Lee Norman reflects on management of pandemic

Hosted By: Tim Carpenter - August 10, 2020


Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, says boozy environments harbor perils of COVID-19 for anyone rejecting advice to social distance, wash hands and wear a mask.

  • “They just immerse in virus when they do that,” Norman said. “There’s usually music. When people speak loudly, there’s airborne droplets. And they’re very close to each other. It is absolutely a lethal brew.”
  • He would love to see a mask mandate: “When you can’t control your environment, and you’re getting anywhere close to people, put a mask on.”
  • The state’s K-12 education system and the colleges and universities weren’t prepared to resume in-person instruction in August.


Lee Norman

Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Lee Norman received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota, did his residency in family medicine in Texas and his aerospace medicine training in the United States Air Force at Brooks AFB in San Antonio. After serving in the USAF as a family physician, flight surgeon, and combat medicine instructor, he practiced medicine in Seattle for 20 years, also serving as clinical associate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Norman has served as a chief medical office for more than 26 years, most recently at the University of Kansas Health System and before that the Swedish Health System in Seattle, beginning in 1991. In his military role, Norman is a colonel in the Kansas Army National Guard. In 2018 he returned from a Middle East U.S. Army deployment where he was the senior medical commander for more than 12,000 U.S. soldiers.

Tim Carpenter

Host, Kansas Reflector podcast

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International.