Blake Farmer

Blake Farmer / WPLN News


Earlier this month, a half-dozen patients gathered in a cramped conference room on campus. They snacked on turkey sandwiches and potato chips and listened to the pitch from their physician, Dr. Vladimir Berthaud.

“What’s the best hope to get rid of this virus?” he asked them.

“Vaccination,” they replied.

Then Berthaud followed up: “So raise your hand if you would like to take the vaccine?”

Some hands shot up, but not all.

Hopefully, summer won't end the way it began. Memorial Day celebrations helped set off a wave of coronavirus infections across much of the South and West. Gatherings around the Fourth of July seemed to keep those hot spots aflame.

Now Labor Day arrives as those regions are cooling off from COVID-19, and public health experts are calling on Americans to stay vigilant while celebrating the holiday weekend.

Rare purple martins are dazzling birders and bystanders near Nashville's tourist district each night for the next week or two. Biologists estimate 150,000 have chosen to temporarily roost on the plaza outside the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. And the symphony very nearly ran them off as a nuisance until they realized they were playing host to protected migratory songbirds.

Looking overhead as the martins descend into the trees at sunset is mesmerizing.

Samantha Max / WPLN


Gov. Bill Lee says he will sign into law a measure further criminalizing peaceful protests. It was approved by the Tennessee legislature during a special session this week.

The bill was written to specifically target the protesters who have been on or near the capitol grounds for weeks. It makes unauthorized camping on state property, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., a low-level felony. Lee says he “would have proposed it differently” but feels it achieves his ultimate goal.

Davidson County Chancery Court via Zoom


A Nashville court has given Tennessee election officials until the end of business Friday to follow an order handed down a week ago related to absentee voting during the pandemic. And Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle expressed her frustration during Thursday’s hearing.

“Shame on you for not following that procedure and just taking matters into your own hands,” Lyle said.

Screen grab / Youtube



The Tennessee Supreme Court may be late to the Zoom craze, but the five justices donned their robes and held the state’s first live-streamed oral arguments on Tuesday, with three cases on the docket.

The high court began video recording proceedings nearly two years ago. And last month, the justices held arguments by video conference which were later posted online.

Courtesy of SRMC via Facebook


Tennessee nurse practitioners hope looser regulations during the pandemic have shown they don’t need a medical doctor checking their work — often for a fee. They’ve battled mandatory chart reviews in the legislature for years.

courtesy Interfaith Dental


Tennessee dentists need some help restocking protective gear after they were asked to give it up to the National Guard. Dentists are now reopening their offices but running into the same shortages of masks, gloves and gowns seen nationwide.

“I think we thought — maybe erroneously — that there would be supplies that would come in, and it would be able to be redistributed in a pretty rapid fashion,” says Phil Wenk, CEO of Delta Dental of Tennessee, the largest dental insurance plan in the state.

Credit Courtesy of TDOH via Twitter


Pandemic modeling from Vanderbilt University finds Tennessee was able to drive down the COVID-19 transmission rate well ahead of the initial projections made on April 10. As a result, the number of people simultaneously hospitalized has plateaued below 300 statewide.

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