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The great mask debate… To wear a mask…or not?

The great mask debate has divided the country with whether or not they are needed to be worn. The CDC, which originally said leave the medical masks for the medical professionals, has since said cloth coverings are advised to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Current CDC recommendations, as of June 28, is to wear cloth coverings when outside the home near gatherings of people. Those who should not wear masks are children under the age of two, people with breathing problems, and those who are unconscious.
With recommendations for wearing masks come in governing bodies making it required to do so. In certain parts of the United States, including Nashville as of late, wearing a mask when out in public is now mandatory.
With these latest developments being mandated, where does that leave Carter County?
According to Daniel Estes, City Manager of Elizabethton, so far, it leaves us nowhere in requirements.
“Metro Nashville is one of six metro health departments, meaning their health department sets policies on these matters,” he explained. “The other counties outside these six, including Carter County, operate under the state health department. At this time, the city intends to follow the state health department’s guidelines and will not be issuing separate guidance.”
With no requirement to do so, should you still be wearing a mask?
Dr. Arnold Hopland, the founder of Medical Care, has some thoughts.
“Truthfully, what you’re doing is protecting your neighbors,” he said. “I think it’s a sign that you’re concerned about your neighbors.”
In terms of the health benefits or consequences of wearing a mask, Hopland explained that some of the more negative side effects are irritation to the face when one gets too hot and claustrophobia. The benefits, however, is the protection of others in the case that you are asymptomatic and carrying the virus.
“They actually provide some protection to the wearer, and even more protection if someone is unknowingly infecting,” he said. “The main reason to wear the mask is to protect other people.”
While he supports wearing a mask, however, Hopland says it should not be required by governing bodies.
“I would like to see all requirements disappear, and then individual storekeepers, restaurants, and people in their homes make good choices and let the government give us recommendations rather than orders,” he said. “My recommendation is for the government for the peace and tranquility of the nation is to leave it alone and make recommendations.”
While Hopland said he believes the virus is not going anywhere, he pointed out that while some people have been more careless about it, these same individuals have been more considerate to others with things like making room in the grocery store and continuing to social distance.
Hopland went on to elaborate on freedoms.
“Freedom is valuable,” he said. “The freedom to make good choices also implies the freedom to make bad choices.”
Testing for COVID-19 remains available through medical facilities, as well as local health departments. Those who are asymptomatic and want to be tested out of caution are welcome to do so.
For more information on the latest COVID-19 numbers in Tennessee, you can go to www.tn.gov/covid19, you can also go to www.cdc.gov/covid19for the latest Coronavirus information. To contact the Carter County Health Department, you can call 423-543-2521.