NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — There remains a great divide in this country on how people look at COVID-19 and that includes Tennessee’s Capitol Hill.
A glimpse of the various views played out this week at a Tennessee legislative committee meeting.
One lawmaker has been so passionate about masks that he wears two of them.
“I wear a cloth mask and underneath that I either wear a surgical mask or an N95,” said Memphis Rep. G.A. Hardaway. “It allows me to have maximum protection.”
The African-American lawmaker is blunt about a second reason for two masks. COVID-19 disproportionately affects black communities.
“I want to minimize if not eliminate the chances that I am going to kill a constituent or that I am going to kill a family member,” said Rep. Hardaway.
Most if not all state Republican lawmakers agree with Governor Bill Lee’s approach to urge but not mandate mask wearing to fight COVID-19.
“I think the governor is doing an excellent job,” said Coffee County Senator Janice Bowling. “Because he is allowing the local governments, the local counties and the mayors their determinations.”
She joined most Republicans at the legislative committee meeting this week without a mask.
Most have cited the plexiglass between seats as a protection, but Senator Bowling’s main concern is the COVID-19 information that may or may not get to her district in the Tullahoma area.
“I have a lot of questions about the surge. How many are symptomatic? How many asymptomatic? what are the age groups?” asked the lawmaker.
She also talked about COVID-19 remedies.
“We now have therapeutics and other medications that we realize work much better,” added Sen. Bowling.
Like many other states Tennessee, this month has set records for COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.