Tags: Coronavirus | NashvilleMayor | Coronavirus | covid | tennessee

Nashville Mayor May Have Kept Low Coronavirus Numbers Secret

a couple walk past a purple story that is closed.
People walk by Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, closed because of the coronavirus, Monday, March 16, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

By    |   Thursday, 17 September 2020 07:16 PM

The mayor of Nashville may have told health officials to hide low coronavirus numbers at bars and restaurants.

A leaked email to Fox 17 in Nashville showed in late June, contact tracing numbers for construction and nursing homes had thousands of coronavirus cases, but bars and restaurants only produced 22 cases.

In an email to an advisor for the mayor's office, health department official Leslie Waller wrote, “This isn’t going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor’s Office?"

“Correct, not for public consumption,” Benjamin Eagles, an adviser to Mayor John Cooper, responded via email.

By July, the health department was confronted about the rumor that only 80 coronavirus cases had been traced to bars and restaurants.

Tennessee Lookout reporter Nate Rau asked the health 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 are traced to restaurants and bars, doesn’t that mean restaurants and bars aren’t a very big problem?"

Health department official Brian Todd then asked health department officials about how to respond to Rau's question.

"Please advise how you recommend I respond," Todd said.

A response to Todd read, “My two cents. We have certainly refused to give counts per bar because those numbers are low per site. We could still release the total though, and then a response to the over 80 could be because that number is increasing all the time and we don’t want to say a specific number."

A staff attorney for the city verified the authenticity of the emails.

“I was able to get verification from the Mayor’s Office and the Department of Health that these emails are real,” the staff attorney answered.

Council member Steve Glover said the Nashville city government was covering up the actual numbers.

"They are fabricating information," Glover said. "They’ve blown their entire credibility Dennis. Its gone, I don’t trust a thing they say going forward ...nothing."

Glover said bartenders, waitresses and restaurant owners have been asking him why the city won't release the official numbers.

"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," Glover said.

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The mayor of Nashville may have told health officials to hide low coronavirus numbers at bars and restaurants.A leaked email to Fox 17 in Nashville showed in late June, contact tracing numbers for construction and nursing homes had thousands of coronavirus cases, but bars...
NashvilleMayor, Coronavirus, covid, tennessee
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2020-16-17
Thursday, 17 September 2020 07:16 PM
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