NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Governor Bill Lee faced backlash for a statement during a live town hall on Fox News Thursday.
During a discussion about life in Republican states versus Democratic states, the governor brought up the fact that Tennessee students were not out of the classroom for a year like others.
"I don't think any kid ought to wear a mask. If you want to follow the science, you wouldn't have kids in a school wearing masks when kids do not get sick from COVID. That's science, and that's what we ought to be doing," Lee said.
On Friday, the group Protect My Care released statements condemning his comments:
“Governor Lee is lying to Tennesseans. He continues to spread COVID misinformation, endangering our children and our state’s recovery," said Dr. Jason Martin, a Tennessee critical care physician.
“While serious illnesses in children are less common than in adults, right now -- today -- there are children hospitalized with critical illness from COVID with life-threatening disease. In addition, many children who recover from COVID suffer long-term, and possibly permanent effects that we do not even fully know the scope of yet.” said Martin.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Tennessee Department of Health, children can and have gotten sick from COVID-19.
In Tennessee, a total of 48,142 children, ages 0-10, have contracted COVID-19 and five of them have died from the virus, according to the TDH.
According to the CDC, similar to adults, children with severe COVID-19 may develop respiratory failure, myocarditis, shock, acute renal failure, coagulopathy, and multi-organ system failure. Some children with COVID-19 have developed other serious problems like intussusception or diabetic ketoacidosis.
Across the country and here in Tennessee health officials saw children with COVID-19 develop other serious problems like intussusception or diabetic ketoacidosis. Children infected with SARS-CoV-2 are also at risk for developing Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, something that has been reported in Tennessee.
Thursday night's town hall was hosted in Nashville by Sean Hannity and was taped at the J.W. Marriott hotel in downtown Wednesday night as part of the Republican Governors Association conference. It featured five other GOP governors - New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.