NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Gov. Bill Lee made a public appearance Friday, just days after making the controversial statement that “kids do not get sick from COVID” on Fox News.
The comment has drawn outrage from Tennessee Democrats and many doctors.
“If you want to follow the science, you wouldn’t have kids in a school wearing masks when kids do not get sick from COVID,” Lee claimed during a televised town hall. The program also featured other GOP governors and was moderated by Fox News host Sean Hannity.
A Middle Tennessee doctor is among those condemning Gov. Lee’s remarks.
“There is an inflammatory condition that can occur after COVID in kids, it’s not common, but when it happens it can be very serious,” said Dr. Jason Martin, a Sumner County critical care doctor.
According to data provided by the state’s health department, nearly 160,000 have been reported among young Tennesseans. Ten deaths have been reported in the “newborn to 20-years-old” age group.
Martin says the governor is politicizing science.
“There are children hospitalized in the state of Tennessee, and in Nashville right now, battling for their lives with this post-COVID inflammatory condition,” Martin said.
Gov. Lee, who appeared at a Memorial Day celebration on Friday morning, attempted to dodge our cameras when we asked him to clarify his Fox News comments. Ultimately, he declined to answer, saying he would hold media availability in a few days.
However, Gov. Lee’s office did send News 2 a statement on Thursday, saying in part “over a year’s worth of data shows there is little to no risk of children being infected or becoming seriously ill from COVID.”
“For the governor to say that kids can’t be sick is just 100 percent false, it’s misinformation,” said Martin, “So, just some basic things we can do are keep people who are not vaccinated which includes children under age 12, social distanced, and masked to help prevent those few cases that do occur that can end up killing people.”
According to the CDC, children under one-year-old and kids with certain underlying conditions may be more likely to have severe illness from COVID-19.
“I think the last year has really highlighted the importance of good government and the importance of solid leadership and I think it’s been lacking at the state level,” Martin said.
According to the CDC, children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, get sick from COVID-19, and can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to others. Children, like adults, who have COVID-19 but have no symptoms (asymptomatic) can still spread the virus to others.