COVID-19 deaths twice as high in counties without mask mandates, study shows

Watch: COVID-19 deaths twice as high in counties without mask mandates, study says

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — A new Vanderbilt study showed COVID-19 deaths are twice as high in counties without mask mandates.

There is currently a mask mandate in Shelby County but Mayor Lee Harris would like to see a state-wide mask mandate.

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“It’s important, what happens in Shelby County and our urban areas but also important what is happening in our rural areas,” said Harris.

Harris wanted a state-wide mask mandate so everyone will be on the same page.

He discussed a new Vanderbilt University study which showed COVID-19 death rates are twice as high in counties without mask mandates.

The study also showed there were more than four deaths per 100,000 people in areas where masks were never required.

This is compared to the two deaths per 100,000 people in counties that issued a mask mandate over the summer.

“We hope we see a little more uniformity at the state level, it would be great to see a state intervention in terms of mask and other protections that could apply throughout all the communities in our state,” said Harris.

Meanwhile, Fayette County does not have a mask mandate in place.

Mayor Skip Taylor said most people are wearing masks and he won’t put one together unless there is a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“When you go into the local stores the Walmart, the mom and pop stores more often than not they are wearing a mask,” said Taylor.

Taylor said the county positivity rate decreased from 15 to 10 percent.

He also said there have been no hospitalizations in two weeks.

He said if things change and cases begin to spike he will enforce a mandate.

“If we do something more it has to be a coordinated effort, maybe several counties several areas there will have to be some sort of enforcement,” said Taylor.

Taylor said the county is also seeing an average of 15 to 20 cases per day which is small in comparison to Shelby County.

He said even though there isn’t a mandate people should still wear masks.