Video only this morning.

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

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.

You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing after they have tried everything else.

Wintston Churchill

US cases are up to 32,400 from about 26,900 this AM and 24,100 yesterday PM. While I need to jump data sources for comparison, it looks like New York makes up nearly all of those cases. (10,400 yesterday, 15,200 now).

Tennessee is up to 505 cases from 371 yesterday. Knox county officially moved up to 5. We expect that the real number is a lot more.

I’m sure that most of you have seen that Gov. Bill Lee issued an executive order prohibiting more than 10 people from meeting, restricting restaurants to takeout/delivery and shut down bars, salons, etc. So what? Keep watching how states with more cases are handling COVID-19 to understand how Tennessee (or whatever state you are in) is likely to.

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.

[Edit, 8:39 PM] Delaware, Lousianna and Ohio join CA, NY, IL and PA in issuing mandated shutdowns.

The Problem with the Models

We’re starting to see a lot of headlines about the millions that are going to die or that global depression that’s coming. We don’t want to minimize that it is going to be rough, really rough, for awhile. However, most of the doom and gloom scenarios ignore something really important: people adapt.

When cases are low government is reticent to make big, bold, sweeping changes. As cases shoot through the roof these actions happen swiftly. Similarly, if the economy starts to tank in a way that it looks like it can’t rebound from you can expect government to react to prevent that.

The headlines that show “we all die” or “we are all jobless” present a false dichotomy.

Two Sunday Reads

The Hammer and the Dance” does an amazing job mapping out our different options on how to react to COVID-19. A completely separate effort from academia, highlighted in the NYT, reaches the same conclusion,

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 because it’s just good sense.

Tomorrow our president intends to take a lot of time calling customers and other small businesses to see how they are doing, and where help is needed.

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.

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.

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 26,900 from about 19,800 yesterday AM and 24,100 yesterday PM.

Chart from Worldometers

We can see a slight decline in the number of new cases. [Update 0939 EST] This could be from a decrease in testing in LA & NYC, we won’t know without looking into further data.

hart from Worldometers

There is a slight decrease in daily deaths as well. The significance is that new cases might be down from testing differently but deaths are unlikely to change based on tests. We’ll have to dig into data to confirm.

The biggest headline of the day comes from Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post (SCMP), which is reporting that classified Chinese data shows that about a third of positive COVID-19 persons had no symptoms.

So what? First, China only counted symptomatic people in their official totals so the total number of cases could be higher that official reports. Second, it’s a strong argument for a shelter-in-place order at all levels.

Both China & South Korea have tested for COVID-19 broadly, allowing them to catch cases where people didn’t exhibit sickness. Compare this to the US where only those exhibiting symptoms are being tested.

If we are only keeping the sickest home, we’re still missing a huge chunk of the carriers and we can’t stop the virus. At least if this report is correct.

Our second headline is local, where doctors and mayors in TN are calling on Gov Bill Lee to put in place a statewide shelter-in-place order. Our $0.02: a hard and fast 2-3 week shutdown is the best way to save lives and save businesses and to save jobs. We are all for it. The slow, piecemealed shutdown is likely to result is more deaths, more shuttered businesses, and more lost jobs.

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

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.

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 19,800 from about 14,300 yesterday AM and 18,100 yesterday PM. We won’t stop repeating this: known will continue to rise until we have figured out testing.

So why do we only look at new cases instead of total cases? Think of it as the speed of a car, the number of active cases today is your speed, you know how fast you are going. The number of new cases tells you if you are accelerating or decelerating. Right now, we are accelerating at an accelerating rate.

The rate of change in new cases went down overnight: the curve above is less steep, but we think that there is just a lag in getting new test results in.

Connecticut joined NY, CA and IL in telling people to stay at home. The nature of each of these orders changes in the details but are similar on the whole.

I don’t have time to dig into the testing data this morning but let me give you a summary of what I’m seeing. While US tests are over 100,000 as a whole, individual states are all over the board. NY has tested 33,000, CA 11,800, WA 23,000, TN 800, MO 440, AL 130, GA 2,300.

There are two significant issues with this. First, it is really going to hamper our response as a nation because we don’t know where the cases are, it will drag the shutdowns out. Second, it gives policymakers and the public an inaccurate picture of how things really are.

To depart from data from a moment, we don’t believe for a moment that TN only has 228 cases or that Knox County only has 6. Knoxville sits at the intersection of 75 & 40 and Sevierville hasn’t really shutdown yet. Between the traffic of those two regional intersections, I can’t believe that we don’t have dozens or hundreds of cases.

