Today we will hit the numbers, briefly, they look the same as yesterday. We will hit the same core numbers for GA that we hit for Tennessee, today. Then we’re going to hit a scattershot of news items.
The US as a whole is just flat. The US positivity rate dropped, a sign that, maybe, national testing capacity is going to where it needs to be.
Click on any image to see it larger.
To add some subtly to this data, if we take out NY & NJ where we are probably post-peak the US new cases are going up and new deaths are mostly up, not peaked. Without digging in too far, it looks like MA, CA, IL, PA & CT are pushing up the cases. CA, CT, IL, MA, PA and LA are pushing up on deaths.
Tennessee continues to look a lot like the US a whole, more flat than really down. We make up such a small sliver of deaths that you can’t find us on the last chart.
You’ll see a spike in cases today (and corresponding the positivity rate), Dr. Piercy indicated that this was expected and a result of testing a correctional facility.
TN New Cases
TN Positivity Rate (about 7%)
Deaths by State
Georgia looks a lot different than Tennessee. New cases are barely down from the peak and currently headed up. Deaths are sharply up since cases peak, and the positivity rate is over 20%. We haven’t been following GA closely or watching their briefings so maybe there are great reasons for all of this. This is why you see polite scientists puzzled over GA opening up in two days and rude ones incredulous.
The opening plan is also quite different than Tennessee’s.
Gyms, nail salons, bowling alleys, hair solans, tattoo parlors. It feels like they collected a list of the businesses that were most risky and opened those first.Dr. Scott Gottleib, co-author of AEI paper on opening up US
So what? The national media don’t always report on Tennessee and Georgia differently; it is important that regionally we understand the stark differences in the data and plans of each state. Additionally, if this goes poorly for Georgia it could affect neighboring states in the same way we see the New York outbreak affecting the entire New England region.
GA New Cases
GA Positivity Rate (almost 20%)
By the way, if you want to see the same graphs for your state click here, we pull nearly all of our own visuals from this report. Typically updated at the same time the evening’s post goes up.
Here are GA new cases.
Also, you can do it on your phone but it is much easier to navigate on a bigger screen.
The Knoxville area continues to see a slow growth in cases. That’s actually Anderson County pushing up the regional graph. Again, one day is not a trend.
Knox County total cases by day
Nine county cases by day.
Today is a lot of small and important things.
A Boston physician wrote in The Washington Post about how it is nearly impossible to quarantine at home and not infect your family.
The SBA had a data breach and leaked data of at least 8,000 loan applicants. Typically, in the IT world, we see those estimates rise, not fall. Our director of operations got a text message on his personal cell purporting to be from the bank we got the EIDL processed at.
The IT industry has also seen a steep rise in COVID-19 scams: we personally know people that have lost nearly $2,000 in gift card scams. Typically, an spoofed acquaintance or supervisor texts or emails a friend or colleague and asks them to buy gifts at a retail store, scratch off the codes and send photos of the back of the cards. This is a scam every single time.
President Trump announced that National Parks will be re-opening. We hope that this means the Smokies are open again soon.
Tyson is closing its largest pork planet, in Waterloo, IA in response to an outbreak there. They will be closing a second pork plant in Indiana by end of week. A different Tyson plan in IA came back online after being shut down earlier this month.
We probably won’t keep reporting on meat plants every day. Like the state shuts down in late March we expect the biggest news to be when they get a handle on COVID-19, not when another one shuts down. And yes, expect shortages (pork, beef, then poultry) but not an apocalypse.
There are reports of COVID-19 causing blood clotting in patients, and strokes among people in their 30’s and 40’s. First, signs of a stroke are something you should always take seriously, COVID or no COVID. Second, don’t draw conclusions until the scientists have done so. The widespread nature of COVID-19 means that lots of other issues are going to naturally be present in the infected population.
The CDC director warned that a second wave of COVID-19 may be coming. We really dislike headlines with “may,” however, another leading scientist, Dr. Osterholm, made the same point on a webinar today. He cautioned that of the last ten pandemics, all of them had a second wave about six months after the first wave regardless of when they first were introduced.
