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 24,100 from about 19,800 this AM and 18,100 yesterday PM.

Tennessee is up to 371 cases from 228 yesterday. Knox county officially moved up to 4, but yesterday health officials were saying 6 verbally. Either way, we expect that the number is a lot more.

The total number that TN is still super, super low. Let’s dig into that a minute by comparing three sets of data. Total tests vs number positive for the USA, NY and TN. TN’s total tests is an estimate as the state is requiring private labs to release complete numbers.

Also, the data for these charts comes from the COVID Tracking Project which may not use the same sources or update at the same time as Worldometers, which I primarily use. I’m switching sources because The COVID Tracking Project lets me download a historical series of data in an Excel format.

So, the one hand these all look remarkably similar. The correlation between testing people and number of positive tests does about what you’d expect, test more, find more.

Now let’s put TN’s chart on the same vertical axis scale as NY:

Uh oh. It looks like we’re not testing anyone here. OK, and so what?

Well, first we can’t respond well. It’s simply not possible for healthcare workers or policymakers to respond to COVID-19 when they don’t know where it is. Second, you can expect some whiplash when they find out more.

New York went into a shutdown yesterday, with 32,000 tests and 7,100 cases. California made that call around 8,500 tests and 600 cases. New Jersey shutdown since this morning’s post, with 8,900 tests and 900 cases.

To be sure, Tennessee has entirely different population densities, total population size and politics than states like California and New York. OK, and so what?

It’s not clear what would be so different about how COVID-19 spreads in NYC, or LA or Nashville or Knoxville that an effective response would significantly differ from one city to the next.

At the same time, just as testing is ramping up on the coasts the healthcare strategy is changing to “test less” because there aren’t enough workers and PPE to test everyone. We’re not sure how that will change the response more broadly.

You want some good news? Wuhan, China is starting to come out of lockdown. The Chinese data strongly supports the idea that there will be an end to all of this, but it’s a few weeks out.

Data from France and South Korea support this as well, Italy doesn’t look so good.

What’s next?

By next week should have some economic data coming in. It won’t be good. We’ll see if data comes in on how the healthcare system is handling this. Right now we’re reading a lot of stories but we can’t find any data that gives a supporting narrative. Part of the issue with stories is that when people self-report they almost always self-report the negative stories.

Put another way, if there is a hospital in the country that has 3 months of PPE and more than enough ventilators they are keeping their mouth shut. We’ll only hear of the shortages which doesn’t paint a whole picture.

How We Are Adjusting

So far, we haven’t made major changes to our response at JM Addington since Monday. We’re working on the SBA loan (see below) because it’s just good sense. We have heard from our first customer who has been significantly affected, with a 75% reduction in headcount for now.

I asked a local CPA with hundreds of customers what he was seeing. He said that medical was starting to suffer, entertainment was already suffering but that the trades (construction) seem to be doing alright. That is consistent with what we’ve seen across our customer base as well.

We rolled out a free, work from home package this week. It includes free antivirus, backup and Microsoft Teams for 60 days. If your company can use that or needs help setting up remote access or cloud servers and desktops we’d be glad to help.

Family Life

My wife put out a vlog on what’s changed and what’s different at the Addington household, you can see her video below.

SBA Loans Available in TN for COVID-19

SBA loans are finally showing up for Tennessee counties.

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.

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.