Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy was joined on the newsmakers line by all-star panelist Dr. Carol Swain.
During the second hour, Leahy and Swain discussed how liquor stores and abortions fall under Governor Lee’s essential business category as these businesses remain in operation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Swain added that she believes that the CDC is inflating the number of coronavirus deaths for a more sinister political agenda.
Leahy: We are joined now by our good friend, all-star panelist, and former Vanderbilt Professor Carol Swain. Good morning Carol. How are you doing? Are you sheltering safety at home?
Swain: I’m doing my best. I’m getting antsy like everyone else.
Leahy: Yes! Yes indeed. I said yesterday you’ve heard of cabin fever. I am suffering now apparently from studio fever. What that means is that I come into the studio every day and wear my gloves and my face mask and unlike the way it’s usually been, when I have my friends here in the studio with me you are here every Thursday and Crom is here typically Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Kerry Roberts is here on Tuesdays. Now we don’t get to sit here in person and have fun. We’re stuck talking over the phone. It’s a little bit different isn’t Carol?
Swain: It is different. I was thinking this day whether there would ever be a return to normal in the sense of the crowds that you had downtown. The tourism industry. I believe that if the model that they are pushing now as far as how they are handling the coronavirus. If they pursue that, then I don’t see people traveling for tourism anytime soon.
And then businesses can impose all kinds of restrictions. I think schools and a lot of parents are going to decide to home school so that’s going to hurt the public school system. And a lot of jobs people will decide really who they need and who they don’t need.
Leahy: Yes. I see that happening. I see a bit of restructuring here. I have been very critical of Governor Lee’s decision to use the blunt instrument of the stay at home order and the blunt instrument of shutting down what “non-essential” businesses until April 30 in a state where it appears that we really have a much lesser problem than most other states.
We are on the decline in terms of the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. I say open up 85 of the state counties now and begin elective surgery. In those other 85 counties let those schools go back and let kids start learning again. Carol. you and I often see things the same way but don’t always. Sometimes we disagree. I’d be curious to see what your view on the governor’s actions are?
Swain: Governor Lee has been a disappointment from day one. I believe that he has a pattern of listening to the wrong people. So yes, the state should be reopened. And if he wants to use his powers to shut down “non-essential” businesses. Then what about the liquor stores and abortion clinics that are operating in Nashville? If he has state authority then shut down the liquor stores and shut down the abortion clinics.
Leahy: You make a good point. Let’s go back to this. He’s said and has loudly professed that he’s an Evangelical Christian. And there’s no reason to doubt that of course.
Swain: You should always run when somebody leads with I’m a Christian.
Leahy: Oh yes. Oh yes. Let’s just look at the science of this. I think the science of this is wrong in this regard. It’s ok to go to a liquor store and buy liquor. There is no constraint there whether you wear a face mask or not. They don’t say wear a face mask.
And you’re going to come within six feet of somebody there. It’s ok to go to a grocery store. A lot of people aren’t wearing face masks there. A lot of people are coming within six feet of others. Liquor stores and grocery stores are going to have an opportunity to spread the virus you would think right?
Swain: Yeah. But let’s go back. It’s ok to get an abortion at the same time people across the country are claiming that they are trying to save lives and every state or city that’s run by Democrats have abortion clinics open. And the governor has all this authority to shut down businesses. Again, why hasn’t he shut down the liquor stores and the abortion clinics?
Leahy: So you can get an abortion in Tennessee under Governor Lee’s rule today.
Swain: (Chuckles) I checked this out. I called the clinic yesterday and I also went to their website where you could schedule it.
Leahy: So you can do it here in Nashville. And the governor is allowing that but he’s prohibiting going to the dentist. You can’t get normal elective surgery in Crockett County for instance where there is like zero cases of coronavirus. This seems inconsistent and bad science, and public policy to me.
Swain: I agree. When we talk about elective surgery, we are not talking about plastic surgery. We are talking about people who may have a cancer diagnosis that’s not growing aggressively doctors believe it can be scheduled. People may be in great pain from knee surgery where these people may be suffering. And it has to do with scheduling whether or not it’s considered elective.
Leahy: Yeah. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s inconsistent to me. The other thing is the governor has a press release out today that says we’re going to do aggressive testing. Well, they’re going to do a few remote testing sites. But I looked at the statistics and yesterday they only did in the state of Tennessee 2,000 tests. 80,000 have been done. There is a population of 6.5 million.
The state of Tennessee is way behind where it should be with testing right now. And that is a more important responsibility of the governor than this draconian shut everything down all across the state when it’s not needed in really 85% of the state.
Swain: I can tell you that I have a friend that’s been driving around snapping photos of testing sites. And testing sites were set up for people who suspected they might have COVID-19 because they had some kinds of symptoms. And every time he has driven by the place and taken photos there is nobody in line. This whole coronavirus pandemic scare, it’s not a hoax.
I’m not saying it’s a hoax but I’m saying that it has been greatly exaggerated for political purposes. We know from the CDC coding that they are inflating the numbers with people who have flu and various other things when it comes to the deaths. And as far as the people who test positive for it, most of them are just fine. 98% of them are just fine. And the ones who have difficulty are the ones who fall into those high-risk categories.
Leahy: Let’s be clear about it. You don’t want to get this. And you don’t want it to develop into a bad situation. And you don’t want to have to be hospitalized and then go into intensive care. And then be put on a ventilator because that’s not a good path.
But the reality is although it is more transmissible than the flu and has a higher mortality rate particularly if you have underlying conditions. Here in the state of Tennessee we’ve had 135 deaths out of a population of 6.8 million.
Swain: But those deaths you also have a CDC is encouraging doctors and hospitals to code anyone who dies that may have had a fever or cough as a COVID-19 death. And so those numbers we have every reason to believe that tat those death numbers in the United States are inflated. Even with the inflated numbers, the death rate given our population size is miniscule.
Leahy: That’s a very good point. Of course in New York City they’ve decided to rig the numbers and have now said, well even if you didn’t test positive for COVID-19, if we presumed you died of COVID-19 we’re adding you to the list. They inflated the number of dead there by about 3,500. That’s crazy.
Swain: But they are following CDC guidelines and those guidelines have been put out all across the country. There is something else going on that is far more sinister than COVID-19. We are talking about government control.
Listen to the full second hour:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Background Photo “Bill Lee Press Conference” by The Tennessean.