Multiple sources are reporting that Santa Clara County in the Bay area had its first COVID-19 death on February 6th. This is a full 21 days earlier than what was though to be the earliest death from COVID-19. Given that death lags initial exposure by 2-3 weeks, COVID-19 may been circulating in the US mid January.
Knox County News
The Mayors of Knox County and each county that adjoins it held a press conference today to speak about opening up. The mayors of Knoxville and Faragutt were also in attendance. Only the Grainger County was missing, unable to attend.
Each mayor spoke off of the same set of talking points:
- We can’t let social distancing
- It’s time to get back to work
- We support Governor Lee
Other than their work on presenting a unified front no news came out of the press conference.
“We are under no illusions COVID-19. It is here and is something we will have to deal with for the foreseeable future. We encourage everyone to adhere to the prescribed health guidelines and to act responsibly to keep yourselves, your loved ones, and your community healthy.”Knox County Mayor Jacobs
“I basically just want to get up here and say ‘ditto.'”Union County Mayor Jason Bailey
“We define that as prolong contact with a confirmed case. Or being less than six feet [apart] for more than ten minutes… Exposure is not just walking by someone in a grocery store or stopping by and staying 6 feet away and saying hello. That does not count as an exposure.”Charity Menefee, Director, Communicable and Environmental Disease and Emergency Preparedness, Knox County
“We would like to prioritize testing for people with COVID symptoms. Those are really people that have cough, fever, shortness of breath. They may have bodyaches, headaches, sore throat. They may have loss of taste or smell… we also want to talk about people who have been in close contact to confirmed cases of COVID-19 and healthcare workers.Charity Menefee, Director, Communicable and Environmental Disease and Emergency Preparedness, Knox County
Likewise, the KCHD daily briefing had few new insights, other than a concise definition of exposure by Director Menefee.
KCHD has identified ZIP code 37915 as having the fewest tests by ZIP code in Knox County. We note that is it is mostly black, with a $12,000 per capita income. KCHD will be holding a free walk-in or drive through testing event Saturday, 10 AM – 2PM at The Colosium.
Yesterday the state announced a task force to focus on racial and ethnic discrepancies in health care in the face of COVID-19.
The Tennessee briefing, likewise, was light on new news. TDH will begin releasing numbers on cases and deaths in long term care facilities. Governor Lee took the first several minutes to go over how Tennessee stands in regards to the White House’s Gating Criteria.
We think it was great for Lee to address this directly. Our detailed post yesterday holds up well, with Lee adding some numbers to criterion #3 regarding hospitals.
Again, both Lee & Piercy talk about Tennessee’s slow growth rate of new cases which isn’t actually one of the criteria. However, as we noted on our live post on the topic, we don’t think that Dr. Piercy and Governor Lee are looking up the opening criteria on the White House website when they have a direct line to VP Pence. It’s not an issue that they chose to use a different criterion, it would be clearer if that just said as much.
“For the past three weeks both flu like symptoms and COVID symptoms have steadily declined within the vast majority of our hospitals.”Governor Lee, explaing that Tennessee clears criterion #1
“Over the last 19 days we have had a steady decline in the growth rate of new COVID-19 cases in Tennessee.”Governor Lee, explaing that Tennessee clears a proxy value for criterion #2
“Here we look at the ability of our hospitals to both treat all patients without crisis care or relying on surge capacity. To date, we’ve had 775 of our 7840 hospitalized. Through these hospitalizations, we’ve kept a close watch on the capacity of every one of our hospitals and they continue to deliver on care without a change in their normal operations.”Governor Lee, explaing that Tennessee clears criterion #3
Finally, a friend of mine posted a story her battle with COVID-19 on Facebook. Her case was not typical of someone her age. Neither is it uncommon.
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Thanks to those that have shared kind words or liked these posts. We’re doing out best to put out data-driven analysis, each one of these takes about 2 hours. It’s helpful to know that they are being read.
If you want copies of the Excel sheet and PowerBI Reports we use to put these together email us, firstname.lastname@example.org. Right now, our PowerBI combines data from JHU, NYT, COVID Tracking Project, IMHE and the TN Department of Health. Most sets are updated daily.