Sen. Blackburn hits back at criticism from California Dem: Tennesseeans will reopen in 'smart, strategic way'

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Tennessee residents will go about reopening their state in a "smart strategic way" with coronavirus precautions, Sen. Marsha Blackburn promised Tuesday evening.

Appearing on "Fox News @ Night" with host Shannon Bream, Blackburn responded to a tweet from Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., who called out state Gov. Bill Lee for cutting short his “safer-at-home” order that is set to expire on April 30.

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"Dear @GovBillLee," he wrote. "Tennessee does not meet the federal health standards for phase 1 reopening. Your state is not on a 14-day downward trajectory. Tennessee had more #COVID19 cases yesterday than two weeks ago. Why are you violating the reopening standards set by @realDonaldTrump?"

According to Lee's office, “the vast majority of businesses in 89 counties” will be allowed to reopen on May 1. Gov. Lee and Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey cited Tuesday's 2.1 percent increase in positive cases of COVID-19 – the smallest such day-over-day increase so far – in their decision. Combined with 18 days of single-digit growth in positive cases, Gov. Lee expressed his confidence the state was making the decision to reopen the economy at the right time.

"Governor Lee is doing exactly what he ought to be doing. Nobody wants to suffer from COVID or give COVID to someone else. So, people are going to approach this as they should: very carefully," Blackburn replied. "And, business owners are desperately trying to work with and help their employees and I really appreciate the attitude that everybody has come at this saying, 'You know, we're the USA. We can do this.'"

However, whether or not United States citizens can open their businesses without a resurgence of cases has yet to be seen and is not the only concern. There are still many things not known about the spread of the virus, including how it might travel through the air.

In addition, a new U.S. model – directly contrary to another model released just days before – has increased its projected coronavirus death toll by August to 66,000, a 10 percent increase from its previous prediction.

This comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director gave an ominous forecast of a possible second wave of the virus in the winter.

"There's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through," CDC Director Robert Redfield told The Washington Post. "We're going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time."

America now has over 825,000 confirmed cases with over 45,000 deaths.

The impact of coronavirus measures on the nation's economy has also been devastating, with over 22 million jobs reported lost thus far, sparking a movement of protests nationwide.

"This is exactly where millions of Americans are right now," Blackburn remarked. "They're anxious to get back to work in a safe environment. They want to keep themselves, their families, their coworkers safe. They want to return to productivity."

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"And, I...really appreciate that they are bringing their best game to this effort," she told Bream.

"They are all in. They have done everything they have been asked to do," Blackburn concluded. "People closed their businesses and they're saying, 'Alright, we are on the downside of this. It is time for us to get back to work.'"