Governor Bill Lee called out Tennessee for its recent Thanksgiving gatherings as selfish, indifferent, and foolish decisions. The governor issued these remarks during a press conference as some of the first COVID-19 vaccines were administered at Vanderbilt University.
“We do stand here and celebrate a tremendous breakthrough in this pandemic,” stated Lee. “But there is a darkness before the dawn that’s happening right here in Tennessee – we have to recognize that. Tennessee’s cases are surging. The holidays have caught up with us. Decisions that some made during Thanksgiving have a severe reality in this hospital and all across Tennessee today.”
The governor didn’t explain what decisions he was referring to, nor did he explain how they led to a spike in cases. The Tennessee Department of Health released case reports this week; some county health officials attributed the spikes to Thanksgiving gatherings.
Lee admonished the people of Tennessee for being inconsiderate by choosing to visit friends and family during the holidays, or opting to not wear a mask.
“One thing that this vaccine will not solve, one thing that it will not cure, is selfishness or indifference to what’s happening to our neighbors around us,” continued Lee. “This vaccine will not cure foolish decisions about how we gather. It won’t cure an attitude of a refusal to wear a mask. It won’t cure the idea that I will take my chances and that will not impact someone else’s life. I think Tennesseans have a tremendous capacity right now to responsibly make decisions that will serve their neighbor in the process. This vaccine is a very powerful tool – but it will take some time to have a real impact. And in the meantime, it is the very simple things that Tennesseans can do that will help us turn the tide on COVID-19 in our state.”
Lee asserted that the decision to wear a mask would possibly prevent the wearer from having to be treated in a hospital. Tennessee’s state of emergency is set to expire December 29th. It is unclear whether the governor will continue to extend the order after the year’s end. December 1st marked the ninth month of the national emergency.
In light of Lee’s latest remarks, The Tennessee Star asked spokespersons within the governor’s office if Lee intends on implementing any statewide mandates ahead of Christmas or in the coming months. Their spokespersons didn’t respond by press time.
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