TENNESSEE, USA — A White House report now ranks Tennessee the worst in the country for COVID-19 spread.
The state has the highest rate of new cases. Carter, Greene, and Unicoi Counties are among those with the highest level of spread on the chart, more than 750 new cases per 100-thousand people in one week. Northeast Tennessee is surpassed only by West Tennessee as a hotspot for the most deaths right now.
Spanish Version: Informe: Tennessee es el peor estado en la nación en cuanto a propagación de COVID-19
The report also shows Tennessee has the 10th lowest vaccination rate and the ninth highest hospitalization rate. State data shows just 6 percent of ICU beds are available.
Gov. Bill Lee told WCYB he had no plans to change course on his executive order allowing parents to opt-out of school mask mandates. That's despite calls from health experts, multiple lawsuits, and a federal investigation into whether the rights of immunocompromised kids were violated.
The governor is now facing scrutiny for visiting elementary schoolers without wearing a mask. Health experts recommend masks indoors for everyone regardless of vaccination status.
“So, I'm vaccinated, and I'm going to act like that,” Gov. Lee said in response to a question from a reporter at a news conference Thursday.
Another reporter continued by asking health commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey, “If you're vaccinated, can you spread COVID?”
“Yes,” she answered. “vaccinated people can transmit the disease.”