Montgomery Co. Mayor says ‘Coronavirus is a strain of the flu’; downplays concerns for Clarksville

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Montgomery County Tennessee Mayor Jim Durrett recently told his constituents that COVID-19 was just a strain of the flu, suggesting the “-19” designation meant this was our 19th time experiencing this, and overall downplaying the impact of the virus, noting that most deaths were in nursing homes. Montgomery County has 6 confirmed Cases of Coronavirus, as of Tuesday.

LISTEN: Audio Clip of Mayor Jim Durrett downplays the dangers of COVID-19

In the audio clip above, Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett says “.. I don’t want to underemphasize what this Coronavirus is, but you know, it’s a strain of the flu… We’ve had other Coronaviruses, this one’s the COVID-19, or whatever it’s called… and I just listened to the people that know, that the majority of the people – they’ll get sick, but they’re gonna get well… and if you look at the deaths that have occurred in the United States and where they’ve occurred, I think over half of them, or more than half, are in nursing homes.

According to the CDC, it is irresponsible and factually inaccurate, to describe the coronavirus to the flu – it’s simply not true. The County Mayor then goes on to apparently suggest that this is the 19th iteration of the virus because it is named COVID-19, which simply isn’t true. Mayor Durrett opines “we’ve had other Coronavirusus.. this is COVID-19 or whatever it’s called” is misleading. The world has had two other major coronaviruses in the past, including the  SARS pandemic of 2002-2003 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreak in South Korea in 2015. The ’19’ at the end of the acronym established this version was discovered in the year, 2019, and is not indicative of any consecutive count of previous iterations.

“This virus is not SARS, it’s not MERS, and it’s not influenza,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing Tuesday, referencing other coronaviruses that have caused smaller outbreaks. “It is a unique virus with unique characteristics.”

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Ironically, after stating false information in his interview, Mayor Jim Durrett posted a link on his social media, warning people about false information about COVID-19:

According to the state of Tennessee, below are the current ages of those infected with COVID19

The full interview is below:

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