NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — As Tennessee has fueled one of the nation’s worst COVID-19 surges for weeks, Gov. Bill Lee’s approach hasn’t strayed much from how he and several fellow Republican governors battling similar spikes have long approached the virus.
He’s resisted restricting public behavior and focused on keeping businesses open.
The approach has dismayed public health leaders and Democratic lawmakers who argue Tennessee wouldn’t consistently be among the worst states in the country battling COVID-19 if Lee had taken more forceful actions.
Lee has rejected claims he hasn’t done enough. He says decisions about masks are best left to local jurisdictions.