NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Today, Dr. Aaron Milstone, a pulmonologist currently treating Covid-19 patients and organizer of the 9,500 health care workers who petitioned the Governor for a Stay-at-Home Order issued this statement in response to Gov. Lee undermining cities from taking more cautious approaches to reopening:

“Many cities are trying to do the right thing to protect lives and the economy but Gov. Lee’s contradictory message undermines public health, these cities, and the medical community, and that only confuses the public and employers, jeopardizing lives and business.

To safely reopen Tennessee’s economy we need Gov. Lee and federal officials to first:

  1. Expand rapid contact tracing and isolation of cases that breaks chains of transmission when they are discovered. Employers need to know that people who came in contact with COVID are isolating and not coming into their stores or offices.
  2. regular, routine, and rapid testing (because a test today only shows whether you are infected TODAY, and that does nothing to determine whether you get infected tomorrow at work).  Only regular, routine testing for EVERY citizen will solve this problem.
  3. Adequate protection for first responders and health care workers from infection. In order to protect the citizens of our state, frontline health workers must first be able to ensure they are protected.

What employer wants to be responsible for the public or employees getting sick, hospitalized, or worse, dying?

Covid-19 is many times more infectious than the flu. It often travels asymptomatically, in people who show no symptoms for weeks. The death rate is multiple times that of the normal flu and unlike the flu, there is currently no treatment, no vaccine, and no defense — except physical separation from people.

To safely reopen the economy we need to first see Gov. Lee and federal officials address the health crisis, so that employers and the public can get to work, safely”