14 official reasons to wear a mask in Chattanooga, TN

Starting Friday, it's the law that you must wear a mask when in public if you can't social distance. There are some exemptions. | Anna Shvets from Pexels

A day after Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger asked the health department to require that people wear masks in public, Chattanooga made national news as a COVID-19 hotspot, and now doctors are asking Gov. Bill Lee to mandate face coverings state-wide to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Here’s why health + government officials ordered the mandate that people wear masks starting Friday or risk a $50 fine and up to 30 days in jail. 👇

  1. Masks prevent the spread of COVID-19. One study found that surgical masks can reduce the spread of the virus by as much as 75%
  2. COVID-19 has killed 130,000 Americans
  3. Local cases have increased in the past two weeks.
  4. It’s killed 35 people in Hamilton County.
  5. So far, 2,909 people locally have tested positive.
  6. 38 new people were added to that list Monday. 
  7. There are 55 people currently in local hospitals with COVID-19.
  8. 17 people are in the ICU. 
  9. 17% of people in Hamilton County who have died did not have underlying conditions. 
  10. People are unknowingly spreading it at events such as graduations and weddings. 
  11. Some local populations are being disproportionately affected. The local Hispanic population has experienced 29% of total deaths. 
  12. The virus is getting more difficult to trace locally. Health officials are monitoring thousands who may have been exposed. 
  13. Cases, hospitalizations + deaths could be spreading faster than recorded cases show.  
  14. Officials + business owners said it’s better for the economy.

— Source: Hamilton County Health Department, numbers as of Monday + NBC News 

“Multiple scientific studies have shown that masks significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19 and saves lives…If we want to live in a way that approaches normal, if we want to keep our economy open and if we want to protect ourselves and each other … we need to do a few simple things: maintain your distance, maintain good hygiene with frequent handwashing … and cover your mouth and nose when you’re around others. This is not too much to ask.”  – Dr. Paul Hendricks, Hamilton County Health Department 

“There is a very real toll that’s happening in our community, but unfortunately until you have a personal connection with someone impacted by the virus, it’s hard to fully understand the consequences … Even though we urged our citizens to wear masks, the compliance was low so now that wearing masks is not optional we hope to see a decrease in the spread.” – Becky Barnes, Hamilton County health administrator