GREENE COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Dr. Daniel Lewis, a Ballad Health physician and COVID-19 survivor, said Tuesday that residents of Greene County should take the county-wide mask mandate seriously.
Dr. Lewis is the Chief Medical Officer for Ballad Health in Greene County. He spoke during a press conference, during which Greene County Mayor Kevin Morrison announced the new mandate.
“Again, more and more evidence is coming out on a daily basis nearly that shows that masks are effective in limiting the spread of COVID-19 transmission, both personally and for those around you,” Dr. Lewis said.
Dr. Lewis said the mandate was heavily supported by the medical community in Greene County.
While Morrison said there are some exceptions to those who would be mandated to wear the masks due to medical conditions or certain situations, Dr. Lewis said those are rare.
“Most individuals can wear a mask and can do so quite well,” Dr. Lewis said. “Oxygen will pass through the masks quite well without any concerns for that. Our surgeons and medical staff wear them for 12 to 14 hours a day routinely and do well with those. It’s not thought to be a detriment to your health at all.”
Dr. Lewis was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March and was eventually placed on a ventilator in the ICU.
Dr. Lewis said he is feeling well after recovering from the virus and is grateful for his health when compared to others who have had the virus and suffer long-term effects.
Dr. Lewis also commented that COVID-19 is not a “political virus,” despite political parties using it for their purposes.
“I don’t think it’s a political issue at all, I understand that there may be politicization of it given our current time, the election setting, but it’s not a political virus,” Dr. Lewis said. “It’s a virus that can affect certainly the elderly and the children, those are very significant.
When asked about the effectiveness of cloth masks, Dr. Lewis said that studies have found that even a simple bandanna can reduce the distance traveled by droplet by 67%. He said the best cloth masks are double-layered and made with quilting cotton that is 180 count or more.
Dr. Lewis said while the virus particles are small enough to possibly permeate a cloth mask, they generally spread by clinging to the droplets, which can be caught with a mask.
You can watch Dr. Lewis’ full statement in the video above.