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Short post, economics and the CDC is being less precise with their numbers than the media.

Thursday Economic Update

New initial unemployment claims were released this morning (like every Thursday), they “fell” to 2.4 million, or about 10x what you’d expect to see in an average week in January or February of this year. The official unemployment rate still is around 15% but this is surely above that by now. Fortune estimates it to be 22.5%.

Source: FRED

If you were studying economics 20 years ago you would have been taught that 5% was the lowest the economists typically thought unemployment could be. In recent years that’s nudged down, maybe to 4%. So 15% is really, really high, as is 2.4 million initial jobless claims.

Our take is that even with limited re-opening it shouldn’t be unexpected that jobless claims lag the pandemic:

  • The PPP program (free money to small business) surely put off some, but not all claims
  • A number of businesses would opt to keep people on payroll as long as is tenable
  • Other businesses are just getting to the point where fixed costs outstrip their ability to operate at regular employment

If new claims are still this high in a month that will be a significant problem.

Fed chairman Jerome Powell was on 60 Minutes last weekend and Axios gave us some of the highlights:

Fed Chair Jay Powell, in a very interesting “60 Minutes” interview with Scott Pelley, made several points that should be on your radar (videotranscript):

On what metrics he watches hour-by-hour: “[A]t the moment, the thing that matters more than anything else is the medical metrics, frankly.”

On whether the Fed sees unemployment of 20% to 25%: “[T]hose numbers sound about right for what the peak may be.”

On whether he thinks history will call this a Second Great Depression: “I don’t think that’s a likely outcome at all. There’re some very fundamental differences. … [W]e had a very healthy economy two months ago. And this is an outside event — it is a natural disaster, in effect.”

We’ll note that we’ve projected a 25-30% peak and posted several times on how different this is from any other economic event the modern economy has ever gone through.

For what it’s worth, Bank of America has said that they think the initial downturn was worse than they initially thought, but are forecasting a faster recovery. The thing to keep in mind about any of this big picture economic forecasts is that the economics downturn will hit different people, industries, and geographies very differently. Those making under $40,000 are more likely to have lost jobs than those making over $80,000, Walmart, Target & Amazon are powering through this pandemic, Uber and Delta are not, nor is JC Penny. he stock market seems to have lost nearly all mooring to the “fundamentals.”

So, these forecasts are helpful to know how things play out on a national, and almost conceptual level, but your specific economic experience is not tethered to the national economy.

Oregon’s stay-at-home order was thrown out, and then the toss out was “stayed,” both on Monday. You can expect to see more of these court challenges.

The biggest COVID-19 headline we’ve seen today is this report from The Atlantic that the CDC and some states are combining the results of their PCR and serological tests in reporting, including two of the states that we reported on opening up early, Texas and Georgia. These are two very different tests. It would be like combining the scores of your child’s reading test with that of his or her class and then just reporting that final score. Or counting your apples and oranges and just reporting how many total pieces of fruit you counted.

This really makes the testing numbers coming from CDC, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Vermont close to worthless.

To be clear, doing both tests are good. Reporting both results is great. Reporting those results together is bad.

One thing you’ll hear me say around our Microsoft Teams “office” a lot is that “everything is backwards in COVID world.” This is another example of that, where CDC — the gold standard of the entire world for public health — has less reliable numbers in the middle of a pandemic than John Hopkins or The COVID Tracking Project, which is led by a magazine (The Atlantic).

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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.

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, IMHE and the TN Department of Health. Most sets are updated daily

Today, after a few days of agitation from local lawmakers, Knox County changed their re-opening plans. We’ll discuss that and then hit numbers.

Knox County Re-Opening

Knox County announced today that Phase 2 will come three days early. This comes five days after the state of Tennessee announced that restaurants and retail could return to full capacity May 22nd, and after repeated statements from local lawmakers pushing KCHD to move to Phase 2 early.

There are there several ways to look at this, and all of them are important. First, opening 3 days early with essentially flat numbers isn’t likely to make a difference in COVID-19 spread that we’ll ever be able to measure. Second, this push to match the state’s re-opening guidelines cedes influence on the topic to the state. It’s an odd viewpoint coming from Mayor Jacobs, in particular, to cede power up the chain instead of keeping decision making local.

However, the lack of a unified plan across the state also made this inevitable to a degree: any time an industry in one county has an advantage over an industry in another, businesses are fearful of missing out. The economics of the situation pressure everyone to open up as fast as the fastest county/state.

Third, given that Tennessee is already re-opening restaurant and retail capacity to 100% this week and that the rest of the guidelines are, essentially, unenforceable, the final cessation of power and influence effectively is to individuals and businesses. The government will give us suggestions: it is up to us whether or not to follow them.

This is a realpolitik — short of turning into a police state the governmental shutdowns rely primarily on voluntarily compliance. In a state that hasn’t been hit hard by COVID-19 cases and deaths it is clear that patience for that compliance has waned considerably. It also doesn’t mean that the state, or the county, is back to a pre-pandemic normal.

The public orders matter far less than what people choose to do, on their own, voluntarily. It also remains up to individual persons to wear masks, wash hands, physically distance while out, etc. It also remains up to them to choose to dine-in, or do curbside pickup, at their favorite restaurant. Put another way, opening up is not a yes/no binary choice nor were the lockdown. Or another, the virus cares about what people do not what regulations politicians put in place.

Finally, there is a humility that we don’t know in full what causes pandemics to ebb and flow. This post goes over three very different scenarios painted by some of the most prominent epidemiologists in the country. It is possible that COVID-19 was already going to recede on its own and that lockdowns/opening-up play less important of a role than we realize. We may not know for weeks or months.