We say this so that you don’t have additional fear when the cases roll in after testing really gets underway in TN. Remember that the cases just bring visibility to reality.

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

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.

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.

Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.

Wayne Gretzky

Cliche? Maybe. True. Absolutely. We are going to return to this in a minute.

US cases are up to 14,300 from about 9,000 yesterday AM and 11,800 yesterday PM. We won’t stop repeating this: known will continue to rise until we have figured out testing. When you see the increase in cases be thinking, “how is the public going to react to this number? Businesses? The state government? City/county governments?” The actual number of cases didn’t jump some massive percentage overnight, the known cases jumped.

Graph from Worldometers

Also, you can expect to soon see death counts rising among other headlines that seem really dire. At this point, because we prioritize tests for very sick people, we are testing more people that will die from COVID-19 than people that won’t. Put another way, for every death in the US you hear about there are probably 99 people that have COVID-19 and will recover.

As more relatively healthy people get tested for COVID-19 the mortality rate ought to drop.

Where is the puck going? The top news for us overnight is that Israel is going into a nationwide lockdown and both California and Pennsylvania have statewide lockdowns. Nevada has told, but not ordered, non-essential businesses to shutdown.

The PA orders explicitly halts work at companies such as law, accounting, contractors, etc. This is in line with what we’ve seen in France, Italy, Hong Kong, etc. CA is a “shelter at home,” don’t-go-out-unless-you-absolutely-have-to. These shutdowns allow you to go to bank, grocery store, gas station and pharmacy but very little else.

Nobody at JM Addington has a crystal ball about what other states will do next but the governors don’t either. If we had to guess — and we do — we’d expect that many other states to follow a few days to a couple of weeks behind these measures, including Tennessee. However, we don’t know what legal authority the state or counties have to issue such orders.

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. Internally, we are very focused on the data: cases, spread, how other countries/states are responding.

If I have time today I’ll write or record about the specific ways we are responding both personally and as a company.

If these updates are helpful to you do us a favor and let us know in the comments section wherever you saw them posted. Also, if you have a question feel free to put that up, we’ll answer it if we feel we have enough internal expertise.

A little something to watch, one report of out Italy suggests that the Coronavirus was there as early as November or December. If so, that would mean that the virus was circulating weeks before anyone knew it existed and possibly two months before anyone knew it was going to be a big deal.

A chart of essential infrastructure workers from the feds:

Hey look, there JM Addington is in green…

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.

Cases this PM are up to 11,800 from roughly 9,000 this AM and 6,500 at this time yesterday.

Cases in Tenessee are up to 154 from 98. Of those, 105 of them are in Davidson and Williamson counties around Nashville, and 26 are residents out of state but recorded in TN. This is out of 497 tests, which is not a lot for the entire state. We remain surprised that there are not more cases showing up in East Tennessee and continue to believe that it stems from low testing.

“Right now, the majority of cases are people between 21-50. ” [WBIR] This will most likely continue to affect public guidance. You can expect that Tenessee will progressively take measures to ensure that social distancing is followed across the age range.

You can find testing sites here, call your doctor before going to a testing site.

We still believe that new cases will continue to rise as testing ramps up. That said, there are some states where testing is getting worse and not better (see MN). So, take numbers for specific states with a grain of salt unless you know that testing it up to speed.

For JM Addington we believe that our biggest operational risk is that our team staff comes down with something other than COVID-19 and we are essentially forced to self-isolate for 14 days because of similar symptoms. We are in a work-from-home posture with employees rotating on-site work on a weekly basis to ensure that there is no reason for us to self-isolate, other than staying well. We highly recommend that you consider the increased risk that a simple cold presents to your business today in the context of COVID-19.

The SBA disaster loan for COVID-19 continues to be unavailable for Knox county and we assume the whole state.

We continue to be planning on a six to ten-week horizon for major impact. A lot of headlines are shouting some scary things today about global recessions, economic crisis and 18-month shutdowns. It is critical to be driven by data right now and not headlines. Will there be a global recession? Absolutely. Are we headed in the dark ages? There is no reason to believe that this is the next Great Depression.

JM Addington continues to be open for business and serving our customers. We are still going on-site and are available to help employees get setup with work from home as well.

Tim Burchett is holding a virtual town hall on Friday at 3:35 PM. You can join by calling (855) 710-6228 or visiting https://burchett.house.gov/live. If you are a small business owner that lives or does business in his district, you should hop on the call.

For small business leaders, Verne Harnish has some great practical advice on how to lead through a crisis.

