Tennessee hits ‘grim milestone’ of 1 million reported COVID-19 cases, over 13,000 deaths

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – For some, the last year and a half has been more than tough.

The news of Tennessee passing one million reported COVID-19 cases worries people like Nashvillian Anita French, whose dad died of COVID.

“I’ve had two other family members die of it in the last year,” French said. “We’ve had four to five other family members in the hospital with it, my mom literally has to stay in a nursing home now.”

Frontline doctors say the one million case number is likely an underestimation.

“Crossing the milestone of over a million victims of COVID-19 is a grim one,” Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Director of the Infectious Diseases Division, Dr. David Aronoff said. “That’s basically, 1 out of every 7 people in the state having been diagnosed with COVID-19, let alone the fact that many people who have had Covid have not been tested and didn’t know that they had it.”

The increase in cases has sent thousands of students home in recent days doctors say every step must be taken to slow the spread.

“For everyone over the age of 12 this is now a preventable disease, so our vaccines are effective, and they are safe and we now have one that has full FDA approval for 12 and up,” said Dr. Diana Sepehri-Harvey, a Board Certified Family Practice Physician in Franklin.

But with no mass mitigation plans in place and a 41 percent vaccination rate, ranking near the bottom of all states, doctors say things are bound to get worse.

“We know from patterns that we’re right now in the middle of a very steep surge, our numbers currently in pediatric Covid cases in Tennessee, according to Tennessee Department of Health — is the highest it has ever been,” Sepehri-Harvey said.

Just 48% of Tennesseans have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We sent both of our children back to school this year and my daughter has been home,” French said. “[She] has had the Covid test twice in three weeks because 4 children in her classroom had been diagnosed with covid since just school started back.”

Nearly all COVID-19 deaths in hospitals now have been among the unvaccinated.

News 2 reached out to Governor Bill Lee for comment on the one million covid-19 cases and, as of Wednesday afternoon, have not heard back.

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