Lee insisted that masks work and then refused to issue a mask mandate. He did issue an Executive Order that says very little. It limits indoor social gatherings to 10 or less people but allows high school sports, says nothing about whether schools should or will be open for in-person learning, and does not change current protocol regarding bars and restaurants.
Here’s more on that order:
Lee took no responsibility for his failure to take action up to this point – a failure that has made our state one of the most dangerous places to be in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Tennessee hospitals are strained and residents are sick and dying (10,000 new cases a day, as Lee mentioned), Lee did not acknowledge that his policy ineptitude had anything to do with the current crisis – a crisis not faced at this time at this level anywhere else in the country.
State Representative Gloria Johnson of Knoxville offered this succinct response to Lee’s address:
“More than 6,000 Tennesseans are dead and many of these were preventable deaths. His own administration told us that hospitals are on the brink of collapse. At this point it is impossible to separate COVID-19 suffering and death from Gov. Bill Lee’s refusal to fight this virus.
I have already heard from constituents with hospitalized family members and from doctors who had hopes the governor would listen to their pleas, they were devastated by the lack of action.”
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