Disease Expert: Data Supports Stronger Restrictions on Movement to Combat COVID-19 Spread

Despite orders and urging public separation, data shows disease accelerating across the state

NASHVILLE -- (March 31, 2020) An infectious disease expert says despite various interventions and Executive Orders, urging for Tennesseans to stay apart is, so far. failing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Data actually shows despite all the interventions to date, and urging for people to stay apart, Covid-19 is accelerating its reach in Tennessee”, according to Dr. David Aronoff, the director of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Aronoff, who presented an analysis of public data tracking COVID-19 cases in the state on Tuesday, said he and fellow health experts interpret what they see as a reason to take further action to mitigate the spread of the disease.

Informing his recommendation, Aranoff compared data seen between March 19, before significant interventions and tactics like PSAs and social distancing had been enacted, and data available March 30.

“We see no significant mitigation of the spread of COVID-19,” Aronoff said. “In fact, we see that to date, despite all the public service announcements, all the suggestions, all the encouraging, all the recommendations, the problem is only getting exponentially worse.”

“As health care professionals, as scientists, these are the data informing our policy recommendations,” Aronoff said. “The one tactic we know with complete and unequivocal evidence that guarantees to mitigate the spread of this deadly disease is the effective physical separation that comes with an enforceable stay-at-home order.”

Successful physical separation of people over the coming weeks will be crucial to flattening the curve and reducing the patient surge at hospitals, which strains healthcare supplies, equipment, and workers.

Aronoff, along with colleagues, sent a letter to Gov. Lee with recommendations to mitigate the spread of the disease on March 20, including an enforceable stay-at-home order.