Nashville — Dr. Nick Cote, a physician and board president of a large, doctor-owned practice in Tennessee, says the White House Coronavirus Task Force report assigning a “red alert” to Tennessee is a clear signal action is needed urgently.

“Now the Trump administration is ringing alarm bells about Tennessee’s lax response to the raging pandemic,” Cote said. “The Covid-19 surge has gotten so bad in Tennessee that if Gov. Lee does not require a mask mandate immediately, our state will spiral further out of control to where the only options we have left will be choosing between another state shut down or accepting thousands of more, completely avoidable, hospitalizations and deaths.”

Cote belongs to the coalition of more than 2,000 Tennessee doctors and nurses who have been advocating since March for greater leadership and interventions from Gov. Lee to stem the worsening and now uncontrolled COVID-19 health crisis.