COVID status should be private

About the article in the May 9 edition of the Times Free Press: "Health officials ID those with virus." While I understand the need to protect police officers responding to calls, releasing a citizen's private health information to any person or agency is a profound violation of personal privacy. Due to HIPPA/privacy concerns, I can't even keep the door to my examining room slightly ajar while waiting for the doctor, lest I see another patient being treated. Now my neighbor, who happens to work for the sheriff's office, knows my diagnosis?

The obvious solution is to use what are called "universal precautions." Responding officers should be fully masked and gloved on every call, both to protect themselves and to protect others, since we know that many with the virus are asymptomatic. Am I allowed to know the health status of everyone I'm near? My neighbors? Members of my church? Random people in the grocery store? Shall we put a scarlet "C" on everyone with the virus?

I'm OK with my doctor providing the CDC with info on his patients with the virus, because we need the data. But sharing with local law enforcement would set a very dangerous precedent.

Lisa Erlendson Scott

Dayton, Tennessee


Premature return could be disaster

Fox News reported Sean Hannity saying that coronavirus was a political conspiracy, a "hoax." Hannity denied saying it nine days later, though it was specifically recorded as stated by him.

When coronavirus could no longer be denied, President Trump said on Fox March 24 that coronavirus was no worse than the seasonal flu. He also said he hoped the country would be "opened up" by Easter.

Trump said "we have it totally under control" and there was nothing to worry about. On Feb. 24, Trump said on Fox "very few people have it."

The government had the authority and ability to order testing equipment, ventilators and personal protective equipment to stricken areas. This was done far too little and late with disastrous consequences. Anyone doubting this has not listened to governors, mayors, scientists and physicians in New York and New Jersey.

Many agree that a premature opening of the economy in May would lead to increasing infections and death.

John Bratton



Nurses now are our community's heroes

It's hard to find words for my level of gratitude to our community's nurses. We have all seen faces that have been bruised by long hours of wearing PPE, stories of double shifts, and stories of lengths of love and care that have been shown. Many have seen these images and been amazed at this sacrifice. I've got to share with you that I'm not surprised at all because I've seen that level of commitment from nurses for years.

While the COVID-19 crisis has rightfully placed your profession in the spotlight, I want you to know how grateful I am to each of you for what you do, whether caring for patients at the end of their lives like many of our nurses do at Hospice of Chattanooga and Alleo Health, or nurses serving in NICU units, or nurses serving boys, girls, men, and women at every stage of life in between.

Philippians 1:3-4 says, "Every time I think of you, I thank God for you. I have joy in my heart every time I ask God to help you." That verse rings so true to me when I think of nurses.

Tracy L. Wood

President and CEO, Hospice of Chattanooga, Alleo Health System