I would address you as governor if you’d shown even one ounce of leadership during this pandemic. I have called on you repeatedly to do the right thing for the people of Tennessee. We needed a statewide mask mandate months ago and yet you continued to pass the buck to county mayors who clearly won’t do it. Now, cases are skyrocketing everywhere in our state. Just a few days ago every hospital in Memphis was completely full. The Nashville area hospitals continue to run critically low on beds. The East Tennessee hospitals have called in refrigerated trucks to use as mobile morgues. What will it take for you to see what is happening in our state and do something?

As an emergency physician, I have seen firsthand the effects of this virus on my patients. I have watched them gasping for air. I have talked with worried family members on the phone who can’t come into the hospital to see them due to the risk of spreading this disease. I worried when my colleagues have become ill from this virus as well. The frustrating thing is I know we can do better. Other states are doing more. Tennessee is now ranked #2 in the country in covid cases per capita.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for us to wear masks and stay home. It will take months, maybe even years to get enough people vaccinated so that it will be safe to walk around maskless again.  Bill, the lives of Tennesseans are unfortunately in your inept hands. The least you can do is give us a firm, mandatory statewide mask mandate. If you wanted to be a true leader, you would shut down unessential businesses and ban indoor dining and bars as well. If you do not, this pandemic will continue to worsen and the blood of those lost to covid due to your inaction will be on your hands.

My job as a frontline healthcare worker could be a lot easier if you would man up and do your job.

Dr. Katrina Green is an emergency physician in Nashville

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