Tennessee Data for Masked vs. Unmasked Counties

Tennessee is a great place to compare mask-mandated places with ones that aren’t and see if such governmental overreach really does contribute to slowing the spread of COVID-19. If they help, surely some evidence of that would be in the data, right? Since I’m a resident of the eastern part of the state, I decided to run the numbers myself. When I first started getting the data together, I didn’t know entirely what to expect. If there was a sharp difference showing masked counties doing better than unmasked ones, it would be a truth I would have to report, even if it went against my preconceived (in this case anti-mask) notions.


And boy was I correct. While we’re not allowed to insert tweets or images in op-eds, you can view my data here. Since COVID appears to be seasonal and often hits different parts of the nation at different times and Tennessee is a WIDE state, I stuck with only the east Tennessee area for this particular analysis. For simplicity, I also left out counties that chickened out and issued mask mandates in the middle of the time period. Then I ran the numbers for 17 contiguous counties for the period from October 1 to December 22. Nine did not have a mask-mandate in place, while eight did.

Over the allotted period, counties with mask mandates saw 4.7% of their population infected while those without them saw a 4.6% infection rate. Interestingly, Hawkins County, which let its mandate expire at the end of September, had 4.3% of its population infected, while Carter County had 5.1% infected with a mandate in place. Both have nearly identical populations.