Knoxville Mayor Glenn Jacobs, aka WWE's Kane, Says 'Lives Depend on the Economy' to Defend Pandemic Reopening Plans

As the month of April draws to a close, several states are approaching the end of their Stay-at-Home mandates, with some having already begun the process of reopening. These decisions are frequently met with disagreements from both health officials and coronavirus models, all of which predict that the infected rates will skyrocket if businesses are reopened prematurely.

Knoxville, Tennessee Mayor Glenn Jacobs, who also used to wrestle as Kane in the WWE, has argued that the economy needs to be opened up in order to save lives. On Monday, Jacobs tweeted a link to a Fox News article about Tyson Foods' full-page ad warning of a pending food shortage. "It's not a choice between lives and the economy," Jacobs tweeted along with the link. "Lives depend on the economy," he added, clearly in defense of his decision to begin loosening social distancing protocols, in spite of what experts recommend.

"When this gets worse in and we have to be shut down for a longer period; how will the economy fare then?" asked one commenter. "I see this getting worse than better, 2400 [doctors] across Tennessee can't be wrong." Another points out that, "Fewer deaths means a stronger economy in the long run." While a third chimed in with "if the workers are all sick and die there is no economy."

While President Donald Trump had discussed his three-tier plan for the reopening of the U.S. after weeks of being on lockdown to help slow the spread of coronavirus, he stressed that it would be up to the governors to decide when it was appropriate. So far, Florida has already allowed its beaches to be used by the public once again, not long after it had been sharply criticized for not acting sooner. Similarly, Georgia has already allowed certain businesses to operate once more, although as Gov. Brian Kemp stressed in an April 20 tweet that social distancing would still need to be reinforced.


The COVID-19 model from, which is frequently cited by The White House, also suggests that several states should wait several more weeks before the slow rollout to business as usual. Florida, Kansas, and Arizona, for example, would have to wait until mid-to-late June. Meanwhile, New York could theoretically reopen on May 27 and Washington would be able to do so on May 28.