The Americans are a curious, original people. They know how to govern themselves, but nobody else can govern them.

A British officer leaving New York, 1783

We have earned this in part, now let us earn it in full.

How is JM Addington Reacting?

We haven’t changed plans yet. Our views for our business are:

  • A conservative approach (work from home, wearng masks, etc.) is not likely to lose any business and we will probably pick some up from people that appreciate it.
  • The same is true for employees: everyone feels appropriately safe in our current operations.
  • While the risk of several of us getting sick at once is low, it would be devastating to our company. Our best “insurance” against it is to stay pragmatically cautious.
  • We believe that there are 2-4 good months ahead of us, as business picks up its pace and some businesses want to invest the liquidity injections they just got from PPP and EIDL. We expect opportunities over this summer that we haven’t seen in years.
  • We’re trying to keep a maximum range of options open for the fall and winter. History strongly suggests a second wave will come. If that happens we want to have done our best in the good months to be prepared to ride it out without counting on another government bailout.

Overall, it’s remarkably unremarkable. We are, essentially holding stead since mid-April in community cases. Our testing remains high enough that we are testing roughly twice the target. And even as we target populations where we expect to see more cases (prisons, nursing homes) the testing ratio remains great.

Local News

Wampler’s Farm Sausage, which reported a single asymptotic case a couple weeks ago only found one more after extensive testing (we think, their entire workforce.) This speaks very highly of Tennessee’s testing, that we are now able to avoid such an outbreak.

…but…

Monterey Mushrooms, located in the same city, had an outbreak of at least 59 employees of about 300 over the weekend. We have no way to verify this, but we would be surprised based on other outbreaks if there was not a housing aspect that played a role here as well. (I.e., multiple workers living in close quarters in the same housing areas.)

Numbers

Nationally, numbers are still stable on average. (The uptick at the end is a result of a particularly low day falling off the average.)

US COVID-19 Cases and 7 Day Rolling Average by JM Addington Technology Solutions in Knoxville, TN
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

However, that blended average hides more nuanced sub-plots to the story. Headed up in cases include AR, AZ, ME, MI, MN, NC (sharply!), ND, OK and TX. If we change the chart to just those states you don’t see that there ever was a peak. Don’t take this beyond its literal meaning: each region/state needs to be considered on it’s own, not just as part of the US average.

Selected States COVID-19 Cases by JM Addington Technology Solutions in Knoxville TN
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

Tennessee remains mostly flat, up a little bit this month, we believe, from targeted tests in prisons and nursing homes.

TN COVID-19 Cases and 7 Day Rolling Average by JM Addington Technology Solutions in Knoxville, TN
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

The county area also remains stable, except for the major spike from Monterey Mushrooms. The real question here is if this will fuel a larger outbreak of if it was tested in time to be contained. 3-4 weeks will tell.

Area COVID-19 Cases and 7 Day Rolling Average by JM Addington Technology Solutions in Knoxville, TN
Source: TN Department of Health; Chart by JM Addington

Finally, Knox County itself also remains very stable. More importantly, our hospital system is still within capacity.

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 from about a month ago.

Also, you can do it on your phone but it is much easier to navigate on a bigger screen.

These posts helpful?

Then go ahead and share them where you saw them once or twice a week.

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.

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, IMHE and the TN Department of Health. Most sets are updated daily

Today we’ll look at three Southern states that opened around the same time and compare how they are doing.

Re-Opening

Tennessee is now 17 days into re-opening, as is Texas. Georgia got the jump on us and began their re-opening on April 24th, a week earlier. Of those three states, Texas probably had the most conservative plan, Tennessee right behind it, while Georgia’s plan was… ambitious.

So, this far in what does the data say?

We’re going to start with one giant caveat, in many ways a post like this ought to way until a full three or four week have passed to make judgements. However, our belief is that in each of these three states the data is consistent enough in its trends to start making calls, even if its early.

[Edit: 5/18/20] A thoughtful reader (thanks Rob!) points out the charts below could be misread. To be clear, even though we have highlighted the entire opening period, only the most few recent days would have cases that began during the re-opening period.

Tennessee Re-Opens

Tennessee began a trend up at the beginning of the re-opening period, on that cannot be attributed to re-opening and is most likely from targeted testing that began at correctional facilities. Last week’s bump is attributable to the same thing.

Overall, it’s remarkably unremarkable. We are, essentially holding stead since mid-April in community cases. Our testing remains high enough that we are testing roughly twice the target. And even as we target populations where we expect to see more cases (prisons, nursing homes) the testing ratio remains great.

Source: Data from the COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

The cases that we do have remain around Nashville and Memphis. This map, which you won’t find elsewhere, shows cases for just the last 2 weeks by county in Tennessee. The one part that isn’t clear is that Davidson and Shelbyville are much higher than the surrounding counties, even though they come out in similar colors.

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

This map matters because if you look at total cases, ever, then much more of the state looks awful.

For the local situation we are going to introduce another new chart, new cases by county by day. And in short, the Knox County region is just steady. We peaked in mid-April but just never had an awful spike. In fact, in the last 7 days Knox County has only seen a new of 28 new cases.

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

To prognosticate: we don’t believe that anywhere in the US can or will see a caseload lower than Knox County’s for any sustained period while COVID-19 is still circulating widely. We really think that this is as good as it gets.

So, Tennessee seems to be doing really well on re-opening.

Georgia Re-Opens

Until Wisconsin threw out their entire stay-at-home order and filled up the bars in a single night Georgia really held the title of most ambitious re-opening plan. Candidly, even “plan” seems like too kind of a word to use. So, how has Georgia done, with a one week head start?