Finally, we are offering a free Work From Home package for new customers that includes antivirus, backup, Microsoft Teams and computer monitoring. Free for 60 days. Support prices and setup also have reduced prices. We’ll onboard as many people as possible before we get swamped. wfh@jmaddington.com or 865-240-2716.

A note to our competition: we’d be glad to share how we are able to do this if you want to replicate it. Most of you have JM’s cell, otherwise, call our main line and he’ll get back to you.

That’s all the news that’s fit to type. Go forth and do good work.

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. Video at bottom.

Cases today are up to 9,500 from about 6,500 yesterday AM and 9,000 yesterday PM.

As we’ve gone over, you can expect new cases to continue to rise and rise faster as tests and testing facilities get up to speed. This doesn’t mean that there are actually that many new cases. It just means that we know about them.

Graph from Worldometers

We’re far less concerned about the number of new cases than how our government and politicians respond to it. As we plan, we are focusing on the current and expected future responses. Italy seems to be about two or three weeks ahead of the US, and the coasts (San Francisco, LA, NYC) are about one to two weeks ahead of Tennessee. This is a broad statement, but reading the news from those areas will give you an idea about what is coming next.

Specific to East Tennesee: I’d be shocked to hear that we don’t have any cases in real life here. We’ve responded faster than other areas pre-testing but the thing to watch still is how politicians react when there is visibility into the situation.

Governer Lee of Tennessee has announced that SBA disaster loans will be available to Tennessee small businesses but they aren’t available yet. When they open up, apply.

Headlines this morning

The theme for all of the headlines this morning is that we are still haven’t felt the full brunt of COVID-19. There are more changes left in store for us.

Wuhan — the Chinese city where COVID-19 began, reports no new cases in the last day. You can count me skeptical that the number is actually 0, however, the data certainly is optimistic that cases are steadily decreasing in China as a whole.

China COVID-19 New Cases Graph from Worldometers

The Detroit Big Three are shutting down operations. Tennessee is integral to the auto supply chain, you should expect to see more Tennesseans laid off as a direct result. Also, I’d be surprised to see VW in Chattanooga stay open much longer.

US/Canadian border closing to people. The president promises that this won’t affect trade. Given that most private orgs had already restricted non-essential travel on both sides we don’t expect this to have a broader impact than COVID-19 already has.

Two members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19. Not likely to affect anything today, however, long term implications if Congress allows votes from home are huge. Why would they even want to live in DC anymore if so?

The ENTIRE Georgia Senate is under self-quarantine after a member tested positive. Again, this illness has the potential to change the how of politics.

The WHO says to take Tylenol, not Advil and other NSAIDS for COVID-19 symptoms. Note: there is so little data behind any of these studies that a big grain of salt is always warranted.

At JM Addington we’re set to announce a new work from home plan later today that’s different than anything we’ve tried to do before. Beyond that, we have no new changes in internal plans.

That’s all the news that’s fit to type. Go forth and do good work.

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.

Nationally cases are up to nearly 9,000 cases from about 6,500 this AM. This is absolutely expected and you should expect to continue to see new cases rise and rise at a faster rate. This is a combination of the USA rolling out tests and testing facilities which take special time and training to set up.

For those of you in East Tennessee, no new cases today. Statewide we’re at 98 up from about 78 yesterday. Those are focused around Nashville right now.

I’m personally surprised that we haven’t seen any community transmission around Knoxville. We are close enough to Nashville that I 100% expect to see some soon and I assume that there are already cases in the community that we haven’t found yet.

Tim Burchett is holding a virtual town hall on Friday at 3:35 PM. You can join by calling (855) 710-6228 or visiting https://burchett.house.gov/live. If you are a small business owner that lives or does business in his district, you should hop on the call.

Bill Gates expects this crisis to last 6 to 10 weeks for Western countries that do a good job shutting down. He is as data-driven as they get and has spent a lot of time over the last few years studying pandemics. We are adopting his estimate for our own internal planning.

The SBA is starting to roll out disaster loans. As of this afternoon I couldn’t find it for Knox or Loudon county but business owners in Texas and New York are able to apply for them. Apply as soon as it comes online.

If you are in the market, make sure that you have a fantastic adviser. I know some if you need a referral. Don’t expect that the market moves mean anything. If I’ve figured anything out watching the markets and futures, they have no idea how to price this in.

Finally, if you haven’t updated your HR policies for COVID-19, last week was the right time to do so. Find a company like Results HR that can help you craft the policy for right now. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

That’s all the news that’s fit to type and then some. Go forth and do good work.