please continue to do so because we are not done with the virus and the virus is not done with us," Sepehri-Harvey said.

As counties drop mask mandates around Middle Tennessee, Sepehri-Harvey says the public will continue to be confused about the rules, what works, and what doesn’t.

"Every day I have patients who are just confused about what to do, because we have been so wishy-washy with our messaging, we have not been clear with hey this works, and we are going to mandate it because it will keep the whole society safe," Sepehri-Harvey said.

In making the Wilson County announcement, Mayor Randall Hutto said he still encourages mask use, and points out schools and individual businesses can still require masks under their own policies.