As the United States gets more and more used to COVID lockdowns and mandatory measures put in place by our government leaders, we are starting to see case numbers that show a significant decrease in infections and deaths due to the novel virus.
But what if I could prove to you that numbers have been this low for a while now and local leaders just refused to let you know that?
You’d probably be pretty ticked, right? I mean, here you are, along with half of your neighborhood, having been out of work for months and barely eking out a living to keep food on your table, and they suddenly tell you, ‘well, I guess it wasn’t that bad after all.’
Well, that’s precisely how the people of Nashville, Tennessee, are feeling about now.
Like the rest of the nation, Nashville has been under strict orders for some months now that not only require you to wear face masks in public but also prevent many public places such as bars and restaurants from even being open.
And in a tourist attraction such as Nashville, this is kind of a big deal. Unsurprisingly, as crucial as these eateries and hang out places are to the local economy, these are listed as “non-essential” businesses.
It also hasn’t helped that the CDC and other government agencies have pretty much labeled bars and restaurants as the evil that is spreading the virus in just about every state except South Dakota. As a result, many of these businesses can’t afford to stay open, even though lockdown orders are starting to lift.
But as it turns out, restaurants and bars haven’t been a problem in Nashville.
According to contact tracing administered earlier in the year, all of the bars and restaurants in Nashville – and there are many – only accounted for 22 cases as June 30.
And yet, this information wasn’t ever disclosed to the public or even the city council members. Instead, the public was led to believe that lockdowns of these establishments were heavily needed to keep the virus in check. The people heard that “more than 80” cases had been found due to restaurants and bars, and that exact numbers couldn’t be given because that number was still going up.
But, somehow, Fox 17 in Nashville got ahold of a few emails between one of Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s advisers and a Metro Health Department agent discussing how they would keep the low case numbers under wraps.
Leslie Waller, the health department worker, asked, “This isn’t going to be publicly released, right? Just info for the Mayor’s Office?” To which senior mayoral adviser Benjamin Eagles responded, “Correct, not for public consumption.”
But that’s not even half of it.
These emails were sent in late June, right after the health department realized the contact tracing numbers.
It wasn’t until a full month later, in late July, when a reporter from the Tennessee Lookout heard rumors about there being an insufficient number of cases able to be traced back to bars and restaurants in the area. Naturally, this reporter did his job and went to the health department for answers.
He asked in an email to Brian Todd of the department, “The figure you gave of ‘more than 80’ does lead to a natural question: if there have been over 20,000 positive cases of COVID-19 in Davidson and only 80 or so have been traced to restaurants and bars, doesn’t that mean that restaurants and bars aren’t a very big problem?”
Before Todd replied to the reporter, he first sent an internal email asking for advice on how he should respond.
This is what he got:
“We have certainly refused to give counts per bar because those numbers are low per site,” and apparently, there is a requirement about how low that number should be before it is released. “We can still release the total though, and then a response to the over 80 could be because that number is still increasing all the time and we don’t want to say a specific number.”
So more lies basically.
Naturally, the citizens of Nashville are irate. Nashville Metro Council Member Steve Glover says that this ruins any credibility he ever had in both the department and the mayor’s office.
“We raised taxes 34 percent and put hundreds, literally thousands of people out of work that are now worried about losing their homes, their apartments… and we did it on bogus data. That should be illegal.”
Indeed, it should be.