We are losing the coronavirus battle – Gov. Lee must change strategies

I am Dr. Amy Gordon Bono. My family roots are in Tennessee.  I come from generations of farmers, teachers, nurses and factory workers.  I am the first doctor in my family.  The responsibility to help others is a key family value and I still believe to this day that “to whom much is given, much is expected.”  (Luke 12:48)

Dr. Amy Gordon Bono
Internal Medicine Primary Care
Masters of Public Health

I was fortunate to attend Vanderbilt University on a full scholarship and then to study at Tulane School of Medicine and School of Public Health.  I have the degrees of Doctor of Medicine and Masters in Public Health.  This course of study reflects my desire to not only help my patients, but to bring about changes in our society that improve the health of the general public and our communities.

We have a public health crisis now in Tennessee.  Administrations at all levels have failed to adequately prepare for a crisis such as this. In Tennessee, we have squandered our time. Instead of using time to prepare and address the health crisis by increasing our ability to find, notify and isolate people who have been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, Governor Lee rushed to reopen without a cautious approach to protect lives or our economy. Now, we have a health care crisis as well as an economic crisis in Tennessee.  

We have long known that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and right now we don’t have a cure for COVID-19.  We must focus on prevention and we have the tools to do that:

  • Maintain physical distance 
  • Wash your hands
  • Don’t touch your face

We need to keep our economy going, and we need to do it safely.  I believe in the power of masks to help safely reopen job sites.  When people refuse to wear masks, and employers refuse to enforce mask wearing, lives and livelihoods are threatened. 

Governor Lee, it’s not about personal liberty —  it’s about personal responsibility that protects everyone else. It’s about the social contract we make to serve the common good. This is NOT about fear – it’s about being smart and saving lives and restarting economies safely.   Masks protect us all, and lives are threatened when people don’t wear them. A face covering is an economic tool as well as a public safety instrument. At this time, there is a great threat to our economy and our livelihoods because of the coronavirus infection.  

Right now, we have a lack of firm leadership on every level – federal, state, and institutional.  The failure of America to control its COVID-19 crisis is simply a failure of leadership. Instead of one American response, we have 50 state responses. And now, thanks to Governor Lee’s leadership delegation to Tennessee counties, we won’t have ONE masking order for Tennessee, we have to ask for up to 95.

This is just a plain inefficient way of doing things. If you’re playing a football game, would you rather make one game plan or make 95 different ones?  You come up with a unified battle plan, and you have to know when to change strategies when you’re losing.  

We are losing the Coronavirus battle now. Governor Lee, you have to change strategies now.  

Governor Lee,  Tennesseans  voted for you and hired you to be a leader – now is the time to step up and be one.   Make your Tennessee Pledge mean something by requiring employers to have safety measures in place and require everyone to wear masks  – or face consequences when they don’t.  If an employer is threatening the public, the public needs a way to hold them accountable. At the very least, your administration should conduct on-site investigations at businesses where employees have expressed concerns.

I took an oath to protect my patients, and I show up every day to do just that.  Governor Lee, you took an oath to protect the people of Tennessee and we expect you to show up every day to protect the lives of all Tennesseans