Lt. Gov. says he's catching heat after criticizing Alabama’s handling of coronavirus crisis

Ainsworth sent Governor Ivey's coronavirus task force a letter where he spoke on the urgency of getting a plan in place.

Posted: Mar 26, 2020 4:32 PM
Updated: Mar 26, 2020 8:38 PM

Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth went against his boss, Gov. Kay Ivey, and criticized how the state is handling the coronavirus pandemic.

Ainsworth sent a letter/email to Ivey's coronavirus task force and praised Dr. Scott Harris with the Alabama Department of Public Health but said Ivey's coronavirus task force and "The state are not taking a realistic view of the numbers or adequately preparing for what awaits us".

WAAY31 reached out to Ainsworth on Thursday and spoke with him via phone. He said he felt like he's doing the right thing by calling out the states shortcomings on the virus. Ainsworth said people aren't taking this issue seriously.

"We've got to get everybody on the same page that this is a serious crisis and everybody needs to social distance and treat this serious," said Ainsworth.

Ainsworth said over the phone he didn't feel like the governor's task force is planning for a worst-case scenario, i.e. hospitals overflowing with patients.

"The task force is working on a plan and I didn't feel like the timeline and urgency was being pushed enough and that's why I sent the letter to the task force," said Ainsworth.

Ainsworth said he doesn't think the state is doing enough to prepare heatlhcare systems for the amount of coronavirus patients or giving nurses and doctors enough protective gear. He said he's heard from nurses and doctors who are worried, and speaks with them daily.

"They are concerned that we have this tsunami of patients coming and we've got to get properly prepared," said Ainsworth.

The CDC and health experts have stated numerous times that staying home is the way to stop the spread of the virus. WAAY31 asked Ainsworth if the governor should issue a shelter in place order he said, "That's really up to Dr. Harris and that's kind of his role and I trust the professionals in the state that are advising him. If he thinks that's something we need I'd certainly support it."

WAAY 31 also asked Ainsworth if he thought the governor was doing everything she could in handling this proactively. He wouldn't answer that question outright and instead said he's trying to educate people on the seriousness of this.

Ainsworth did say Ivey should ask the president for more protective supplies from the federal supply. He told WAAY31 his office will release more information on what the state can improve it's fight against the coronavirus in the next few days, he's consulting with the former head of the public health department on an improved plan.

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