Quite well. Like Tennessee, Georgia shows stability more than anything. not a sharp decrease but no explosive outbreak here either. Their testing continues to ramp up and Georgia also does about twice as many tests as is targeted. Note that their new cases per day is roughly double Tennessee’s.

Source: Data from the COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

Their primary outbreak is constrained to a single geography: around Atlanta, with 36% of all cases:

Source: Georgia Department of Public Health

Those five counties are also showing a decrease in cases over the last two weeks. Incredibly, that decrease becomes much more pronounced the longer Georgia has been opened up.

Source: Georgia Department of Public Health

Georgia has been critiqued for having data lags that last up to a couple of weeks, so it is possible that we’ll see the data for early May change. However, the data we have now shows that Georgia also is opening up alright.

Texas Reopens

So, the South is two for two so far, what about Texas? Their stay at home order expired the same date as Tennessee’s and their business capacity was held to 25%, half of Tennessee’s. Although Texas also allowed for some more industries to re-open.

Texas is where the successful re-opening story goes to die. They went from a downward trend in Late April to an uptick in new cases that began at least a week before opening up even took place, and that hasn’t abated since. Their new cases per day (average) are roughly triple Tennessee’s (with about 4x the population). And this is even though Texas is also testing about double the testing target.

Source: Data from the COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

Not shown are deaths, which are ticking up in Texas since last April as well. If there is a mitigating factor is it that Texas has nearly 30 million people. Also, to keep things in perspective their peak is still over 30% lower than New York’s lowest point post-peak, and New York state has less than two thirds as many people.

It’s possible that there are specific factors driving the outbreak that we’re unaware of — we haven’t been tracking Texas at JM Addington — but regardless it’s clear that they are having a tougher time of it than Tennessee & Georgia.

What does this mean more broadly?

  1. There is not a single narrative that explains how the US is handling COVID-19. We’re declining at a nation, with some states holding steady of quickly declining while others move the opposite direction. New York’s best day is still worse than most state’s worst day.
  2. Opening up has more than one potential outcome: A lot of us are looking at Wisconsin now after their supreme court struck down the statewide stay-at-home order and Wisconsinites quickly filled the bars. However, from our brief analysis here it’s clear that doesn’t determine which was Wisconsin will swing.
  3. There is more we don’t know than what we do know: it’s hard to lay claim to victory where things are going well when it’s not clear what causes them to go so well in one place and move in the opposite direction in another.

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 from about a month ago.

Also, you can do it on your phone but it is much easier to navigate on a bigger screen.

These posts helpful?

Then go ahead and share them where you saw them once or twice a week.

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.

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, IMHE and the TN Department of Health. Most sets are updated daily

Today we’re going to talk about the biggest news today, and then go over numbers, which are less encouraging nationally that we’d hope.

Missouri, Italy & France

Early this morning CNN posted an article that a pork processing plant in Missouri had 373 workers test positive for COVID-19 and all were asymptomatic. Now, we’re taking this with a small grain of salt because it goes so far against the other data that we have, the idea that a single cohort could test this congruently positive while asymptomatic is hard to believe, it would necessarily raise a lot of questions about what we know about COVID-19.

A paper in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents says that doctors in France retrospectively found a patient that tested positive for COVID-19 on December 27th, 2019. Doctors routinely keep samples at this hospital, so that back-tested some of them against COVID-19 and found one. For context the WHO’s website still states that the first recorded case outside of China was in Thailand, on January 13th.

On March 20th, we wrote:

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.

JM Addington Technology Solutions, 2020-03-20 COVID-19 AM Update

This adds to the possibility that COVID-19 really was circulating in Italy far earlier than confirmed.

It is impossible to go into the implications of these reports, if they pan out, without diving into some pretty deep and poorly-vetted prognostication.

Today there are dire headlines about internal White House projections of deaths per day hitting new peak levels in June, etc. We certainly don’t want to discount that possibility, however, selected leaked White House papers typically do little to further science or an objective understanding of reality. The White House (and the Pentagon) plan for everything. You will find plans in their archives that range from spot-on to absolutely crazy. It will matter if it turns out it was the consensus plan and not a “just a possibility” plan.

J. Crew is going to file for bankruptcy. (1) Bankruptcy doesn’t mean going out of business, (2) the fashion/clothing/retail sectors have been in a bad spot for years, (3) because of (1) and (2) we expect to see more of these filings: it is a “forced opportunity” to take an action that was already likely.

Gap, Tesla and Victoria’s Secret are among the nearly 5,000 store closings already in 2019

CNBC, nearly 15 months ago in 2019

Finally, Tyson says to expect more meat plan closures. We’ve been on this for a couple of weeks now. Please remember that a shortage doesn’t mean an outage.

Numbers

We’re just going to skate over these today because they can be summed up easily: the US declining in cases, but barely. Tennessee is increasing in cases, and that’s looking iffy. The Knox County region sees about the same growth we have seen.

US COVID-19 Cases and 7 Day Rolling Average, May 4th, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: The COVID Tracking Project

There really isn’t a way to interpret this as a good news, other than that it doesn’t seem like our healthcare system has been overwhelmed on a national level, the avoidance of which was the primary rationale for the lockdowns.

If you remove New York completely, we’re still on the upswing.

US w/o NY COVID-19 Cases and 7 Day Rolling Average, May 4th, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: The COVID Tracking Project

Not shown are deaths, which at over 60,000 total are already past the optimistic numbers put out in mid-April as New York began to get its crisis under control but before outbreaks were as prevalent elsewhere. President Trump yesterday put the possible deaths number at as high as 100,000. At our current rate of about 1,700 new deaths/day we’ll hit that before the end of May. It’s really not clear to us how we’d slow down deaths/day if cases are increasing, and are expected to increase more as we open up.

We are switching our source for most Tennessee specific data to the Tennessee Department of Health as they have finally given us data on par with the COVID Tracking Project. Better late than never.

TN COVID-19 Cases and 7 Day Rolling Average, May 4th, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Tennessee Department of Health

Again, for Tennessee the balance is that things are trending the wrong way, even allowing for the clusters we know about (i.e., prison testing). What does this tell us about opening up? Nothing, right now. These trends most likely reflect exposures in late April, that were tested when Tennessee began to open up. Mid to late May is when we learn about how opening up affects us.

You certainly can read this data as giving you great pause and caution before heading outside your home and that isn’t an unfair reading of the data. However, as we have again noted for weeks, Tennessean social distancing plateaued in early to mid-April.

Tennessean social distancing plateaued in April

Of course, even with those caveats, it’s hard to imagine that opening up won’t bring more cases, and deaths.

Knox County remains in its own little world. One of the most important aspects of our low growth in absolute number of new cases today is that our health department has enough to staff to do testing and contact tracing. After you get above a certain point your percentage growth rate can be slow, or even negative, but you still don’t have enough people to fight it. The cat is still in the bag here.

May 4th, 2020 COVID-19 Cases in Knox County by Knox County Public Health Department
Source: Knox County Public Health Department

We’re going to leave you this excellent map that focuses on trends a the county level.

Source: Here

A month ago New York was driving COVID-19 data so much we’d actually show graphs here with and without it. Today, there are a number of states on its heel. The COVID-19 story is about to get much more complex

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.

These posts helpful?

Then go ahead and share them where you saw them once or twice a week.

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.

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 JHU, NYT, COVID Tracking Project, IMHE and the TN Department of Health. Most sets are updated daily.

Today we’re going to talk about Knox County opening, some thoughts on fighting COVID-19 from Singapore and Hong Kong, then go over the numbers

Knox County – Open for Business, Kinda

May 1st Tennessee essentially throws open its doors to business, (at 50% capacity at any rate), with only a handful of industries still closed everyone else is allowed to open. Knox County is taking a phased approach that is significantly more measured and has materially more amounts of guidance to date. So, is it safe to go back out?

East Tennessee is as different a story to the rest of the state as Tennessee is to the nation as a whole. While Knox County cases have risen in the last couple of days, as a whole, they’ve been incredibly slowly steady over the last 6 weeks. This heatmap from Tennessee Department of Health shows how different the cases are in and around Memphis and Nashville:

While each person ought to and needs to take their own risk factors into account, the next two weeks are probably about as safe to head out in Knox County as we’ve had since February. Our cumulative positivity rate was 3.4% on Tuesday in Knox County, with about 1.4% of the population tested. Those are both fairly robust numbers with such a low rate of overall cases.

With all of that said, at JM Addington — and personally — we don’t plan to change behavior in the next month. (You can see our operations plan here). The primary driver behind this is that if, as a community, we open up too fast and spread coronavirus faster than expected we won’t fully see the impact in the numbers until the 3rd or 4th week of May. Somewhere between May 15th and May 25th we’ll re-assess and see if we feel it’s prudent to loosen our own internal restrictions.

Until then, we’re aren’t increasing our shopping trips at home and we’re mostly working from home with only essential trips to client sites. We need a haircut as badly as anyone else, but, at least your author, won’t be getting one in the first half of May.

In a broader context we are actively planning on a second wave hitting, even though that is an unknown currently. That potentially gives us two to four months between waves to work on things corporately and personally before hunkering back down again. We hope to post on this more fully soon.

Hong Kong & Singapore

The New York Academy of Sciences held a free COVID-19 webinar today featuring Dr. Gabriel Leung of University of Hong Kong, Dr. Vernon Lee from the Singapore Ministry of Health and Dr. Jennifer Dowd from the University of Oxford.

For comparison, Hong Kong has over 7 million people in a land area that fits inside Nashville, including portions being population-dense as Manhattan. Singapore has 5.8 million people with a higher population density than Hong Kong. Singapore has a total fo 16,000 cases (about where Indiana is at today) and Hong Kong just over 1,000 cases.

In both cases, but especially Hong Kong, case-targeted approaches were used first and population-based measures second. (Scholarly source on Hong Kong) For example, Hong Kong started by requiring temperature checks of all inbound travelers in January and only cut off non-Hong Kongers in late March. Testing and contract tracing were also in place late January but bars only closed in late March (and restaurants, incredibly, are still open). Amusements parks and sports closed early but nightclubs much later

There is nuance, to be sure (see the NEJM article for details), but both Kong Kong and Singapore seemed to favor precise tools first and hammers second. We suspect our US public health experts would agree with that style of approach, however, we clearly didn’t implement the more precise approaches in a level that even can contest with Hong Kong or Singapore.

“This will be over one day, but it is a marathon. The exit strategy is science… that is our best and only exit strategy.”

Dr. Gabriel Leung

Numbers

The national numbers continue to be… the same. We have slowed the growth, but barely, and the we’re testing better, but still need to do significantly better.

The biggest thing that doesn’t show on these charts is the geographic movement of cases. While New York continues to lead the way, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, California, Pennsylvania and Michigan all have over 40,000 cases. It’s not even clear that COVID has peaked in these places.

Positivity rate

The number of confirmed cases divided by total tests performed. This gives one an idea on if enough tests are being performed. Dr. Fauci has indicated that he’d like to see the US at 10%.

US New Cases by Day

US COVID-19 Cases and 7 Day Rolling Average, April 30th, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

CA, IL, MA & PA Cases by Day

CA, IL, MA, MI, and PA COVID-19 Cases and 7 Day Rolling Average, April 30th, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

US COVID-19 Positivity Rate by Day

US COVID-19 Positivity Rate, April 30th, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

US Cumulative COVID-19 Cases & Deaths

April 30th, US Total Cases and Total Deaths from COVID-19 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

It’s hard to even detect a decline in the cumulative cases and deaths. Deaths are actually ticking up, which is concerning.

Tennessee continues to fare better than the national trends, although we put a marker back in today’s graph to remind ourselves about where things were the last time that we were eating out, around March 15th. It would be three days later that we posted our first public article on COVID-19, writing, “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.” Tennessee COVID-19 cases are up over 100x since that first post, 6 weeks ago.

TN New Cases

TN COVID-19 Cases and 7 Day Rolling Average, April 30th, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

TN Positivity Rate (about 5%)

TN COVID-19 Positivity Rate, April 30th, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

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.

Knox County continues to have very low new cases, with eight new cases today, and 232 overall.

April 30th, 2020 Knox County, TN New COVID-19 Cases
Source: Knox County Department of Health

Area cases are ticking up at a similar rate.

We’ll give Governor Lee the last word today, as we think it makes a big difference on how the next 30 days go:

Tennesseans have to stay committed to social distancing.

GOVERNOR Lee, April 28th, 2020

These posts helpful?

Then go ahead and share them where you saw them once or twice a week.

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.

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 JHU, NYT, COVID Tracking Project, IMHE and the TN Department of Health. Most sets are updated daily.

Today we’re going to go over interpreting data, the numbers and news.

Torturing Data

First, we want to remind everyone, this is us humanity vs COVID-19. This is every person that you love, every person on this big blue marble fighting a germ we only see under a microscope. No one on your Facebook feed is trying to mislead you.

But some people still are. One of the first things you learn in statistics 101 is that if you torture the data enough it will tell you what want to hear.

“Torture the data, and it will confess to anything.”

Ronald Coase, Economics, Nobel prize Laureate

This becomes of particular concern when the consequences are serious and the issues complex. To add to it in our present situation, our knowledge is limited.

Be very skeptical of any “hot takes” in your news feeds that claim to tell you what no one else will, that are “breaking,” anytime someone “destroys,” someone or a point of view. Even the experts in infectious disease and epidemiology don’t agree on the specifics of COVID-19, they do have a consensus of its contours.

We present all of our sources so you can track them down. We offer up our reports for free so you can play with them yourself. We keep the graphs and calculations simple, because if you take data that isn’t accurate and then perform a bunch of steps to turn it into another metric you just get multiplied garbage. It is perfectly clear to anyone in the field or anyone tracking the data that it is imperfect. It’s also the best that we have.

When my kids were younger they thought that they could just throw some flour, yeast, salt and water together to make bread. The proportions didn’t matter to them.

Nothing useful was produced.

And that, friends, is what happens in most of the posts that hype misinformation.

Numbers

US Cases are still pretty much flat nationally since peak in mid April. The 7-day average of new cases per day is only down to 29,000 from 31,000. We’ve successfully stalled the acceleration of growth but we’re not reducing the size of the epidemic, it’s on cruise control.

If there is good news in the charts below it is that we are beginning to test better. We’re not doing great, just better.

Positivity rate

The number of confirmed cases divided by total tests performed. This gives one an idea on if enough tests are being performed. Dr. Fauci has indicated that he’d like to see the US at 10%.

US New Cases by Day

US COVID-19 Cases and 7 Day Rolling Average, April 28th, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

US COVID-19 Positivity Rate by Day

US COVID-19 Positivity Rate, April 28th, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

Balancing out the spike in cases is a flat-ish positivity rate. At 5% positivity rate (6.2% cumulative) Tennessee: we make up 2.72% of all US tests and 1% of all US COVID-19 cases.

TN New Cases

TN COVID-19 Cases and 7 Day Rolling Average, April 28th, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

TN Positivity Rate (about 5%)

TN COVID-19 Positivity Rate, April 28th, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

For comparison, you have the US positivity rate up top, or below, Nebraska and Minnesota. Nebraska is clearly headed in the wrong direction, with an outbreak at a rural beef meat packing plant that appears to be driving up the cases, and hence the positivity rate. Minnesota’s new cases appear to be outpacing new testing (not shown, see MDH website).

NE Positivity Rate

NE COVID-19 Positivity Rate, April 28th, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

MN Positivity Rate

MN COVID-19 Positivity Rate, April 28th, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

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.

Alright, so why look at Minnesota and Nebraska? Mostly to again indicate that there isn’t just one way to monitor COVID-19 in the US or one testing number to hit. Nebraska probably felt good about their testing until outbreaks in rural areas (their metro areas are faring much better, right now).

It’s interesting — and sad — by itself, but also instructive for every other state: rural areas are not spared.

April 28th, 2020. COVID-19 Cases in NE By Date
Source: Data by New York Times; Chart by JM Addington

We’re using a different chart for Knox County today, the only time series data we have is in tabular form is from the New York Times, which occasionally disagrees with KCHD’s website on any given day. As a whole, it’s accurate. However, looking at just the last 21 days gives you a better feel for just how gradual the growth is here.

Short of no new cases it is hard to imagine us doing any better.

Knox County total cases by day

April 26th, 2020 Knox County COVID-19 Cases
Source: Data from The New York Times; Chart by JM Addington

Nine county area cases by day.

April 28th, 2020 COVID-19 cases for Anderson County, Blount County, Grainger County, Jefferson County, Knox County, Loudon County, Roane County, Scott County, Sevier County and Union County
Source: Data from The New York Times; Chart by JM Addington

A Look at the Week Ahead

We said yesterday that the US would hit 1,000,000 cases, today we did.

