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There are no COVID medical kidnappings in Tennessee
If Your Time is short
There is no executive order to authorize kidnapping in Tennessee.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee in August signed a lengthy executive order, part of which would allow the National Guard to perform some medical-related services in order to help relieve capacity strain amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.
The TikTok video relies on a document about COVID-19 shield camps from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as evidence. But the document doesn’t say that the CDC is going to implement COVID-19 camps — it analyzes measures studied in London regarding people already living in refugee camps and rejects as problematic the policies that study explored.
A TikTok video claims that the governor of Tennessee signed an executive order to authorize "COVID medical kidnappings" in the state.
"RED ALERT: Covid (sic) internment camps announced in America; Tennessee governor signs EO authorizing National Guard to carry out covid medical kidnappings," says a headline that the TikTok poster reads from as she points her video camera at her computer screen.
TikTok identified this video and others with this message as part of its efforts to counter inauthentic, misleading or false content. (Read more about PolitiFact's partnership with TikTok.)
That’s because it’s wrong. The headline comes from a blog post that appears on a website authored by someone named John C. Carleton. The blog claims Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee ordered the kidnappings in "Executive Order 83" — but a quick look at the actual executive order shows the blog’s assertion is ridiculous and completely off-base.
Lee on Aug. 6 signed the nine-page order, which aimed to combat and respond to the spread of COVID-19 in his state by expanding the capacity of health care providers to meet the need. That month, the number of the state’s new daily cases rose from 1,962 on Aug. 1 to a high of 11,763 before the end of the month, according to data from Tennessee’s health department.
Nowhere in the order is there a provision authorizing the National Guard to kidnap people. What the order does say, however, is that in certain emergency and health care settings that are struggling with capacity, the National Guard may perform authorized diagnostic testing, nursing and operate licensed ambulance service vehicles.
As part of the TikTokker’s evidence, she clicks on a link that brings her to a page on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. The headline on that page reads, "Interim Operational Consideration for Implementing the Shielding Approach to Prevent COVID-19 Infections in Humanitarian Settings." But this is not proof of a plan to kidnap people either.
As PolitiFact has reported before, the document didn’t recommend kidnapping anyone or putting anyone into "camps" but explored a method studied in London that aimed to protect people already living in refugee camps and other humanitarian settings who are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The document’s creation predated emergency approval of COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. And the CDC’s review of that study determined that there was "no empirical evidence" that the approach used in London would reduce mortality from COVID-19 infections. Ultimately, in fact, the document emphasized the method’s inherent challenges and risks.
In an effort to confront false claims about the effect of Lee’s executive order, Brent Easley, the governor’s legislative director, wrote an Aug. 12 letter to the Tennessee General Assembly.
"All of these examples, and related rumors, are demonstrably false," Easley wrote. "It is critical that we allow the flexibility for our National Guard members to lean in whenever a need is identified."
A TikTok video claims that the governor of Tennessee signed an executive order allowing the National Guard to begin "COVID medical kidnappings." Nothing like this has happened. What did happen is that, faced with skyrocketing COVD-19 cases and limited capacity to treat these cases, the governor of Tennessee signed an executive order allowing the National Guard to help relieve strain on hospitals and medical providers by providing needed medical-related services where authorized. Nothing in the order would allow "kidnappings."
A CDC document cited as evidence is simply a paper that analyzed a method that aimed to protect people already living in refugee camps and other humanitarian settings who were also at high risk for COVID-19. The CDC determined that there was "no empirical evidence" that this approach would reduce the risk of COVID-19 and highlighted the method’s risks and challenges.
We rate this claim Pants on Fire!
TikTok video, posted Sept. 2, 2021, archived Oct. 6, 2021
John C. Carleton blog post, accessed Oct. 6, 2021
TikTok archive link: https://archive.is/cOy3Z
YouTube post, Alan Derschowitz Forced Vaccines Mandatory, May 19, 2020
State of Tennessee Executive Order by the Governor No. 83, Aug. 6, 2021
Email interview with Governor Bill Lee’s communication department, Oct. 6, 2021
Governor Lee’s legislative director Brent Easley’s letter to Tennessee General Assembly, Aug. 12, 2021
PolitiFact, The CDC’s not going to put people at high risk of catching COVID-19 into camps, Aug. 20, 2021
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There are no COVID medical kidnappings in Tennessee
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