Pandemic Resurgence in Michigan Prompts Whitmer to Ask for Two-Week Shutdown of Indoor Dining, School Sports, in-Person Learning

Closed storefront

 A surge in COVID-19 cases in Michigan has prompted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to promote a two-week, voluntary lockdown of indoor dining, suspension of school sports and a full return to remote education.

Although she noted more than five million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, the governor added the pandemic continued to wreak havoc in the state.

For example, Michigan hospitals reported 3,508 COVID-19 patients on Thursday. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also released data on Thursday that revealed the state’s COVID-19 positivity rate was 492.1 cases per 100,000 people, the highest positivity case rate in the nation.

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Knoxville Marks One Year of ‘Safer-at-Home’ Order; Other Tennessee Counties Allow Mask Mandates to Expire

April Fool’s Day marks one year since Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon issued the “safer-at-home” order, after three counties dropped their mask mandates. The counties of Hamblen, Roane, and Claiborn allowed their mandates to expire on Wednesday. Similar “15 days to slow the spread” practices turned into weeks, then months, and now, for many across Tennessee and the country.

Kincannon’s Safer at Home order lasted for nearly a month. It prohibited gatherings over 10 and forced closure of all “nonessential” businesses. The order empowered city officials with regulatory authority to take action against anyone who violated the order. The city even made available a non-compliance reporting process to enforce the order – which is still active.

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Commentary: New Census Data Show Homeschooling Tripled During the Pandemic—And One Key Group Is Driving the Surge

My daughter had a friend over this week whose parents just took her out of public school for homeschooling, and my neighbor recently unenrolled her child from public school to homeschool for the rest of the academic year. These families are much more than local anecdotes—they are representative of a national trend.

New Census Bureau data show that 11.1 percent of K-12 students are now being independently homeschooled. This is a large uptick from 5.4 percent at the start of the school shutdowns last spring, and 3.3 percent in the years preceding the pandemic.

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Bill to Exempt Houses of Worship from Emergency Closures Delayed

Final voting on a bill addressing government control over worship services during public emergencies, already heavily altered, will be delayed by one week for further potential changes. The bill’s sponsor, State Representative Rusty Grills (R-Newbern), indicated Monday that he would review the bill further to consider the concerns of Democratic State Representatives London Lamar (D-Memphis) and Harold Love, Jr. (D-Nashville). Lamar and Love raised concerns that governments couldn’t do enough to curb church activity during pandemics under the bill; Lamar argued that religious institutions would be fine if they were ordered to meet virtually.

The adopted amendment has already altered the bill entirely. The original provisions prohibited closures and limitations of churches or religious organizations, including their religious services or activities. In the amended version, the bill would only prohibit state and local governments and agencies from closing churches or religious organizations. It wouldn’t protect houses of worship from any governmental restrictions or limitations.

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Social Media Doesn’t Allow Posts That Break COVID-19 Narratives, Even Though Health Organizations Keep Backtracking Previous Findings

Social media companies have policed coronavirus-related content based on information from top health organizations, even as those organizations have contradicted themselves.

Facebook and Google instituted policies early in the pandemic restricting user content shared on their platforms to information that doesn’t contradict World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) findings. However, the organizations have contradicted, backtracked or retracted their own findings throughout the pandemic.

Facebook’s policy states that the site “will debunk common myths that have been identified by the World Health Organization.” Shortly after coronavirus was declared a pandemic, Facebook announced its “Coronavirus Information Center,” which curates updates from “organizations such as the World Health Organization.”

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Dave Ramsey Endorses Medical Non-Discrimination Business & Consumer Act

Famed financial guru Dave Ramsey endorsed a bill that would prohibit discrimination against consumers for not having masks or the COVID-19 vaccine. The bill covers more – it also would shield customers from discrimination based on the use of a medical device or having received any sort of medical treatment. 

Tennessee Stands, a local grassroots nonprofit social advocacy organization, produced the legislation. The organization has also produced the Religious Exemption Protection Act, which died in subcommittee on Tuesday, and a resolution proposing a constitutional amendment addressing emergencies.

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Vaccinations Slow After Storms Delay Shipments of 6 Million COVID-19 Doses

The extreme cold weather across much of the country has delayed 6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, slowing a vaccination rate that has been steadily rising since the Biden administration took office last month.

