Health commissioner warns of possible COVID-19 surge

Gov. Bill Lee speaks at a press conference on Tennessee’s coronavirus response in Nashville on March 16, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

State Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey is warning of the next potential spike in COVID-19 infections despite the downward trends of the last quarter.

The Nashville Post reports the state’s infection rate dropped 85% between January and the middle of this month, but that 8,500 new cases were reported over the last week, with the active case count jumping by 1,000 people. Hospitalization rates are also creeping up.

“I’m fairly certain it’s going to get worse. What I don’t know is how high the next surge might be,” Piercey told lawmakers. “We are already starting to see — we saw a plateau for three to six weeks — now we are starting to see it tick back up ever so slightly. What I don’t know is whether that will be a blip or if that will be a pretty substantive surge.”

Piercey said the statistics underscore the need to convince more Tennesseans to get vaccinated. Gov. Bill Lee has announced the state will drop all restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines by early April, meaning innoculations will be available to anyone who wants one.

“Some of the vaccine hesitancy we have encountered was expected. We anticipated some of it, but there has been, to be honest, some vaccine hesitancy that we did not anticipate, and we can’t readily identify reasons for that,” she said. “That’s why the market research piece is so important, in all 95 counties, particularly among rural conservative and rural white men, why they are hesitant and how to address it properly.”

22 Responses to Health commissioner warns of possible COVID-19 surge

  • Avatar
    Jonathan Swift says:

    Let’s just all stroll around urban areas without masks like the Governor way before everyone is vaccinated. What could go wrong?

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    John Emberson says:

    Get over it. Wear a face panty if you want, if you don’t want to, don’t.

    • Avatar
      McSwanson McSweeney says:

      Uh huh. (Ugh!)

    • Avatar
      Cannoneer2 says:

      Attitudes like that are why we still have a Covid problem.

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      John, I think you’re new here so allow me to give you a piece of advice, keep that stuff about “freedom” and “self-determination” down if you want to be popular on campus. It makes a lot of people very nervous.

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      MARLE says:

      Freedom loving people with lots of liberty ringing should do so IF they can bear the cost of their actions. All those who KNOW they won’t rack up a hospital bill they can’t pay, or go on disability that will cost taxpayers money should do just as they please at all times within the law.

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    Not that Stuart guy says:

    People see some good news and start to relax their preventative behaviors. Maybe the mask gets left in the car or the outdoor bbq moves inside. Sounds like typical human behavior to me. Unfortunate, but typical. Not sure how many “surges” it will take before people buckle down long enough for surges to stop, but I’m betting this won’t be the one, especially with the mixed messages coming from states all over the place. And of course vaccine hesitancy, especially in rural areas, will likely ensure there are “pockets” of surges long after we go from pandemic to endemic.
    Be safe out there everyone.

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      steve cates says:

      Thanks. You have said it well~~!~ I appreciate so much statements of common sense and caring like this during this time.

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    James White says:

    Not everyone will get the vaccination. Not everyone will wear a mask.
    I am ok with that, that is Freedom and that is Liberty.

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    John G. Stewart says:

    Not everyone will refuse to drive while drunk. “That is Freedom and that is Liberty.”Are you OK with that? It is exactly the same behavior with the potential for exactly the same outcome. Anyone with a grain of common sense knows the answer.

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      Eddie White says:

      You are right John. We do not have nor have we ever had the freedom to do as we please. If you don’t believe it, try taking a stroll naked around the neighborhood. You may want the freedom to take off all your clothes, but it won’t last long. Refusing vaccinations and ignoring mask mandates is not only about your personal safety, it is also about the safety of those around you. I hate masks, but I will wear them to help get us through this horrible pandemic as quickly as possible. If my employer or a local business requires a mask, I don’t have the “freedom” to say no. I do have the freedom to change jobs or look for another business to trade with.

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    Jane says:

    Really, they can’t identify the reasons for vaccine hesitancy? How about the history of drug company lawsuits after years of FDA approved drugs on the market? How about the fact that the vaccine is not recommended for anyone with known allergies and most people with compromised immune systems are being told to wait until further effects are known? What about in the fact that the only way to tell if it works is to actually catch the virus? How about the fact that we are vaccinating the control groups of an experiment? And how about the impossibility of reaching herd immunity without vaccinating children?

