BRADLEY COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – If anyone knows how important it is to protect yourself from COVID-19, it’s Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks.
That’s because the mayor experienced COVID firsthand.
He told News 12 that he spent 6 days in the ICU after he tested positive for the coronavirus.
“This is the worst illness I’ve ever encountered,” Mayor Brooks said.
Masks are not required in Cleveland or Bradley County.
But, protection is strongly encouraged.
So much so that Mayor Brooks teamed up with the Bradley County Mayor in a campaign to encourage folks to practice all four of these things: wash your hands, keep six feet away from each other, avoid large crowds and wear a mask.
“I feel like I’ve compared it a lot of times to making an apple pie. You know, apples without flour and sugar and other ingredients doesn’t make an apple pie. It takes all of them,” Bradley County Mayor Gary Davis said.
Just this week deaths in Bradley County rose to double digits.
But, the concern isn’t just with Bradley County.
On Monday, White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx met with Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to talk about the significance in wearing a mask.
“Tennessee is standing at that very important point in time where their test positivity has just increased into the greater than 10-percent,” Dr. Birx said.
“It’s this very moment where we can change the trajectory of the virus before it goes into what we call full logarithmic spread.”
While it’s up to county leaders to decide if a mask mandate is the right way to go, Mayor Davis stressed that it shouldn’t just be about wearing a mask, but rather following the four protection measures they’re promoting.
“We just need to encourage each other to do those things, not that some bureaucrat is telling us we’ve got to do this or that,” he said.
Mayor Brooks said he feels mask wearing is personal, not political.
“I Kevin Brooks believe in mask wearing. My family believes in mask wearing, because we have experienced COVID in our home,” He said.
“You, nor anybody else would ever want to have in your body what I had, and if all it takes is wearing a mask to keep it out, where’s my mask?”
Mayor Brooks has been cleared of COVID-19.
He said that he looks forward to resuming his full-time duties next week.
He does encourage folks to donate plasma to help fight the coronavirus.
He said the next drive will be August 8th at Tennova.