The backlogged doses account for roughly three days’ of delayed shipments affecting all 50 states, due to road closures, snowed-in workers and power outages, said Andy Slavitt, senior adviser on the White House’s COVID-19 response, during a news conference Friday.

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Harlan Hill Commentary: With ‘Republicans’ Like Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Who Needs Democrats?

by Harlan Hill   Due to their Republican leadership, many great states like Florida are open for business while successfully managing and mitigating the COVID-19 crisis. The same cannot be said for Ohio: you’d be forgiven for mistaking its leadership as Liberal. Ohio is not open, as its Republican-in-name-only Governor…

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Home Schooling in Minnesota Skyrocketed 50% Amid School Closures

Homeschoolers

A Friday report from the Minnesota Department of Education confirmed what many have suspected all along: parents are opting to take their children out of public schools.

Overall public-school enrollment decreased by 2% between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years, MDE said in its report, which translates to a net loss of about 17,000 students. This decrease was driven largely by a 9% drop in public kindergarten enrollment, according to the MDE.

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After Around 25K Truant and 6K Transferred Students, Metro Nashville Public Schools Announces It Will Resume In-Person Learning

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) announced Monday that phased in-person learning would begin this week. The news was presented at a press conference on Monday. MNPS Board Chair Christiane Buggs, MNPS Director Dr. Adrienne Battle, Meharry Medical College President and CEO Dr. James Hildreth, Meharry Medical College Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement Patrick Johnson, and Nashville Mayor John Cooper were present.

According to the reopening plan, special needs students at Genesis Academy and High Roads School of Nashville will return to classrooms on Thursday. Then, preschoolers, K-4 students, and those with exceptional needs may return starting February 9. Grades 5 and 9 may return on February 18, followed by grades 6, 7, and 8 on February 25. The last to return will be the remainder of high schoolers – grades 10-12 – on March 3. 

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Governor Lee Refutes Representative Cohen Claims on Shorted Distribution of COVID Vaccines

In a letter to Memphis Mayor Strickland, Governor Bill Lee refuted recent claims that the COVID-19 vaccines weren’t distributed equally to Shelby County.

“[I]t has been reported that Shelby County has not received an equitable share of vaccine doses relative to other counties across the state. However – and I want to be clear and unmistakable about this – any such claims are incorrect,” stated Lee.

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Medical Center Suspended Six Months from Administering Vaccines After Vaccinating Teachers Without State Permission

The Medical Center of Elberton has been barred temporarily from administering COVID-19 vaccines after mistakenly vaccinating teachers and other school staff without state permission. The medical center reportedly vaccinated around 40 percent of the Elbert County School District employees.

For that, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) suspended the medical center from receiving vaccine supplies for 6 months.

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Mayor Cooper Claims Metro Schools May Open Up ‘Very Soon’

Mayor John Cooper claimed on Thursday that Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) may open up in the near future. He cited the downturn in local COVID-19 case metrics as the main indicator of this prediction, though he didn’t offer any specific timelines.

“[O]ur COVID metrics continue to improve,” stated Cooper. “We’re working with public health and MNPS to evaluate the timely and responsible return of an in-person learning option on a daily basis. Current case trends will allow MNPS to have an in-person option very soon.”

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Tennessee Legislator Proposes Bill Preventing Businesses from Denying Service to Maskless or Unvaccinated Customers

State Senator Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) filed a bill for introduction that would amend certain aspects of the Tennessee Code relative to discrimination. Senate Bill 320 would expand the Code’s provisions to prevent businesses from denying services to individuals who don’t wear or use a certain medical device, or if they haven’t received a certain medical treatment. It would also prevent local government entities from enforcing individual compliance with those medical devices or treatments.

Medical devices covered by the bill are instruments; apparatuses; implements; machines; appliances; implants; reagents for in vitro use; softwares; and materials such as face masks, shields, or cloth coverings. Medical treatments are procedures or medications such as immunizations. 

