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Gov. Bill Lee signs election bills from virus-paused session

Bill Lee
Posted at 11:58 AM, Apr 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-04 12:58:47-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has signed several election law changes that lawmakers passed before they recessed due to the coronavirus.

Changes to voter registration penalties were hailed as a win by groups that sued and convinced a judge to block the harsher restrictions passed last year.

The new law removes misdemeanor penalties for not completing certain administrative requirements and eliminates fines for submitting too many incomplete registration forms.

Another law allows approved use of emergency supersites if polling places are rendered unusable, largely in response to Super Tuesday tornadoes. Efforts to expand absentee voting during the pandemic were defeated.

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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.

Prevention

The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.