Spirits may have lifted across the U.S. during the first week of vaccinations, but recent health data paints a far more dire situation right in front of us. Case levels are at record highs from coast to coast, but none worse than the current hardest-hit state: Tennessee, where officials rolled back their reopening plans and instituted a limit on gatherings to quell COVID surges. Read on to see what’s being done to stop the spread of the virus in the Volunteer State, and for more on the new strain of COVID, check out Dr. Fauci Advises Against This One COVID Safety Measure.
During a live video address on Dec. 20, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee issued an executive order that’s in place until Jan. 19 that prohibits more than 10 people from gathering in public. Lee also urged citizens to limit celebrating Christmas to just members of their household and asked employers to allow employees to work from home for the next 30 days, the Tennesseean reports.
Notably, the new orders fell short of implementing a statewide mask mandate, which Lee has avoided against the advice of federal health officials. Tennessee, which Lee described as “ground zero for a surge in sickness,” is currently seeing 132.1 daily new cases per 100,000 people as of Dec. 21, according to Covid Act Now.
“I understand deeply how much Tennessee families need each other,” Lee said while emphasizing the importance of celebrating the holidays responsibly. “But we must do all that we can to blunt this surge and keep more Tennesseans from getting sick.”
Other local officials warned that the state is on the precipice of catastrophe and pleaded with the public to follow new orders and advisories. “If we have another surge over Christmas, it will break our hospitals,” Lisa Piercey, Tennessee Health Commissioner, said at a news conference.
But while Tennessee may be seeing the worst coronavirus outbreak at the moment, the state is far from alone: according to Covid Act Now as of Dec. 21, 11 states are currently ranked in the highest designation: “extreme outbreak.” Read on to see which places are the worst affected, and for more on signs you may have contracted the disease, check out These 2 Strange Symptoms Could Mean You’ve Already Had COVID.
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75.5 daily new cases per 100,000 people
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