According to NPR, as of Monday morning, Tennessee has just under 10,000 confirmed cases, and saw an increase on Sunday of 478 cases, a “5.2% increase from the previous day.” Next door, newly elected Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky, who has pushed for more serious public health stay-at-home measures, has seen considerably lower numbers (even when you take population differences into account). And while you might think that Gov. Lee would look out his back door and consider emulating the Kentucky governor, you would be wrong.
Trying to explain numbers or science or facts to people like Aubrey Whitlock, a North Carolina “ReOpen” organizer who has tested positive for the virus and may have attended rallies risking hundreds of peoples’ lives, seems like a tall order. The stupid is strong in that one.
Tennessee’s new reopening comes with caveats. For example, self-serve buffets won’t be open, live music and bars will not reopen, and restaurants that are open will need to keep patrons at least 6 feet away from one another, and only keep 50% capacity at most. Also, Tennessee officials are asking businesses to “screen” employees and customers for “signs of illness.” This of course, may help with people who have symptoms, but will obviously not help with the very well-documented thousands (and possibly millions) of asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers.
More liberal municipalities in the state, with larger urban areas like Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville, are not reopening today, but on their own timelines.