(WJHL) — A new initiative is underway with thousands asking Governor Bill Lee to order a lockdown on Tennessee to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

The following letter was written by Tennessee Medical Association President Dr. Elise Dennery and TMA President-Elect Dr. Kevin Smith.

Dear TMA Members,

Dr. Aaron Milstone, a pulmonary/critical care specialist in Franklin, Tennessee has worked with ICU physicians across the state to develop a petition to Governor Lee to consider making a statewide shelter in place order to attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus in Tennessee.  California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Texas have already issued similar state-wide orders.  He has asked that we distribute this petition to our members to allow each of you to sign if you agree. The survey allows for a donation, but he states that is not needed at this time.  As of 3:30 this afternoon, over 2000 physicians have signed this petition. 

Please consider adding your name to the petition if you agree that a state-wide lockdown is needed now.  Tennessee is reporting 371 cases today with 140 in Davidson County.  Our statewide doubling rate is currently less than 2 days.  On this pace we will have over 1200 cases in Tennessee by Tuesday.  In the absence of aggressive testing and tracking positive patients and contacts (which we are not doing yet), restricting activities and movement of people is the  best weapon we have to slow virus.  South Korea controlled this with aggressive testing and quarantine.  China and Wuhan won with aggressively enforced lockdowns.  While no one is proposing a total lockdown in the USA, anything that will restrict people from gathering and meeting will likely slow spread significantly. This will conserve resources such as PPE, swabs, beds, ventilators, etc.

Thanks to all of our physicians who are battling this pandemic directly or trying to get through the slowdown in normal business in your clinics and operating rooms.  TMA has sent a letter to the Governor asking for him to help with the critical need for more PPE and our leadership is monitoring the situation and trying to respond during this rapidly changing situation. 


Elise Denneny, MD
President, Tennessee Medical Association

Kevin Smith, MD, PhD
President-Elect, Tennessee Medical Association

The petition at this time has more than 3,000 signatures at this time.

You can view the petition HERE.

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