Nashville Scandal: How Mayor’s Office hid data about low COVID-19 cases from public to keep bars, restaurants closed

The astoundingly low number of coronavirus cases in Nashville’s Broadway area of bars and restaurants may have been withheld from the public for political reasons, according to a report.

Emails between the mayor’s senior advisor and the city health department reveal that the cases were not only low, the two governmental entities took steps to prevent the real numbers of trace cases involving bars and restaurants -around 22 out of a thousand citywide- from getting out.
Leslie Waller from the health department responded in the email chain, “This isn’t going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor’s Office?”
“Correct, not for public consumption,” wrote senior advisor Benjamin Eagles.

Later, when asked about the rumor that around 80 cases had been traced to pubs and eateries, the city came up with a seemingly fabricated response.

“My two cents. We have certainly refused to give counts per bar because those numbers are low per site,” an official said. “We could still release the total though, and then a response to the over 80 could be because that number is increasing all the time and we don’t want to say a specific number.”

Doing some digging with the help of city staff attorneys, city councilmember Steve Glover eventually got an official answer on the emails, obtained by WZTV.

“I was able to get verification from the Mayor’s Office and the Department of Health that these emails are real,” the staff attorney answered.

“They are fabricating information,” Glover said. “They’ve blown their entire credibility. Its gone, I don’t trust a thing they say going forward …nothing.”

Glover is now a representative of sorts for outraged business owners, who want to know why their industries were ravaged and the coronavirus panic was taken so far.

“We raised taxes 34 percent and put hundreds literally thousands of people out of work that are now worried about losing their homes, their apartments…and we did it on bogus data. That should be illegal,” Glover said.

The mayor’s office has denied the claims.

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