New alliance encourages community to wear masks, get flu shot

October 27, 2020

‘Knoxville Recovers’ to help lead resurgence, recovery from COVID-19

Always wear a face mask indoors in public places and be sure to get your flu shot this year. It’s more important than ever.

Those are the messages delivered by a wide-ranging alliance of local leaders who came together after a call by the News Sentinel for prominent and respected people to help the community recover both health-wise and economically from COVID-19.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of wearing a mask indoors in public places,” said Dr. Richard Briggs, an alliance member, physician and state senator. “The wearing of a mask reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19 and allows our students to return to class, protects our teachers, permits reopening of small businesses and puts Tennesseans back to work.”

The 11-member group, which originally was convened by Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon and University of Tennessee-Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman, also announced a name: Knoxville Recovers. Its tagline is “Alliance for Recovery, Trust and Health.”

Briggs, who was chosen to make a statement on behalf of the alliance because of his medical background, said the public should not be misled. There are no adverse health effects from wearing face masks, he said, and their use keeps community spread of the disease in check.

Regarding flu shots, Briggs said it’s critical to get inoculated this year because contracting a COVID-19 infection while recovering from the flu “could lead to serious or even fatal complications.”

In addition to Kincannon, Plowman and Briggs, Knoxville Recovers also includes Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs; Randy Boyd, University of Tennessee System president; Bill Haslam, former Tennessee governor and Knoxville mayor; Dr. Keith Gray, University of Tennessee Medical Center’s chief medical officer; Karmen Jones, UT-Knoxville’s Student Government Association president; Phyllis Y. Nichols, president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League; Renee Kelly, Knox County Schools chief of staff; and Mike Odom, president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber.

In calling last month for the formation of the group in a front page editorial, Joel Christopher, the newspaper’s executive editor, wrote: “We know this group has no legal authority to put in place policy, but it would have a persuasive authority, and a moral authority, to create action.”

Kincannon said Knoxville Recovers will make periodic statements in an attempt to help the community stem the rising tide of COVID-19 cases and rejuvenate the economy. By forming an alliance of leaders in government, education, health and business development, Knoxville Recovers hopes to instill trust across all sectors of the community.

About Knoxville Recovers
Formed in September 2020, Knoxville Recovers is an alliance of community leaders that seeks to help Knoxville fully recover from the effects of COVID-19 across all sectors. Alliance members are Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon; Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs; University of Tennessee-Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman; Dr. Richard Briggs, a physician and state senator; Randy Boyd, University of Tennessee System president; Bill Haslam, former Tennessee governor and Knoxville mayor; Dr. Keith Gray, University of Tennessee Medical Center’s chief medical officer; Karmen Jones, UT-Knoxville’s Student Government Association president; Phyllis Y. Nichols, president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League; Renee Kelly, Knox County Schools chief of staff; and Mike Odom, president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber.