Today will be a short post. We’ll hit the main numbers and then hit primary headlines for the day.
Before we get to get any of that, the National Academy of Sciences is holding their 157th Annual Meeting online this year. You can register for Saturday and Sunday sessions for free.
The 2:00-3:30 EDT session is on COVID-19 and includes Dr. Faucci (schedule permitting), Dr. Jeremy Farr and the Director-General of the Chinese CDC.
If you’re reading our updates we literally can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to hear from these guys.
The US as a whole is just flat. The US positivity rate continues to drop, a sign that, maybe, national testing capacity is going to where it needs to be.
Click on any image to see it larger.
US New Cases by Day
US COVID-19 Positivity Rate by Day
Tennesse spikes in cases for a second day. Dr. Piercy indicated that this was expected and a result of testing a correctional facility. The positivity rate didn’t go up, which is a good thing. Also, Dr. Piercey stated that the weekend testing positivity rate was less than 2%. So, that’s not anywhere near a controlled study or randomized sample size, but the low rate is most likely a good indicator Tennessee as we move towards opening up.
TN New Cases
TN Positivity Rate (about 7%)
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. New cases in several of the surrounding counties.
Knox County total cases by day
Nine county are cases by day.
The biggest piece of news today is that a New York serological study (antibodies) estimates that nearly 14% of residents have had COVID-19. Real epidemiologists on Twitter believe that this is in line with their expectations.
The CDC director publically said that 19-20 states may be ready to re-open by May 1st. He didn’t name Tenessee specifically.
“There are a number of states – 19, 20 states – that really have had limited impact from it. So I think we will see some states that are, the governors feel that they’re ready, we’re poised to assist them with that reopening,Dr. Robert Redfield
The House passed the stimulus package the Senate has already passed which includes over $320bn for the Paycheck Protection Program. We assume that it is headed for reconciliation before hitting the president’s desk.
Get your paperwork in order today and be working with a bank that wants to help you.
We spent part of the day helping another small business get their application done. We’d be glad to help you too, however we can.
Bloomberg is reporting that meat is headed for a shortage. Pork output is down 25% and beef down 10%. We wrote about this yesterday and Monday.
Pork could be a long shortage because farmers will have to decide soon if they need to kill their current piglets, or try to raise them when there aren’t plants to slaughter and package them in the future. Farmers are more likely to keep cows, but that doesn’t address the shortages in bee production, or the increasing amount of beef purchases as pork output slides.
“What people don’t realize is in the coming months, that’s going to be one the biggest issues out there is getting the meats and provisions, for not only restaurants, I hate to say it, but grocery stores as well,” said Peter Cancro, chief executive officer of Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems IncBloomberg
Poultry can ramp up the fastest, however, the plants all share a common problem of simply being set up for physical efficiency: physical distance was never the goal when designing the slaughterhouses, so COVID-19 can spread easily in these settings.
Meat prices are already low and feeding animals that can’t sell along with competition from meat imports will continue to hammer farmers who are already hurting. Finally, if North Carolina has the same problems with its pork plants then the meat issues supply chain disruption will get worse.
NC New COVID-19 Cases by Day
Knox County News
Out of today’s health briefing this exchange was the most interesting:
Dr. Buchanan on opening up: “I think there are a couple of things going on that make us feel comfortable with taking this step. One is that we never had a big peak. We had a slow increase in the number of cases and that’s pretty much stayed the same. We haven’t had any big shift in that.”
“So we believe that it’s safe to re-open, we’ll continue to see that slow increase, hopefully not have a peak. If we do we’ll have to take measures to adjust the re-open.”
“Also, to be honest, closing down businesses was never a long-term solution to keeping the COVID-19 numbers down. Its really important for us to do contact tracing, getting folks who are at risk out of the population so we can stop that transmission. When you look at other countries where they’ve had to do these things related to HIV or Ebola, getting those people that might make other people sick out of the general population is really how you stop that chain of transmission. That’s what my team and our community is working to do.”
Dr. Osterholm’s weekly podcast came out yesterday and made a similar case (broadly, not specific to Tennessee).
“We have to understand: we’re going to open up. We cannot exist in a closed down mode for how many many months before we get a vaccine that could, in a sense, rescue us from this virus.”Dr. Osterholm, Osterholm Update: COVID-19 Episode 5: Living with the Virus April 22, 2020
“We’re only maybe in the second inning of this ballgame.” He views this as a gradient where we open some, close some, open some, close some.
“We may not get it right the first time. We may not get it right the second time. But I fear we’re going to have multiple opportunties to get it right.Dr. Osterholm
Likewise, he points out that there isn’t (or shouldn’t be) Team Open and Team Stay Closed. We’re all doing our best to get through this together, and we will.
“It’s us against the virus.”Dr. Osterholm
“At the same time we have to face the reality of what this virus can do and how it does it. It is not going to go away… therefore, what we have to figure out is how we let it exist with us so that we try to suppress it so that we hope to get to a vaccine at some point, but at the same time release people into the public.”Dr. Osterholm
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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.