NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s been two weeks since Governor Bill Lee made himself available to answer questions about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and Tennessee’s response.
That trend continued Monday, as Lee attended several events in Middle Tennessee. The governor has recently opted for photo opportunities instead of answering questions as Tennessee is still facing a deadly pandemic.
“I’ll follow up with you,” a spokesperson for Lee said as he hurried to get to his SUV.
Lee, following an economic announcement in downtown Nashville briefly commented on the state of Tennessee’s vaccination efforts. Saying he is encouraged with the number of vaccines that have gone out.
“If you look at second vaccines we’re 12th in the nation… so we’re pretty encouraged,” Lee said.
According to the CDC, Tennessee is among a handful of states including Texas, Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia — lagging behind the rest of the nation in vaccination distribution per capita.
“The importance of being vaccinated and increasing the opportunities at different locations— I think that’s the key,” Nashville Democrat, Rep. Harold Love said.
Tennessee is averaging between 25,000 and 30,000 doses per 100,000 people.
But while Lee tackles the pandemic as governor… top medical experts say he’s sending mixed signals.
Governor Lee visited Broadway maskless.
Meharry Medical College President James Hildreth the President Meharry Medical college is responding.
“The governor has to make the choices he makes for whatever reason he’s making them. But I’m a little bit concerned that we may be sending mixed messages here. All of us are excited that vaccines are rolling out and that people are getting vaccinated, but there is still a need until we achieve herd immunity,” he said.
Hildreth added, like the governor, he supports local businesses and encourages other to do so in a responsible manner.
Lee skirted the issue when pressed about not wearing a mask even as Nashville remains under a mask mandate.
“I think that it’s appropriate to highlight the need for our businesses on Broadway to be opened up and for people to come back and to keep our economy moving,” Governor Bill Lee said.
The governor headed to another photo-op event where he was, once again, not scheduled to take questions. He did confirm that he plans to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but when or where is still unknown.
1.8 million Tennesseans have received a vaccine and 650,000 Tennesseans are fully vaccinated.
Lee’s next availability is later in the week in West Tennessee.