October 8, 2020/Media

Medical Professionals, People Affected by COVID Call on Senator Tillis to Fully Quarantine, Stop Putting Politics Before Public Health

This afternoon, NCDP Chairman, medical professionals, and a North Carolinian who lost their friend to COVID called on Senator Tillis to not rush back to Washington to ram through a Supreme Court nominee who will threaten our health care and to stop putting his own politics over public health.

Senator Tillis has said he wants to be back in Washington for the start of the Senate Judiciary hearings, which begin on Monday, October 12. However, that is within the 10 days since his symptoms presented themselves and against public health guidelines.

Senator Tillis has consistently put his own politics before public health. He recently attended an indoors White House “superspreader” event, where he was photographed without a mask on. He’s also attended indoor political events without wearing a mask, and was caught maskless at the White House

WATCH the full press conference HERE

From NCDP Chairman Wayne Goodwin:
“Last week, Senator Tillis attended an event at the White House which is now being called a superspreader event. More than a dozen people — including the President, his wife, top aides and other members of the U.S. Senate — have tested positive. He walked around without a mask. He mingled indoors. He hugged and shook hands and acted like the virus doesn’t exist.

“His involvement at this type of event raises serious questions, including: Why was Senator Tillis at that White House event to begin with? Why did he not wear a mask? Why was he attending an indoors event and not following proper COVID precautions? Does he regret putting his health and the health of those around him at risk to attend a political event?

“The fact is he attended a White House superspreader event to push forward with a partisan attempt to ram through a Supreme Court nominee who has been hostile to our health care. Senator Tillis has been inconsistent on COVID safety precautions from day one. He’s put his own politics ahead of our personal health time and again.”

From Beth Kendall, Physician Assistant, Urgent Care:
“Thank you.  My name is Beth Kendall and I am a Physician Assistant, I work in Urgent Care, and since the beginning of the summer I’ve been picking up extra shifts at PopUp Coronavirus Testing Sites.

“What I have seen is patients who are anxious, who are scared, who are worried and confused; they’re not sure what to believe, or who to believe, or what to even do next. These folks see their elected leaders getting the best medical care that money can buy, scoffing at quarantine, and being more concerned about rushing a Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation than even trying to work on a stimulus package to help stop the bleeding. It feels like these public servants are living by another set of rules, that their lives are somehow more important, and that they just generally don’t care about you and me.

“Senator Tillis has shown that he doesn’t feel like the rules apply to him.  He thinks it’s perfectly fine to attend an indoor event while families across the state are dealing with this virus. He put his own politics before our public health.

“He has continued to show disregard for following public health guidelines.  He’s signaled he wanted to rush back to DC to push forward with a judicial nominee who has indicated that she will literally threaten our access to health care—in the middle of a pandemic no less. That’s just wrong. Senator Tillis should stop putting his politics before our public health. He should self-isolate until at least October 14th and ask the Senate to put the Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings on hold until he, and every other member of the Senate Judiciary Committee is free of this virus.”

From Dr. Wheeler Jervis, MD:
“I’m actually seeing the other end of the spectrum – people with this disease, people struggling for their life in the intensive care unit, the sickest of the sick. We used to have family members in the unit to help them through this illness. Now these people struggle and unfortunately die, largely in isolation. It’s very challenging to see. I am working 12 hour shifts – extra shifts – as are all of my partners to help make a dent in this virus… We owe this to ourselves, our friends, our neighbors, the people we come in contact with to limit the spread of this potentially deadly virus.

“That’s not what we’ve seen from Senator Tillis. Senator Tillis has completely disregarded this – at least intermittently. He attended a White House event with no mask, contracted the coronavirus, and now is in isolation. That flouting of public health recommendations is not what we should see from our leaders.

“Now we’re seeing Senator Tillis rush back to Washington, D.C. for a Senate confirmation hearing that’s beginning on the 12th before the minimum CDC recommendation of 10 days after symptoms have developed. That’s the minimum. I think we should expect the minimum if not more. And this is for a Senate confirmation that’s being treated as an emergency to have nine judges on the court… We are not having any discussion on COVID relief that even the Federal Reserve chairman has said is mandatory to help prevent economic collapse.

“This pattern of putting the political needs ahead of the public health is the wrong message for North Carolina and the United States. North Carolina needs politicians and leaders who take this virus seriously, and who model good public health behavior.”

From Pam DeMaria, who lost a friend to COVID:
“This summer, I watched a dear friend lose their life to the coronavirus, who also happened to be the Chair before me. Her name was Nancy Rorie. When we lost Nancy to the virus, we lost a library of information and history of our county. Nancy was my mentor and my friend, and I was in touch with her the whole time that she was in the hospital. She thought she was going in there because she had maybe pneumonia.

“She texted me – and I still saved all of the text messages that she sent me… ‘You will get better, just keep listening to the docs. Don’t rush it.’ That was July 1st. On July 10th, Nancy passed away. Ten days. Ten days. This virus is serious. I, like most North Carolinians, have changed my life to protect against this pandemic. And I’ve lost a dear friend because of it.

“It is enraging to me to watch our Senator take this virus so lightly. Watching him hug and mingle with people at an indoor event and a political gathering, while there’s so many people in North Carolina struggling to fight this virus. Senator Tillis put his own politics before public health – and he continues to do that – and I think North Carolina needs more.

“It didn’t have to be this bad. But it is because of the administration’s failed response – and because of leaders like Senator Tillis who put politics before public health.”