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      James White says:

      Good points Jane.
      ●”If I get vaccinated can I stop wearing a mask(s)?”
      Government: “NO”
      ●”If I get vaccinated will the restaurants, bars, schools, fitness clubs, hair salons, etc. reopen and will people be able to get back to work like normal?
      Government: “NO”
      ●”If I get vaccinated will I be resistant to Covid?”
      Government: “Maybe. We don’t know exactly, but probably not.”
      ●”If I get vaccinated, at least I won’t be contagious to others – right?”
      Government: “NO. the vaccine doesn’t stop transmission.”
      ●”If I get vaccinated, how long will the vaccine last?”
      Government: “No one knows. All Covid “vaccines” are still in the experimental stage.”
      ● “If I get vaccinated, can I stop social distancing?”
      Government: “NO”
      ● “If my parents, grandparents and myself all get vaccinated can we hug each other again?”
      Government: “NO” (I think this one has changed per Fauci)
      ● “So what’s the benefit of getting vaccinated?”
      Government: “Hoping that the virus won’t kill you.”
      ●”Are you sure the vaccine won’t injure or kill me?”
      Government: “NO”
      ●”If statistically the virus won’t kill me (99.7% survival rate), why should I get vaccinated?”
      Government: “To protect others.”
      ●”So if I get vaccinated, I can protect 100% of people I come in contact with?”
      Government: “NO”
      ● “If I experience a severe adverse reaction, long-term effects (still unknown) or die from the vaccine will I (or my family) be compensated from the vaccine manufacture or the Government?”
      Government: “NO – the government and vaccine manufacturer’s have 100% zero liability regarding this experimental drug”
      So to summarize, the Covid19 “vaccine”…
      Does not provide immunity
      Does not eliminate the virus
      Does not prevent death
      Does not guarantee you won’t get it
      Does not stop you from passing it on to others
      Does not eliminate the need for travel bans
      Does not eliminate the need for business closures
      Does not eliminate the need for lockdowns!!!

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        All they need to do is separate people based on the vaccine/antibody status in restaurants, stadiums, concerts, cruise lines, airplanes etc. Then all the non-vax people can mingle in close proximity without a vaccine/antibodies. They had non-smoking and smoking areas in lots of settings Before they went to all Non-smoking.

        Now that’s freedom for everyone, not just the anti-vaxers.

  • Avatar
    Jane says:

    Marle: To be clear I’m not an anti-vaxer and I don’t appreciate the stereotype. When my daughter was a baby I asked her pediatrician about the safety of the vaccines and he said no issues in 30 years of experience. So I’ll be generous and say I’ll take this vaccine if there’s no issues in 10 years. Just following the science 🙂

    Also in your scenario what about the kids? Who’s watching them? I think you’re smoking analogy is flawed. They just started trials age zero to 16 and are saying they will need to observe them for a year before they consider vaccinating children.

    Notably it coworker just told me if you donate blood they will test you for the antibodies. Why are we not pursuing this instead of pushing this vaccine on everyone? Oh I guess it’s the easy and probably profitable fix.

    James W: You also made some very good points. I think this is more about being an informed consumer than any political agenda.

    • Avatar
      MARLE says:

      You can see, Jane, by the INDENT, that my comment was a reply to James. And there are anti-vaxers on this blog daily.

      Why would you think this was directed specifically at YOU????????

      • Avatar
        Jane says:

        No worries Marle. Just frustrated by being lumped in with conspiracy theorists because I will not blindly take an unproven drug. There are actually three groups: blind followers, vaccine opponents/anti vaxers, and people that actually make informed choices about their medical care.

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          Donna Locke says:

          I’m in the informed-choices group after a 3-day partial paralysis after a flu shot many years ago. No more vaccines for me after that. When my grandchildren were babies, I had their parents unbundle their vaccines and give them separately and spaced. The doctors had no problem with this. There was one vaccine I advised to avoid for a baby.

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    Michael Lottman says:

    The unending stream of contradictory and erroneous statements coming out of Washington (especially from the new CQC director who can’t get enough of herself on television), and the unequaled fecklessness of our governor and most legislators and county mayors, are going to put us right back on the verge of disaster and render “herd immunity” a scientific and mathematical impossibility. Let’s all just go on down to Miami Beach and end it all in style!

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    LeeAnn C says:

    The doctor doesn’t really have a strong foundation to make a prediction. She sounds a lot like Chicken Little.

    Talk to your doctor and follow their advice for YOU regarding the vaccine. While you’re there, ask your doctor about the necessity of mask usage. Mine told me I should get the vaccine, so I will. She also said there was no purpose whatsoever in wearing a mask after the vaccine, so I won’t.

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      LeeAnn C says:

      And one other thing my doctor mentioned. Sick people should stay home. She credits most of the spread to those that had symptoms, ignored them and refused to stay home. If you get sick, stay home!

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    Taxpayer #314 says:

    Conservative republicans don’t use “common sense,” never have, never will, that is why they are conservative republicans. You can’t change their minds, they know they are right. Not worth arguing.

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