Governor’s refusal to listen to doctors, experts compounds failed reopening, spiraling economy and mounting death toll

Nashville – Monday, Gov. Lee rejected warnings from federal health officials that said his refusal to close bars would lead to greater, avoidable deaths. Gov. Lee has also rejected for weeks recommendations in this Federal Report by CDC HHS and FEMA that calls for a statewide mask mandate and better-coordinated state strategy to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  Tennessee health experts have repeatedly called for a delay of in-person classes until the state successfully lowers the state’s dangerously high transmission rates and case counts to avoid further straining hospital capacity or endangering children, teachers, and their families. 

Dr. Thomas Phelps, a Tullahoma Family Physician (retired) who has been pleading for greater state leadership and intervention for months released the following statement in response to Gov. Lee’s repeated refusal to act on the warnings and recommendations of state and federal health experts.

“Gov. Lee’s appalling response to the coronavirus pandemic is akin to medical malpractice; he’s actively ignoring treatments that would save lives and rejecting expert medical advice from people like Dr. Birx and Tennessee health experts.” said Dr. Thomas Phelps. 

“The loss of life our families suffer and the economic fallout only worsens when our governor chooses to bury his head in the sand and ignore ringing alarm bells. His repeated failure to take action against this virus, when plenty of COVID-19 mitigation strategies were available, will result in preventable deaths and rippling economic costs. Gov. Lee, you must delay in-person classes and get COVID-19 spread under control first, otherwise, you will be leaving our state with only two options: 1). the eventual need for another state shut down, or  2). simply accepting more entirely avoidable harm, hospitalizations and deaths among our children, parents, teachers and their families, ”

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