Tennessee Society of Anesthesiologists insists on mask requirements as part of coalition

The Tennessee Society of Anesthesiologists joined calls for a statewide mask mandate to slow COVID-19 transmission, according to News Channel 5 Tennessee.

"The universal wearing of masks and maintaining social distancing are the only practical ways to slow the progress of the novel coronavirus, short of shutting down the economy of Tennessee again," TSA President Andrew Franklin, MD, wrote in a letter shared during an Aug. 5 news conference.

The conference was held by a coalition of medical and education groups urging Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee to require masks to be worn in public spaces.

Groups calling for a mask mandate also include the Tennessee College of Emergency Physicians, the Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians and the Tennessee Pharmacists Association.

Leaders of the organizations said strained intensive care unit and hospital capacity and the risks front-line healthcare workers are facing underscore the need for a mandate, although some members may have previously opposed state restrictions.

Now, they say a temporary requirement is necessary to preserve the strength of the healthcare workforce and to help Tennesseeans move forward with their lives.

The governor has been reluctant to go beyond giving county mayors the authority to implement mask orders. The Tennessee Medical Association has urged county mayors to exercise that authority.

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