NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Vanderbilt University released an updated analysis of a previous report on COVID-19 in Tennessee. Tuesday's report shows areas without mask requirements have a larger increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
The analysis was led by the Vanderbilt Center for Health Economic Modeling. It was released amid a spike of COVID-19 cases throughout Tennessee. In fact, hospitalizations and new cases of COVID-19 have reached their highest points to date.
“We’ve seen a statewide increase in hospitalizations since early October, indicating that masking alone is not sufficient to curb further spread of the virus,” according to John Graves, Ph.D., director of the Center and associate professor of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “But it’s very clear that areas where masking requirements have remained in place have seen much lower growth in COVID-19 hospitalizations,” Graves said.
Researchers also analyzed consumer mobility to specific types of business and consumer spending in specific industries.
Total statewide consumer spending is down 1.3%, the analysis found using data from Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker, a joint research effort between faculty at Harvard University and Brown University. And grocery and food store spending is up 10%.
But the arts and entertainment industries have taken the biggest hit with spending is down 51.9%, accommodation and food service is down 23.8%.
Researchers said stemming the economic and health system fallout from the pandemic "requires collective responsibility."