For the last few days we’ve been preparing internal reports twice a day for staff. We’ve decided to release these publicly to help you plan.

US cases are up to 18,100 from about 14,300 this AM and 11,800 yesterday PM. Today’s theme: more of the same. A lot more.

Tennessee is up to 228 cases from 154 yesterday, still out of a mere 613 tests completed. Knox county is up to 6 cases according to multiple officials (but the DOH website lists 3). The City of Knoxville and Knox county are beginning to close bars, gyms and limit restaurant dine-in capacity. This is simply expected at this point.

We won’t stop repeating this: known cases will continue to rise until we have figured out testing. We’re settling in for an entire weekend of negative press coverage. Tennessee’s population is 6.77 million, with 613 tests we’ve tested 0.009% of the TN population. When the tests ramp up it is going to look really, really bad. How do you think our government will respond?

New York has joined CA & PA* (see this morning’s post) in ordering non-essential workers to stay home. Why does this matter? (1) the governor had denied just days ago that they’d go this route, (2) watching how the states, ahead of us by cases, react is the best indicator we have for how our state will react. Illinois also issued a stay-at-home order, while we were working on this post.

Our internal guidance at JM Addington every day this week has been, “assume this is the last day you can get out for two weeks and prioritize accordingly.” If we can get out more, awesome! If not, at least we were ready. And yes, because of that guidance, everyone here has TP (don’t hate us).

Something else we won’t stop repeating, follow data-driven news. Most of the predictions are entirely un-helpful. Everyone is in uncharted waters here. We don’t believe the state or federal governments have access to data significantly different than we do. Internally, we are very focused on the data: cases, spread, how other countries/states are responding.

Along those lines, you should know that things are going to get worse before they get better, and that a 6 to 10 week time horizon is the best estimate we believe we have on how long we’re on shutdown. Dr. Fauci said, this morning, “I cannot see all of a sudden next week or two weeks or three weeks from now it’s going to all of a sudden be over. I don’t think there’s a chance of that. I think it’s going to be several weeks.”

If you watch the headlines day by day it’s a drip drip drip of bad news because our leaders aren’t brave enough to step up and deliver the entire medicine to us at once. That makes it difficult to plan and makes it seem like the story is endlessly bad. It isn’t endlessly bad. But don’t expect school or church to resume the first week of April.

SBA Loans Available in TN for COVID-19

SBA loans are finally showing up for Tennessee counties.

The US/Mexico border is closed for “non-essential” travel. Like the Canadian border closing we don’t think that this will have a major effect on anything, private organizations had already restricted non-essential travel.

Can Tennessee Force Businesses to Close?

I asked Dustin Landry from LA Law this question, and here was his response:

It is possible that a mandated shutdown would be upheld. The U.S. Supreme Court imposes various tests in evaluating restrictions related to equal protection and freedom of speech, assembly, etc. If challenged under equal protection, the courts would likely apply a rational basis test to the policy, i.e., if the regulation is reasonably related to an important public policy and is the least restrictive manner upon which to meet that need, it will likely be upheld. If a mandated shutdown is challenged as a violation of freedom of speech or assembly, a strict scrutiny test will be applied, and the court would again have to determine if the time, place and manner restrictions are reasonably related to the underlying public need and whether or not there are less restrictive options available. Unless and until someone were to challenge a regulation legally in the courts and prevail, the state can certainly enact these measures and enforce them.

In reality, a challenge to any government imposed shut down in the courts may actually take longer than any of these temporary shutdowns would be in place, so we may simply be at the government’s mercy for the time being.

A chart of essential infrastructure workers from the feds:

Hey look, there JM Addington is in green…

*PA is not technically a stay-at-home order, however, the press on it makes it appear that it amounts to pretty much the same thing.

If these updates are helpful to you do us a favor and like the post where you saw this. Also, if you have a question feel free to put that up, we’ll answer it if we feel we have enough internal expertise.