letter to the editor

‘Am I missing something here?’ Support for Knox, all Health Board powers

Am I missing something here? COVID-19 infections, hospitalization rates and, saddest of all, death rates are rising to record levels.

So now state Rep. Jason Zachary (R-District 14, which includes Farragut) thinks this is the right time, and right after the election, to introduce a bill that basically takes away authority of the Knox County Board of Health — along with similar bodies in this state’s largest counties — in the midst of a major COVID-19 outbreak, and gives this authority to county mayors.

As a reminder, the Knox County Board of Health is made up primarily of health-care professionals, appointed by the Knox County Commission for a four-year term. I know two of these members, Drs. Pat O’Brien and Jack Gotcher, and we are fortunate to have the volunteer services and the considerable expertise of these two non-political, science-based doctors.

They are true professionals and are doing their best to try and help all Knox Countians cope with COVID-19.

Do you feel safer with the Knox County Board of Health and its health-care professionals leading us in the uncharted territory of COVID-19, or do you think we are best led by our county’s mayor/professional wrestler who has consistently tried to undercut the Knox County Board of Health right when we need this expertise more than ever?

Instead of attacking the efforts of well-meaning, unbiased health-care professionals, I wish Rep. Zachary would introduce a measure commending the very difficult job being done by Knox County’s Board of Health.

Instead of a divisive move, why not do something positive that will help unite us in wearing masks and in social distancing? ... The only weapons we have against this virus pending a vaccine sometime next year.

Jeff Elliott.