Metro Coronavirus Task Force’s Dr. Alex Jahangir issues open letter to Nashvillians about inaccurate national media reports

Metro Coronavirus Task Force Chair Dr. Alex Jahangir speaks at a press conference.

Dr. Alex Jahangir, chair of the Metro Coronavirus Task Force, has released the following open letter to Nashvillians addressing inaccurate national news reports on the number of recent confirmed coronavirus cases in Davidson County:

Dear Fellow Nashvillians,

I am writing to address several recent national news stories that contain inaccurate information on the coronavirus in Nashville. I want to reassure you that we are not seeing the spike in cases that was reported, and that the metrics we used to determine the safety of reopening are stable and improving.

The stories in question were based on an undisclosed White House report that claimed that during the week of May 7, Nashville’s rate of new coronavirus cases rose by 129%. Unfortunately, the stories failed to explain that this number included the 12 counties surrounding Nashville, not just Davidson County. During the week in question, there was a significant outbreak of COVID-19 cases at the prison in Trousdale County and a large number of cases in Rutherford County. However, the increase in cases for Nashville/Davidson County was just 17%, not 129%. At that time, Nashville was still under the Safer at Home Order. In recent days, our average number of new cases has been less than 100.

The decision by Nashville Mayor John Cooper to issue a Safer at Home Order on March 23 helped contain the virus. He was one of the first mayors in the southeast to take this step. As a result, Nashville has a transmission rate under 1.0, adequate hospital capacity and has begun to slow the rate of new cases. We have been following the data and the science. It is important to set the record straight and to inform you of the real numbers.

Nashville has been a leader in its response to the coronavirus. Now, it is engaged in a multi- phased plan to reopen the city. We appreciate the efforts of all Nashvillians to slow the spread of the virus. In the coming weeks and months, we must continue to be vigilant as we begin to reopen together.