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EPA Approves Tennessee’s Use of Technology That Kills Over 98 Percent of Airborne COVID-19 Particles

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will allow Tennessee to use technology that reportedly kills over 98 percent of airborne COVID-19 particles. The emergency exemption request was approved under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

The antiviral air treatment, Grignard Pure, is composed of Triethylene Glycol (TEG) vapor and nanoparticles that permeate and kill the COVID-19 virus particles by disrupting the protein and membrane structures. The EPA confirmed prior independent lab reports that the treatment kills over 98 percent of COVID-19 particles.

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EPA Approves Georgia’s Use of Technology That Kills Over 98 Percent of Airborne COVID-19 Particles

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will allow Georgia to use technology that reportedly kills over 98 percent of airborne COVID-19 particles. The emergency exemption request was approved under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

The antiviral air treatment, Grignard Pure, is composed of Triethylene Glycol (TEG) vapor and nanoparticles that permeate and kill the COVID-19 virus particles by disrupting the protein and membrane structures. The EPA confirmed prior independent lab reports that the treatment kills over 98 percent of COVID-19 particles.

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Knox County Commission Delays Vote Finalizing Eliminating Powers of County’s Board of Health

The Knox County Commission opted to delay the final vote to eliminate or maintain Knox County Board of Health’s powers. The commission voted on Monday to postpone the deciding vote for 90 days.

If passed, the measure would revert all decision-making powers to Knox County Health Department Director Dr. Martha Buchanan. Early last month, the commission took the first step to dissolve the Board of Health and reconstitute it as an advisory board. As previously reported by The Tennessee Star, the proposal sponsor, Commissioner Kyle Ward, has argued that the measure would protect the community’s financial health.

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Metro Nashville School Board Doesn’t Have a Set Date for Reopening Schools

Tuesday’s school board meeting made it clear that Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) doesn’t have an exact date for getting kids back in the classroom. As in past weeks, Metro Nashville Board of Public Education reiterated that reopening would be contingent on the level of community spread charted by the city.

In a director’s report presented by District 6 representative Fran Bush, it was revealed that the current level of community spread sits at 8. Bush repeated the same information found on the MNPS website regarding reopening: in order to gradually reopen, the measurement needs to be at 7 or below.

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Tennessee General Assembly Convenes Special Session on Education Reforms Necessitated by Pandemic

The Tennessee General Assembly convened for a special session to discuss learning loss and literacy reforms introduced by the governor’s office. State officials are proposing a series of reforms they dubbed “targeted intervention.” The first bill would establish a full-time tutoring core, after-school camps, learning loss bridge camps, and summer learning camps. Additionally, the second bill proposed a third grade “reading gate” to ensure students are prepared before entering fourth grade and that K-3 educators teach phonics as the primary form of reading, which would be complemented by a screening tool for parents’ use.

The impact of standardized testing also faces reforms. The third bill would keep the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) in place for the 2021 school year, but wouldn’t impose any negative consequences on student assessment. This would ensure that educators and families have a benchmark to assess student progress, but no teacher or district would face penalties based on those TCAP results. Under the fourth bill, the state would adjust the state budget to give pay raises to all teachers immediately.

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Tennessee Health Officials Warn of COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) warned individuals about scammers attempting to sell COVID-19 vaccines or spots on the vaccine wait list. The messaging was addressed to all Tennesseans, but heavily emphasized relaying the warning to the elderly.

TDH listed several common tactics they’d learned were being solicited by door-to-door scammers. These scams encouraged individuals to issue a payment in order to obtain the vaccine, placement on a vaccine priority list, and early access to the vaccine.

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Tennessee Reports 90 Percent Decrease in Flu Cases Between Last Weeks of 2019 and 2020; Yet COVID Cases Increased

Despite COVID-19 cases spiking around the same time, Tennessee experienced a marked decrease in flu cases last month. Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) data sets from the last week of 2019 and 2020 revealed a 90 percent decrease in overall flu cases. The end of December registered a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, near the all-time high in the state’s positivity rates.

TDH recorded over 6,700 flu cases in the final week of 2019, as compared to just over 600 during the last week of 2020. Last month, the percentage of individuals with flu-like illnesses visiting the reporting healthcare sites was exactly 2 percent; the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) baseline for Tennessee sits at around 3 percent. According to the CDC, two or more consecutive weeks that fall under 2 percent reporting constitutes a “non-influenza week.”

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Victor Davis Hanson Commentary: If You Thought 2020 Was Hard, Wait Until You Get a Load of 2021

The proper conservative response to last Wednesday’s violent entry into the Capitol and vandalism, as well as assaults on law-enforcement, is to identify the guilty parties and ensure they are arrested.

Such deterrence will prevent any future devolution from legal popular protests into thuggery. No constitutional republic can tolerate its iconic heart stormed, breached, and defiled.

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Georgia House Democratic Caucus COVID-19 Subcommittee Petitions Governor for Mandatory Shelter-in-Place, Mask Mandates, and Social Gathering Restrictions

The Georgia House Democratic Caucus Subcommittee on COVID-19 requested that Governor Brian Kemp implement more emergency regulations to address the new COVID-19 strain. Subcommittee members are State Representatives Rhonda Burnough (D-Riverdale), Viola Davis, (D-Stone Mountain), Shelly Hutchinson (D-Snellville), Donna McLeod (D-Lawrenceville), Sandra Scott (D-Rex), and Kim Schofieeld (D-Atlanta). 

The letter requested that Kemp expand the emergency orders to require everyone to either shelter-in-place, or do a combination of the following: cease all in-person schooling; further limit gatherings in bars, clubs, and restaurants; impose a statewide mask mandate; and establish moratoriums on evictions and utility cutoffs for all of this upcoming year.

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Dave Portnoy’s ‘Barstool Fund’ Raises $20M, Helps More Than 90 Small Businesses

The Barstool Fund, created by Dave Portnoy, has helped raise more than $20 million, helping nearly 100 small businesses hurt during the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns. Portnoy started the Barstool Fund one month ago with his own $500,000 to help small businesses.

The fundraiser has raised $20,119,270 from more than 156,000 donors and has aided 92 small businesses across the country as of Thursday evening.

Earlier in the day, Portnoy announced his fundraising success on Twitter, but stressed that their mission is far from over.

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Knox County Commission Votes to Strip Its Board of Health’s Powers Over Policy

Knox County Commission voted to strip the county’s board of health of its powers to issue mandates on Tuesday. Instead of having the power to impose regulations, the Knox County Board of Health will be limited to serving as an advisory group. After a heated, divided exchange lasting eight hours, the commission voted 6-4 in favor of diminishing the board’s authority, with one commissioner abstaining their vote.

The decision followed the board’s latest regulations limiting social gatherings and in-person dining. At the beginning of this month, the board imposed a social gathering limit of 10 people within 360 square feet, with limited exceptions including nursing homes.  Two weeks later, the board elected to limit restaurants and bars to 50 percent capacity, and impose a curfew limiting in-person services lasting from 10 pm to 5 am.

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MTS Nutrition CEO Marc Lobliner Floats 2022 Run Against Governor Bill Lee, Discovers He’s Not Eligible

Marc Lobliner announced that he would run in 2022 against Governor Bill Lee – if not for the state’s residency requirement. According to the law, an individual must reside in the state for at least seven years prior to the gubernatorial election. Lobliner moved to Tennessee at the end of last summer.

The massive fitness influencer issued the statement in response Governor Bill Lee’s latest executive order. Since Sunday, in-person gatherings have been limited to 10 or less people. The order didn’t indicate what the punishments were if not followed. The order also “strongly urged” employers to implement remote working, and for individuals to maintain social distancing and practice health department guidelines for weddings, funerals, and worship services. The order ends in about a month, on January 19th. 

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Tennessee Nurse Who Fainted After Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine Says It Was Due to Underlying Condition

The nurse who appeared to faint after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in a viral video has recovered, according to a statement issued by her employer. Tiffany Dover, a nurse at CHI Memorial Hospital, reportedly came close to passing out due to a medical condition unrelated to the vaccination.

The hospital also cited information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website, which stated that fainting sometimes occurs after all types of vaccinations.

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Ohio Sees Spike in Drug Overdose Deaths as Pandemic Rages

Nineteen counties in Ohio have exceeded or equaled records for the most overdoses in a year as the nation continues to see a spike in drug overdoses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Harm Reduction Ohio, a drug policy advocacy group which says it is the largest distributor of naloxone in the state, says the biggest increases in death caused by overdoses have occurred in central and east Ohio.

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Tennessee’s Congress Members Rushed to Issue Same-Day Vote on the 5600 Page Stimulus Bill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scheduled a vote Monday evening for a hefty bill dropped on Congress earlier that same day. The spending bill totals nearly 5,600 pages.

The bill was unavailable prior to this afternoon, a delay reportedly caused by “computer glitch[es].” In addition to the $900 billion in pandemic stimulus spending, the bill includes $1.4 trillion for other expenditures. 

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Pandemic Restrictions Cause a Rash of Closures in Atlanta Restaurant Scene

Over 25 area restaurants closed their doors for good – several that have been in business for decades – due to the impact of Health Department stay-at-home orders and restrictions on business operations that began in March 2020 with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A few days after Thanksgiving, Governor Brian Kemp issued an executive order further restricting restaurant operations. The Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) published a statement shortly after.

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Governor Bill Lee Admonishes Citizens for Their Thanksgiving Gatherings as ‘Selfish, Indifferent, Foolish’ Decisions

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.”

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Vanderbilt Poll: 88 Percent of Tennessee’s Republican Voters Doubt Legitimacy of Presidential Election

A Vanderbilt University poll suggested that 88 percent of Tennessee’s registered Republican voters doubt the legitimacy of the presidential election. According to the university, the poll’s purpose was to discover any correlation between support of the COVID-19 vaccine and views on the election’s integrity. The poll lasted 21 days, surveying just over 1,000 individuals. Nowhere in their methodology did the research include the exact number of Republicans, Democrats, independent, and “other” respondents.

A supplementary video summarizing the polling results noted that 83 percent of Democrats pose a large public health problem, as opposed to 47 percent of Republicans. After providing that information, the video noted that 97 percent of Democrats believed nationwide votes from the Presidential election were counted fairly and accurately, as opposed to 12 percent of Republicans.

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Survey: Mental Health Continues to Plummet Amid Pandemic, Hits 20-Year Low

Americans’ mental health has plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic as lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures remain in effect across the country, according to a survey published Monday.

Mental health is worse than any other point in the last two decades, Gallup reported on Monday. A survey conducted by Gallup showed 76% of Americans reported their mental health as either excellent or good, a decline from past surveys in which more than 80% of Americans reported positive mental health.

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Senator Blackburn: Democrats Are Working with Us to Pass COVID-19 Relief

Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) shared that the current COVID-19 relief bill is a bipartisan effort closer to $1 trillion. The senator explained in a press conference Thursday that the move is favored by Democratic legislators over efforts by House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

“The good thing is that there are Democrats that have said to Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer that they think it is wrong to hold out for a $3 trillion dollar deal, and saddle our future generations with that debt. So they’re working with some Republicans on a bill that is closer to a trillion dollars. So, the bill that we as a Republican conference had agreed on was about a $600 billion bill.”

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Michigan Restaurant Owner Loses Franchise with Big Boy for Breaking Pandemic Restrictions

The owner of a restaurant in Sandusky, Michigan, says it is being “forced to terminate” its contract with the Big Boy franchise over its decision to stay open despite pandemic restrictions. 

A recent order from the state of Michigan has closed indoor restaurant dining in the state from November 18 to December 8. It also closed in-person learning for college and high schools, movie theaters, bowling alleys and arcades. The order additionally cancels group fitness classes and organized sports. 

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Faith and Freedom Rally Protests Mayor Cooper Rule of 8: ‘Make America Godly Again’

Monday afternoon in downtown Nashville, a rally of just over 100 people protested the latest gathering limit from Mayor John Cooper. None of the police were present at the Legislative Plaza steps where everyone gathered.

Cooper coined the term “Rule of 8” for the city’s latest pandemic-related order ahead of Thanksgiving. The event description on Facebook described the rule as “ridiculous and unconstitutional.”

Pastor Greg Locke hosted the protest. Locke announced the event during the third “Stop the Steal” rally last Saturday – Trump supporters have pledged to gather every weekend until the general election lawsuits are resolved.

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DeWine Says He Does Not Want Second Lockdown, Calls for ‘Slow Down’

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said during a press conference on Monday that he is not planning to impose a second full lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, instead calling for a “slow down” in the state.

