Beyond success lies the place where you are the most you that you can be.

Spend time each day thinking about who that person is, what they are like, what they do, how they do it, why they do it.

Focus on that person and success will be a milestone on your way to your goals.

(If you don’t like that person, this would be a good time to imagine a different person!)

Acting professional does not make you professional.

Being a professional will lead you to act professionally.

There are two words in the English language you should use regularly, “thank you.” There are two words you should use to respond to that, “you’re welcome.”

Not “no problem.”

It was a problem.

Maybe it was a small problem.

Maybe it was a big problem.

You don’t know what size problem it was to the speaker who told you, “thank you.”

But your action, large or small, solved their problem.

“You’re welcome,” accepts their payment of appreciation. “No problem,” declines it.

Let them pay you with appreciation.

Today is primarily East Tennessee, we’ll zoom out to Tennessee briefly at the end.

In short today: this won’t ever be the 19218 pandemic. That doesn’t mean that it can’t get a lot more painful.

Today we are just looking at East Tennessee. Our primary data source (The COVID Tracking Project) has made some significant technical changes that it is going to require us to reconfigure a number of our reports.


The most important things to know go beyond the headline numbers and require additional context.

First, deaths and hospitalizations are arguably the most important numbers for us to track. However, (quality) hospitalization data is updated is weekly or bi-weekly. Also, hospitals don’t take patients from a single county. So, our local hospitals serve a region larger than just Knox County. As of July 14th, the hospitals systems in and around Knox Coutny had over 100 COVID-19 patients. As of today, 44 Knox County residents are hospitalized, or about 1 per 10,000 residents are actively hospitalized with COVID-19.

A few weeks ago we were told that we were posting scary graphs to social media. The graph below is a concerning graph. You can see hospitalized cases start rising significantly from mid-June. Hospitalizations lag infections by a week or two, so these July 14th numbers represent infections occurring the first week of July, when new cases per day in Knox County were probably in the 20-40 range (accounting for test lag times).

Of course, hospital capacity matters as well, as of July 14th there were a total of 690 beds available (22% capacity) in the area systems but only 24 ICU beds (9% capacity).

Those aren’t great numbers.

By the way, a note on the “surge capacity” plans on the Knox County website: those numbers were developed in March when there were no elective procedures allowed. While every hospital spokesperson we’ve heard has said that there is still capacity, the real “surge” numbers are something below what is listed online. The hospitals are currently working on updating the plan.

Our known cases are headed dramatically in the wrong direction as well, currently the 7 day average is about 100 new cases/day. A week ago we were at 72 cases/day and we were at 48 cases/day on July 7th, meaning we are doubling new cases roughly every two weeks.

But that is known cases, i.e., test results are back. Lag times in tests are so bad that last Wednesday Dr. Buchanan of the Knox County Health Department said that there were getting some results back so late that people had already finished their isolation periods! That completely undermines the idea of testing and contact tracing.

But it’s not just cases, people are dying in Knox County, too. You can see it pick up dramatically in July when supposedly only the “safe” demographic have been contracting COVID-19.

Knox County has had a pronounced shift in cases towards the 21-30 year old age group over the last few weeks. This is good news in the sense that the disease burden is significantly lower in this demographic and it has a very low hospitalization rate and death rate. However, if our total cases are quadrupling each month (two 14 day doubling periods) it won’t take long to to fill those remaining 24 ICU beds.

You can sum up the situation as this: we aren’t in an emergency today. We aren’t Florida, Texas, California, Arizona or New York. But we’re on the way there if we don’t do something to slow things down.

This isn’t a courageous position to take: in the last three weeks the governor’s office, the CDC, the Knox County Health Department and the Knox County Board of Health have all spoken about Knox county becoming a hotspot now. (The White House is also calling Sevier County a “red zone”)

The one thing that has really stood out to us since the early days of the pandemic has been the slower speed of growth Tennessee, and especially East Tennessee, than in other places. We may be doubling cases every two weeks but that’s far better than every few days, which the east coast struggled under during the spring. We still have time to improve or stabilize the situation. But don’t expect that to happen on its own.

To zoom out, the decacounty area doesn’t look much better than Knox County, however, Knox county looks like the primary driver here.

This really mirrors the growth we are seeing across the state as a whole.

Deaths continue to slowly grow, from 4/day in March and 14/day today:

Tennessee News

Governor Lee signed executive order 54 allowing mayors in Tennessee’s 89 rural counties to introduce their own mask ordinances. The governor’s office implicitly believes that the other six counties already have this authority.

The Tennessee state of emergency currently goes through August 29th. This allows for remote notaries, electronic government meetings among other such measures.

The next Knox County Board of Health meeting is July 22nd, from 5:00-7:00pm, watch it at http://www.youtube.com/KNOXCOUNTYTN

How We Are Adjusting

We are transitioning to our Work Safe Level 2 this week, which is a more conservative stance from Level 1, where we are currently at.

Personally, we continue to get most groceries delivered and won’t inside restaurants. These numbers, for your author, rule out anything less conservative. Restaurant patios are also out for now, although curbside pickup has been great.

Get In Touch

Need help thinking this through? Access to more data? Help getting your technology in order to handle what’s here and what’s coming? Contact us today.

[1] The COVID Tracking Project stopped giving new deaths by day as a data column; we are presently unable to show this as a graph.