President Trump signed an executive order ordering slaughterhouses to keep working. It’s a complicated issue, immigrants make up a disproportionate share of workers, Jeff Bender (UMN, Professor Division of Environmental Health Sciences) said today on a webinar that more than 20 languages were spoken at one of the recently closed plants. It doesn’t seem possible to physically distance and the plants and many of the works live in residences where physical distancing is difficult.

When you combine that with a hold on immigration for 60 days, ensuring that there even are workers available seems like it could be challenging.

Governor Lee issued Executive Order 30, which repealed most of his other orders. Gatherings of 10 or more or still prohibited (but churches, weddings, funerals, etc. are allowed). Gyms are allowed to open Friday at 50% capacity.

This order explicitly overrides any other county or city level orders except Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby and Sullivan counties.

Still Closed

  • Bars
  • Salons/spas
  • Night clubs
  • Bowling alleys
  • Concerts
  • Others similar to the above

Tennesseans have to stay committed to social distancing.

GOVERNOR Lee, April 28th, 2020

Governor Lee also confirmed that healthcare providers in Tennessee treated uninsured persons will be reimbursed by a combinations of federal and state funds.

Dr. Piercey spent a couple of minutes going over the importance of cloth masks, guidance we endorse.

Life Care Center in Athens is confirmed to have 51 ceases. All residents have been tested, all associates have testing available. This will almost certainly result in a lot deaths. The fatality rates go up significantly with age (see yesterday’s post).

Unemployment

Dr. McCord confirmed today that “if you don’t have a clear reason not to go back [to work],” you are not eligible for continued unemployment benefits. If you have a specific reason (i.e., you are a high-risk individual, that will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

See the video for briefing highlights today.

https://youtu.be/X2sSnLQLxmo
Highlights of state and Knox Coutny briefings toay

As you head into Monday and May 1st remember what side you’re on: our side, humanity’s side. Think about what you can do to stay safe and protect others — a one-size-fits-all answer is probably the wrong one.

These posts helpful?

Then go ahead and share them where you saw them once or twice a week.

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.

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 JHU, NYT, COVID Tracking Project, IMHE and the TN Department of Health. Most sets are updated daily.

This post skips numbers completely, we will have an abbreviated post later for that. Instead, we focus 100% on Knox County’s plan for re-opening.

Spoiler: we like it.

Knox County Phased Reopening Plan

The plan brings together guidance primarily from CDC and OSHA to present a unified re-opening plan for Knox County. The plan is more detailed and more conservative than the Tennessee Pledge.

There Knox County Plan outlines three Phases, each of which much last at least 28 days. Only Phase One is detailed at this point and all three phases commit to what the plan calls the Five Core Actions:

  1. Physical Distancing
  2. Wearing Cloth Face Coverings
  3. Handwashing
  4. Cleaning Surfaces
  5. Staying home if you are sick or instructed to stay at home
The plan authors see the plan as being nested inside larger guidance

The phased reopening is not a return to pre-pandemic normal. As an illustration, we are currently on an unsafe highway that was shut down to through traffic so resurfacing supplies and equipment could be gathered. The phased reopening is not a return to high-speed travel on I-40. The phases serve as different degrees of construction warnings. The reduced speeds and restricted lanes protect both the driver and those working on the road. Some degree of warning and modified lanes will exist until it is safe for both drivers and workers for the road to fully reopen at previous speed limits.

A Community Strategy for Phased Reopening, Knox County & City of Knoxville

In our own post yesterday, we noted how it would take a couple of weeks to observe the effects of re-opening. Each phase of this plans lasts a minimum of 28 days to give leaders time to observe the results of re-opening and make changes as necessary.

Each phase can also be adjusted mid-stream. For example, a phase may change seating capacity in a restaurant without entirely changing phases.

Local Benchmarks to Move through the Phases

Sustained reduction or stability in new cases for 14 days. “A sustained reduction or stability in new cases for 14 days is an indicator for movement towards the next phase.” Two things to note, the plan calls this an “indicator,” not an absolute, and, an increase in cases continues to be expected because of our low initial case count.

(We’ll also note that plan focuses on new cases, not cumulative cases, a metric we’ve followed for a few weeks for the same reasons the plan states)

Our community demonstrated success in flattening the curve before it truly started. Due to this initial success, future phases will result in increased numbers of active case counts. This alone is not a reason to revert to a previous phase or not advance to the next phase.

A Community Strategy for Phased Reopening, Knox County & City of Knoxville

[T]esting should prioritize those with symptoms, people who have been in close contact with a confirmed case, suspected cases in congregate living sites and health care workers.

A Community Strategy for Phased Reopening, Knox County & City of Knoxville

Community-wide sustained and increased diagnostic testing with consistent or decreased test result reporting turnaround time. The target is 24 hour turn-around time for tests (again, something we’ve said here for a few weeks) but acknowledges we can’t be there today.

Sustained or increased public health capability to rapidly interview new cases, identify close contacts, and ensure that isolation and quarantine are effective. In short, we need to be able to do contact tracing quickly. The plan calls for interviewing all new persons infected within 24 hours and notifying the people that they were in contact with withing 48 hours.

It is anticipated that employers and medical facilities will be asked to assist with contact tracing and monitoring for the benefit of the public.

A Community Strategy for Phased Reopening, Knox County & City of Knoxville

Health care system capabilities remain within current and forecasted surge capacity. If it looks like a surge of COVID-19 cases would push us over healthcare system capacity we can’t move forward. (This, more than anything, was the bedrock reason for lockdown in the first place).