Ohio is currently seeing thousands of new cases of COVID-19 each day, with nearly 8,000 new cases added on Monday, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project.

“Instead of shutting down, we have to slow down,” DeWine said at a conference from the Tri-State Airport in West Virginia, according to Fox8. “We have to slow down in our individual lives and our decisions in what we are doing.”

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Parents and Members of Loudoun County Republican Women’s Club Protest Distance Learning

A gathering of parked cars blared their horns as dusk fell over the parking lot. Parents arrived once more on a Tuesday evening to protest against distance learning at the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) board meeting.

After parents finished honking, they joined the meeting so that they can speak to the board directly. November 10th marked the fourth “Honk for Back-to-School” that parents and community members have attended. These individuals continue to protest the total distance learning at LCPS. 

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Fact-Checkers Rate Viral Video Alleging Whitmer Used Health Officials to Block Poll Challengers As ‘Partly False’

Fact-checkers have ruled a viral video “partly false” after it alleged that Governor Gretchen Whitmer sent health officials to bar poll challengers. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) was present during ballot counting at TCF Center on Wednesday.

It is reported that Whitmer sent MDHHS because the 40,000 square foot building was at capacity for COVID-19 restrictions. In the video, the woman stood alone on the second floor of the building. On camera, MDHHS officials were removing and barring entry to poll challengers.

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Commentary: Government Can’t Count Ballots, So How Can It Possibly Manage a Pandemic or Our Health Care?

Elections are a nasty business, but sometimes they can be clarifying.

We don’t yet know who won the US presidential election, and we may not for days or weeks to come. This stems largely from the ineptitude Americans witnessed on Election Tuesday.

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Governor Lee Grants $5 Million to Charter Schools Based on ‘Significant Academic Growth’

Governor Bill Lee announced Wednesday a $5 million grant for charter schools that had exhibited academic growth. The governor’s Emergency Relief Fund (GEER) will source the funds.

These grant will be referred to as “Charter School Support Grants.” Lee’s decision marked the first grant for charter schools during COVID-19.

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Governor Lee Extends State of Emergency Through End of Year

Governor Bill Lee has officially extended the state of emergency for the remainder of 2020.
The executive order followed Lee’s own quarantine due to exposure from the coronavirus. The extension of the order means that Tennessee will receive further federal funding, mayors can continue to implement their own guidelines, and government officials can continue to meet virtually.

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More Tennessee Counties Re-Issue Mask Mandates and Public Health Emergencies

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased this month, more Tennessee counties are re-issuing mask mandates. Tennessee has nearly 250,000 confirmed cases, 88 percent of which have recovered.
Montgomery County issued the most recent mask mandate on Tuesday. Other counties with mandates include Williamson, Wilson, Rutherford, and Sumner. These mask mandates adhere to guidelines issued under Governor Bill Lee.

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Retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander Defends Dr. Fauci’s COVID-19 Advice

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) defended Dr. Anthony Fauci’s COVID-19 advice after President Donald Trump’s remarks.
The senator also stated that people weren’t doing enough to counteract the spread of the virus.

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New Research Shows Excess of Non-COVID Deaths Increased Over Course of Pandemic

New research from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) shows that excess, non-COVID-19 deaths increased over the course of the pandemic. The authors theorized that the pandemic caused “disruptions” that led to these deaths.

Non-COVID deaths accounted for over thirty percent of the overall excess deaths. The most significant non-COVID causes of death were heart disease, Alzheimer disease, and dementia. 

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Belmont University Condemns Sunday Worship Protest, Cites COVID Safety Concerns – Never Addresses Protests

Belmont University sent out an email to students condemning Sunday’s worship protest and asking students to self-report if they attended. The university cited concern over the “city’s ability to manage the spread of this virus.”

“Regardless of your personal views about COVID-related restrictions on religious worship, events like this severely challenge our city’s ability to manage the spread of this virus,” read the email. “If you are a Belmont student and you did attend this event without wearing a mask and maintaining proper distance from others, please contact Health Services so they can evaluate your potential exposure and determine if a period of quarantine or being tested is necessary.”

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