Other

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, info@jmaddington.com. Right now, our PowerBI combines data from NYT, COVID Tracking Project, and the TN Department of Health. Most sets are updated daily

Over the last several years I have learned to have a love/hate relationship with my smartphone. It allows me to get business done from virtually anywhere, but it also is a constant source of interruptions throughout the day. I have had to intentionally take back my attention from my phone to my work.

Here are the two things I do that help keep me focused throughout the day.

1. Turn off all email notifications

I own a business, I have approximately 938,239.3 emails an hour which comes out to 260 notification per second. I don’t need a notification that I have a new email, there is always a new email.

If you use Outlook on an iPhone you can disable these notifications by:

  1. Going to settings
  2. Tap notifications
  3. Tap Mail/Outlook/Gmail (whichever program you use)
  4. Turn off all notifications
  1. Opening up Outlook
  2. Go to Settings from the left slide out menu
  3. Tap on Notifications under Mail
  4. Tap on Notifications and choose None

If you use Outlook on an Android you can disable only email notifications by:

This will allow calendar notifications through without interrupting you for email notifications.

2. Make Liberal Use of Do Not Disturb Mode

My cell phone practically lives on Do Not Disturb mode. On my Android I typically set it to DND for an hour or two at once. After that time, it will come back off of DND automatically, in the rare event I actually forgot it was there.

On iPhones you can choose to turn DND on for an hour at a time as well by opening the Control Center, tapping the moon icon, and then choosing “For 1 hour.”

I’ll leave my phone face up off to the side so I can see it light up if a call is coming in, however, all the breaking news notifications, Facebook/Twitter/Instragram, weather forecasts, Amazon shipment notifications, etc., etc., no longer get to interrupt my flow during the workday.

Don’t be a slave to technology

Most of your tech and apps are designed to fight for you attention. It’s up to you to stay focused on what matters.

The short version of today’s post? Infections are up.

Worldwide infections topped 9 million today. CIDRAP reports, “It only took 6 days for the pandemic total to rise from 8 million to 9 million cases, 2 days less than it took for the number to rise from 7 million to 8 million.” The US far outpaces the rest of the world in total deaths, although per capita we fare better.

Source: South China Morning Post

For the last couple of weeks we’ve noted that US cases have stated within a relatively narrow band of variation. Today, we are way past that, with a 7-day average of over 27,000 new cases per day.

Source: The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

That’s a steep curve upwards friends.

There are some circles advocating that this is due to increased testing. Testing is increasing, but new cases are increasing at a faster rate, show in the positivity rate:

Source: The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

That rate is in an OK place, it used to be north of 20% and now we’re closer to 5%. However, it certainly does not indicate over-testing.

The good news is that deaths per day are headed down. So while we are seeing more cases we are seeing fewer deaths. [1] Deaths lag new cases, it isn’t clear if we’ll see in uptick in deaths in a week or two after this increase.

Below is a complex graph: it shows the new cases per day by state. So, early on you can see New York in the green making up the biggest chunk of cases. Now you can see TX (blue, top), FL (teal, near the bottom), AZ (reddish, near the bottom), and CA (pink, neat bottom) pushing up cases.

The takeaway should be this: the COVID-19 pandemic is the United States is moving not ceasing.

Source: The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

Moving to Tennessee, we also see numbers continuing to rise, you can see a rough trend line we overlaid.

Source: The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

The map below shows the last 14 days of cases by county in Tennessee.

Source: Data from TN Department of Health; Chart by JM Addington

It is critically important to realize how cases are attributed: cases get assigned to the infected person’s county of residence. So, you travel to Memphis and get sick there it will still be attributed to Knoxville. Likewise, if a tourist travels to Sevierville and gets COVID-19 it will not be counted against Sevierville. (There is an out-of-state category that we don’t typically report on.)

If we look at the Knox County area you can see both Sevier and Knox counties driving an increase in cases:

Source: Data from TN Department of Health; Chart by JM Addington

Again, we’re seeing a really steep increase in cases.

State officials haven’t given an explanation for Sevier County’s case increase, however WBIR noted that the Smokies saw over 800,000 visitors during the partially opened month of May.

We don’t have solid data that shows what is behind the increase. Still, we’re willing to speculate that opening up that area to tourism again is a likely explanation. If you’ve been to Sevierville and Gatlinburg you understand that outside of the park proper it is not setup for social distancing.

Moving to Knox County, we’re up to an average of 19 new cases per day. A new high, which has KCHD “concerned.”

Source: Data from TN Department of Health; Chart by JM Addington

In addition, COVID-19 regional hospitalizations are up and ICU capacity is headed down. The health department said that the share of “younger” people with COVID-19 is increasing. In absolute numbers both the area and Knox County cases are low. However, the trend lines are truly concerning. In particular, if what we are seeing are new cases from infections that occurred 5-10 days ago, there is the possibility that we’ve had that much more spread before we even saw the uptick.

How We Are Adjusting

We are likely to transition to our Work Safe Level 2 this coming week, which is a more conservative stance from Level 1, where we are currently.

Personally, we continue to get most groceries delivered and won’t inside restaurants. These numbers, for your author, rule out anything less conservative. Restaurant patios are probably also out for now, although curbside pickup has been great.

Get In Touch

Need help thinking this through? Access to more data? Help getting your technology in order to handle what’s here and what’s coming? Contact us today.

[1] The COVID Tracking Project stopped giving new deaths by day as a data column; we are presently unable to show this as a graph.

Other

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, info@jmaddington.com. Right now, our PowerBI combines data from NYT, COVID Tracking Project, and the TN Department of Health. Most sets are updated daily