Sustained or decreased COVID-19 related death rate for identified positive or probable cases. I.e., if a lot of new COVID-19 related deaths occur, we can’t move forward to the next phase.

A note on deaths and new cases, KCHD will consider clusters in context. For instance, if there was a spike in deaths in a contained place or geography that alone would not prohibit Knox County from moving to the next phase.

The plan balances capacity with disease burden; illustration by Chip Addington

For Organizations

Each organization should have its own COVID-19 coordinator.

Signage to enforce public health and safety should be put up.

An email list (listserv) will be available by May 1.

A COVID-19 recognition program will be available by May 1, to demonstrate that your organization is committed to the health of your employees and customers.

Key qualities of a coordinator include someone who will take action to implement the recommended measures, stay aware of changes to recommendations through the official communication channels on the website, and has the authority to reinforce the need to follow the measures on an ongoing basis throughout the reopening phases.

A Community Strategy for Phased Reopening, Knox County & City of Knoxville

Phase One

Every industry should:

  • Clean everything between uses
  • Put up signs and barriers (signs to remind people socially distance, wash hands; barriers like what you see at Kroger, etc. now)
  • Wear masks when unable to physically distance (stay 6′ apart)
  • Telework when possible
  • Close common areas
  • Screen employees daily for symptoms
  • Require COVID-19 infected employees to stay home (you do not need a negative test to return to work, see plan for details)

What’s Open

  • Offices
  • Restaurants at 50% capacity
  • Salons/spas/tattoo parlors by appointment only and only for services where a face covering can be worn
  • Retail at 50% capacity and only for services where a face covering can be worn
  • Gyms at 5 patrons per 1,000 square feet, only when staffed, patrons must stay 6′ apart, and patrons must be wearing masks at all times
  • Theaters, museums, etc., at 50% capacity
  • Childcare facilities
  • Schools
  • Parks, trails, dog parks, but not their playgrounds
  • Zoo but not classes or the petting zoo
  • Golf courses
  • Skate parks
  • Buses
  • Airplanes
  • Taxies and rideshare
  • Religious “core services” at 50% capacity. (All of page 24 addresses religious institutions. It references WHO guidance, which your author has previously read and believes is quite insightful)

What’s Closed

  • Concerts
  • Sports
  • Summer Camps
  • Pools, splashpads, beaches
  • Playgrounds
  • Libraries
  • Community centers, except as needed to provide social service support to individuals (for example, food distribution)
  • Senior Centers
  • Religious related gatherings except for “core services”
  • Trade shows, conferences, workshops and retreats
  • Festivals, carnivals, conventions
  • Rallies, parade, speeches
  • Potlucks, youth group, etc.

Other

  • Gatherings such as birthday parties: no more than 10 people
  • Higher ed: follow state and federal guidance
  • Residence halls and other overnight programs: follow state and federal guidance

High Risk Individuals

…individuals must consider their personal risk and determine whether to increase their interactions in the community as phases progress… In Phase One and Phase Two, [the guidance is] to stay at home as much as possible. In Phase Three, this means resuming public interactions with physical distancing…

A Community Strategy for Phased Reopening, Knox County & City of Knoxville

Higher-risk individuals include those over the age of 65, and those with serious underlying health conditions, such as high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and those whose immune system is compromised.

A Community Strategy for Phased Reopening, Knox County & City of Knoxville

One editorial note here: mortality risk starts increasing closer to 50 years old [1] rather than 65. We assume that case complications (i.e., negative outcomes that aren’t death) also increase with age.

New York City COVID-19 Deaths by Age, April 26th, 2020
Source: New York City Health Department

Phases Two & Three

Further guidance will be released; today, the plan is pretty scarce here. Phase two allows gatherings up to 50 people, and phase three up to 100. Other than that, phases two and three say to keep doing all of the other things (cleaning, physical distancing, hand washing, etc.)

The following [indstury specific guidance for phases two and three] will be added by amendment following a collaborative community process. This process will allow our community to address emerging challenges and … allow our community to incorporate new state and federal guidance. The COVID-19 coordinator email listserv will be the main way employers and others can contribute ideas for the development of Phase Two and Phase Three…

A Community Strategy for Phased Reopening, Knox County & City of Knoxville

Our Take

This is an incredibly balanced approach and is we’d expect to have seen from the state or federal level: it’s much better than what else is out there. Cities and counties across the state or the nation can and should model their own plans in a similar fashion. The benchmarks do a good job balancing our capacity to handle COVID-19 with the spread and burden of COVID-19.

Our Guide

You can download a copy of our own internal operations guide on this page.

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.

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 JHU, NYT, COVID Tracking Project, IMHE and the TN Department of Health. Most sets are updated daily.

[1] This is even more clear in other datasets, such as this.

It is the eve of Tennessee opening up, kind of, and the beginning of the US opening up, kind of.

As we head into we are seeing both cases and testing go, but positivity rates decline. We’ll break some of that down. After that

Numbers

Both the US as a whole and Tennessee are seeing new cases per day rise. The positivity rate (positive cases/number of tests) in the US has ticked down in recent days, now close to 12%. We’ll note that we use a rolling 7-day average for positivity rate, other outlets use total numbers, which will yield very different results. A rolling average only measures the last week and is biased towards how testing is going now, a cumulative approach will bias the rate towards when their were the most positive cases and least testing, which would be around late March.

We’re biased towards the average approach because we believe it does a better job of explaining where things stand today, but, remember we’re IT guys and not epidemiologists.

Also, to put this in context, Dr. Fauci stated over the weekend that he’d like to see a 10% positivity rate to think that we’re doing enough testing, he thought that our national testing would need to about be doubled.

Click on any image to see it larger.

