While recently swimming at the Wellness Center, the indoor pool was suddenly cleared due to nearby lightning. Statistics on electrocution by lightning in indoor swimming pools are strongly against such policy. Authors of two articles, "Lightning Safety and Indoor Pools: To Clear or Not to Clear" and "Can You Really Get Struck by Lightning While Swimming in an Indoor Pool?" found no such U.S. deaths on record.

On the other hand, 550,000 Americans have died from coronavirus in the last 12 months in the worst pandemic in a century. I know of two Tellico Village COVID-19 deaths. A Village friend recently hospitalized with COVID nearly died, surviving only by excellent work from Parkwest Medical Center’s COVID unit.

A Vanderbilt study demonstrated Tennessee counties emphasizing mask usage have halved their COVID death rate. Tennessee’s Department of Health website states "research shows adherence to mask wearing can reduce infection rates by 80%.”

On behalf of a small group of concerned citizens, I recently requested the Tellico Village Property Owners Association board fund six months of free masks at 12 common Village building entrances. This was declined, citing a projected $4,000 cost. The same board meeting included mention of a $1 million figure for battery technology conversion of Village golf carts. Golf is very important, but not more important than human life.

Mask usage is critical until our community is fully protected by the excellent available vaccines. Recent upticks in new U.S. COVID cases are concerning. Rising percentages of more contagious and deadly coronavirus variants are also noteworthy, especially the British variant, B.1.1.7. Recent large coronavirus surges in Brazil, France and Italy are a warning.

The coronavirus pandemic is an ongoing danger to Village residents. Science has demonstrated mask usage in public places saves lives. Tellico Village’s general policy and funding must now be science-based.

Jim Reynolds

Tellico Village