Local infectious disease expert says governor's message doesn't go far enough

Posted at 6:51 AM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 08:38:27-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Doctors across the state are reacting to Governor Lee's Sunday night announcement.

Infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center Dr. William Schaffner said the coronavirus is spreading in an "uninhibited fashion" across the state.

Although he's pleased to see the governor is taking some additional steps, Dr. Schaffner thinks he could do more, including a statewide mask mandate.

While patients are being doubled up in hospital rooms to create space, Dr. Schaffner says hospital personnel are facing serious strains.

"You need nurses, you need technicians, you need doctors. Everybody in our health care institutions is working harder, over time, intensely," he said.

Our NewsChannel 5 political analyst Pat Nolan said recent polling shows Governor Bill Lee's approval rating has gone down.

Nolan added the governor could face serious opposition when running for re-election if he were to implement a mask mandate.

"He doesn't show much signs of wanting to change his mind about imposing a mask mandate, so I wouldn't think that even if it gets worse he'll likely do that. He just does not think that this is a role that government ought to play to try to do that. It has to be done by what individuals want to do," said Nolan.