The State of Tennessee spent $11 million on messaging before firing Dr. Michelle Fiscus for spreading the message approved by Gov. Lee's office. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Hearing set on suit brought by former vaccine chief against Tennessee Department of Health

BY: - January 30, 2023

A federal judge in Nashville has set a hearing for March 10 to consider competing claims in a lawsuit brought by former Tennessee vaccine chief Michelle Fiscus, whose highly publicized ouster from state government during the pandemic came amidst political pushback on vaccinating teens. Fiscus is seeking a so-called “name clearing” hearing — open to […]

James Burroughs waits to get the first dose of his COVID-19 at Neighborhood Health in Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennesseans seek to move on from COVID, even as a new variant appears

BY: - January 19, 2023

Get used to it, but not over it. That may be the best advice for living with COVID-19 as 2023 starts and as the recent XBB.1.5 variant debuts in Tennessee. More than three years since COVID first arrived, the virus that causes it – SARS-CoV-2 – continues to mutate. XBB.1.5 is more contagious than the […]

Sen. Marsha Blackburn speaking at The Factory in Franklin on November 7 during a campaign rally for Gov. Bill Lee. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Congress on track to scrap Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate in defense bill

BY: - December 7, 2022

WASHINGTON — Members of the U.S. military would no longer be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine under a proposal Congress could pass as soon as this week.  The provision eliminating the vaccine mandate is tucked into the massive National Defense Authorization Act, the annual defense policy bill that Congress has passed each year for […]

Emily Withnall says she has come a long way from the early days of her illness, but lingering symptoms of long COVID are still present. Chronic fatigue is what plagues her the most, she says. (Photo by Gino Gutierrez)

Millions of workers are dealing with long COVID. Advocates call for expanding social safety net.

BY: - October 24, 2022

Emily Withnall caught COVID-19 from her teenager in July 2020. In the more than two years since, the 40-year-old has suffered from debilitating fatigue, spinal pain and heart palpitations.  In addition to her primary care doctor, she regularly sees a cardiologist and says her acupuncturist and craniosacral therapy help relieve her pain and the trouble […]

Nashville Mayor John Cooper introduces First Lady Jill Biden at a pop-up COVID vaccine clinic at St. James Missionary Baptist Church in North Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

First Lady brings COVID-19 vaccine tour to Nashville

BY: - October 12, 2022

First Lady Jill Biden brought the push for new COVID-19 vaccinations to Nashville Wednesday, introducing the #VaxUpAmerica campaign to encourage people 5 and up to take an updated, free vaccine this fall. “It’s so important that we keep all Americans healthy,” Biden said as she visited a pop-up vaccination clinic at St. James Missionary Baptist […]

(Photo: Getty Images)

Gucci bags, crypto & Vegas vacations: COVID relief scams land public employees in legal trouble

BY: - October 7, 2022

Rhea County’s longest serving executive is headed to federal prison for fraudulently obtaining more than $650,000 in government COVID relief funding and using the cash to buy cryptocurrency. U.S. District Judge Charles Atchley Jr. on Thursday sentenced former Rhea County Executive George Thacker, 59, to 33 months in federal prison for wire fraud. Thacker served […]

Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at Nashville's Casa Azafran in March. (Photo: John Partipilo)

COVID-19 vaccine may become annual, like flu shot

BY: - September 8, 2022

WASHINGTON — COVID-19 boosters shots are on track to become as frequent as the annual flu shot, though high-risk people may need more than one dose per year, Biden administration officials said Tuesday.  “For a large majority of Americans, we are moving to a point where a single annual COVID shot should provide a high […]

Kat Gower, 8, gets her second shot as her mother Allison watches.(Photo: John Partipilo)

CDC endorses updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters for this fall

BY: - September 2, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Thursday signed off on the approval from the agency’s independent vaccine advisers that recommended an updated coronavirus vaccine booster this fall. The CDC recommended boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for those who are 12 years old and older and from Moderna for those who are 18 and […]

The White House confirmed Thursday that President Joe Biden has tested positive for COVID-19.(Drew Angerer/Getty Image)

Biden tests positive for COVID-19

BY: and - July 21, 2022

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing mild symptoms, the White House announced Thursday morning.  Biden, 79, is fully vaccinated against the virus and has twice received booster doses, according to the statement. He is taking Paxlovid, an antiviral prescription medication that is meant to reduce the severity of […]

Emergency use authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for kids under 5 is pending. (Photo: John Partipilo)

24 Tennessee counties newly at “high risk” for COVID, as infections rise across the state

BY: - July 20, 2022

If it seems like more people in your orbit have been coming down with COVID recently, it’s not your imagination. COVID is spreading again, not yet at the same high levels of last spring, but the disease is experiencing a noticeable spike in Tennessee and across the country. One in four Tennessee counties is now […]

Franklin High School (Photo: Williamson County Schools)

In Tennessee’s first partisan school board elections, candidates in key races address issues

BY: - July 18, 2022

In Williamson County, candidates are competing in hotly contested school board races, representing how divisive politics have become around teachers and students.  Last year, Gov. Bill Lee signed into law a bill allowing political parties to nominate candidates for school board races, which were previously nonpartisan elections. The bill followed a series of clashes between […]

(Photo: Getty Images)

Third East Tennessean charged with fraud for misuse of federal COVID funds

BY: - July 15, 2022

A Maryville woman who claimed she needed COVID emergency relief funding to keep her Christian ministry afloat instead used the money to fund a trip to Disney, buy land, two trucks and a travel trailer and pay off her student loans, court records show. Sarrah Denton Willhite has struck a deal to plead guilty to […]