US New Cases by Day

Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

US COVID-19 Positivity Rate by Day

US COVID-19 Positivity Rate, April 26th, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions`
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

Tennesse spikes in cases for a fourth day. The first two of these were, “expected,” according to Dr. Piercey last week. We don’t know what is driving the weekend numbers: test results take at least 2-3 days to get back to patients and sometimes longer to get back to the state, so it is not this weekend’s testing drive pushing cases up.

Balancing out the spike in cases is a flat-ish positivity rate. At 5% positivity rate (7% cumulative) Tennessee: we make up 2.72% of all US tests and 1% of all US COVID-19 cases.

TN New Cases

Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

TN Positivity Rate (about 5%)

TN COVID-19 Positivity Rate, April 26th, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions`
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

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, Sevier has more than Knox Saturday.

Knox County total cases by day

Source: Knox County Health Department

Nine county area cases by day.

April 26th, 2020 COVID-19 cases for Anderson County, Blount County, Grainger County, Jefferson County, Knox County, Loudon County, Roane County, Scott County, Sevier County and Union County
Source: Data from the New York Times; Chart by JM Addington

A Look at the Week Ahead

The US will hit one million total cases this week, probably Tuesday or Wednesday. Keep in mind that this number can’t go down. New cases are a useful metric, total cases less so.

New PPP starts tomorrow, Monday, April 27th. Expect this round of funding to go fast.

Get your paperwork in order today and be working with a bank that wants to help you.

In Tennesee, counties that are overseen by the state health department open restaurants tomorrow and retail Wednesday. Knox County and Knoxville will hold a press conference tomorrow to discuss their plan, which is expected to be close to the state’s plan.

There is a rhythm to the COVID-19 news cycles. In the middle of March things changed so quickly that, as a business, information that was accurate at 10:00 AM could completely different by noon — no exaggeration. By early April pretty much everything was shut down and there was a lull in the actual news being reported.

As things open up, expect change to come rapidly and for news to be contradictory.

Also, keep in mind that we won’t be able to judge how opening up affects cases for a couple of weeks. The median time from exposure to symptoms is four to five days (NIH), test results take anywhere from two to five days to turn around. (4 to 5) + (2 to 7) = 6 to 12 days before early results come in.

“The lockdowns cannot go on forever. They buy us time… in themselves they are not an exit strategy.”

Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust (UK)

“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

We have one overriding thought as we enter a busy and possibly contentious week, here it is:

There isn’t Team Open and Team Stay Home.

This isn’t Red vs Blue.

This is us against the virus.

This is COVID-19 vs humanity.

Even when we’re under lockdown we have to go out and even as we venture out we’ll have to stay home from many things.

As you head into Monday and May 1st remember what side you’re on: our side, humanity’s side. Think about what you can do to stay safe and protect others — a one-size-fits-all answer is probably the wrong one.

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.

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 JHU, NYT, COVID Tracking Project, IMHE and the TN Department of Health. Most sets are updated daily.

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.

Register here.

If you’re reading our updates we literally can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to hear from these guys.

Numbers

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 Cases and 7 Day Rolling Average, April 23rd, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

US COVID-19 Positivity Rate by Day

US COVID-19 7-Day Average Positivity Rate, April 23rd, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

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 COVID-19 Cases and 7 Day Rolling Average, April 23rd, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

TN Positivity Rate (about 7%)

TN COVID-19 Positivity Rate, April 21st, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions`
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

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

Source: Knox County Department of Health

Nine county are cases by day.

April 23rd, 2020 COVID-19 cases for Anderson County, Blount County, Grainger County, Jefferson County, Knox County, Loudon County, Roane County, Scott County, Sevier County and Union County
Source: Data from the New York Times; Chart by JM Addington

National/International News

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 Inc

Bloomberg

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.

Two of the top ten pork slaughterhouses are in NC.

NC New COVID-19 Cases by Day

NC COVID-19 Cases and 7 Day Rolling Average, April 23rd, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

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.

Osterholm Update: COVID-19 is available on Apple PodcastsSpotify and Google Play.

“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

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.

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 JHU, NYT, COVID Tracking Project, IMHE and the TN Department of Health. Most sets are updated daily.

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.

Numbers

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.

US COVID-19 Cases and 7 Day Rolling Average, April 22nd, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington
US COVID-19 7-Day Average Positivity Rate, April 22nd, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

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.

US 7-Day Averages of New COVID-19 Deaths and Cases by Day
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington
US 7-Day Averages of New COVID-19 Deaths and Cases by Day without NY & NJ
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

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 COVID-19 Cases and 7 Day Rolling Average, April 22nd, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

TN Positivity Rate (about 7%)

TN COVID-19 Positivity Rate, April 21st, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

Deaths by State

April 22nd, Total US Daeths of COVID-19 by State; Chart by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

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 COVID-19 Cases and 7 Day Rolling Average, April 22nd, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

GA Positivity Rate (almost 20%)

GA COVID-19 7-Day Average Positivity Rate, April 22nd, 2020 by JM Addington Technology Solutions
Source: Data from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart by JM Addington

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.

April 22nd, 2020 COVID-19 cases for Anderson County, Blount County, Grainger County, Jefferson County, Knox County, Loudon County, Roane County, Scott County, Sevier County and Union County
Source: Data from the New York Times; Chart by JM Addington

National/International News

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
Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs speaks at press conference on regionally opening-up

“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.

Here is our live post on the briefing if you want more details, or watch it on YouTube here.

“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.

It’s a long post, sharing some of my story. This may be difficult for some to read, so please hide this post if it’s too…

Posted by Lexie Goertzen on Tuesday, April 21, 2020

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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.

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