COVID-19: Updates for 3/24/2020

Images from a downtown Knoxville walk during a COVID-19 Pandemic, March 2020

As of roughly noon Knoxville time, here is the current situation with acknowledged cases and deaths:

  • World: 400,412 cases, 17,451 deaths
  • U. S.: 49,594 cases (5,860 added since about 10 p.m. last night), 588 deaths (35 added since last night)
  • Tennessee: 615 cases ( as of 3:00 p.m. yesterday, only updated once a day), deaths 2 (unchanged from yesterday)
  • Knox County: 12 (this from the state site, Dr. Buchanan says, 13)

We continue under a “Safer at Home” order, which is slightly less restrictive than “Shelter at Home.” Non-essential businesses were ordered closed in Knox County. City Council will meet tonight, but they will do so electronically and no one will gather at the large assembly room as usual. You can watch that meeting on your local public access channel or stream it live.

To stream the meeting, go to

Xfinity (Comcast) – Channel 12
Charter (Spectrum) – Channel 193
WOW! (Knology) – Channel 6
AT&T U-verse – Channel 99

In today’s mid-day news conference, Dr. Buchanan expressed appreciation for the cooperation from businesses. She also noted that resources are becoming available from the state for small businesses. She encouraged businesses to read the FAQ on the website to get information regarding essential versus non-essential businesses as covered by the local order.

She said testing is being expanded as a top priority. Two new labs just came on line and they are now reporting to the Health Department. Knox County providers have gotten no additional supplies from any agencies, federal or state. Individuals who may have symptoms are encouraged to call first and then come in for an arranged screening.

Dr. Buchanan said that as of this morning, there are thirteen cases in Knox County. This information will now be available on the Knox County Health Department website and will be updated each day. Some are in hospitals and some have recovered. This number is updated more frequently than the state website. She said medical facilities are not overrun at this time.

Asked if there is a way to report a business for not closing, she said they are relying on the businesses, with the exception of the ones they routinely regulate. She said they will try to follow up on others as possible. Asked what would be the trigger that would require us to go to more stringent orders, such as shelter in place, she says she hopes there will be enough cooperation that we won’t have to take the next step.

Questioned about the exception for child care facilities, Dr. Buchanan said they are considered essential in terms of allowing critical workers to work and also for those who can work if they have child care. She noted that their salaries also help the restaurants and others who have been hit so hard. They have asked that children remain in one group all day and not be blended through the course of the day (at lunch, for example). The facilities are required to increase cleaning and other steps.

Noting that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is largely closed, she said that Knox County hopes to keep greenways and parks open as long as possible but she stressed keeping social distancing even in those settings.

Finally this afternoon, I want to encourage all of us to be patient with each other as we work through this difficult period. We’ve all seen the social media conversations that devolve into name calling and disparaging attacks. We all want the same thing. We want to be safe. We want our family and friends to be safe. We don’t want to be irreversibly damaged economically. The tension between those impulses is difficult to navigate internally, let alone to discuss in a civil manner with those who might disagree.

I’ve always tried to maintain a civil discourse on the comment section of this blog. It’s a place where, whatever the topic, we have a wide range of expertise represented among the readers and those who choose to comment. I welcome disagreement. If you have expertise in a matter, say what that is. The rest of us would do well to listen to people who are trained on particular topics.

If you disagree with another person, whether me or others, feel free to says so in an appropriate manner. Better than simply stating that you disagree, explain why. This is potentially helpful. Calling someone stupid isn’t helpful. Patiently explain your perspective and maybe you’ll bring that person to your point of view. Saying the president or the mayor or anyone in between is ignorant isn’t ok. Saying you disagree with what they are doing is fine.

“Typical liberal,” “Stupid Trumper,” “Self-centered millenial,” “Clueless Boomer,” are all examples of the intolerant and hateful rhetoric that generalizes and stereotypes entire groups of people. They are not helpful. State your opinion and let others state theirs. If you call names or cast aspersions or denigrate entire groups of people, I will either delete your comment or I will edit it to remove the offending portion. I will never censor opinions, but I will enforce a level of civility.


  1. George Scott says

    Thanks for this regular update, Alan. Now that Metro Pulse and Mercury are gone, your site keeps us in community.
    -George Scott

  2. Susan Ballard says

    Alan- thank you for your hard work to keep us updated on this situation. We must remember that when this is over, we all still live in a GREAT community that we love and cherish. Take care of yourself and be kind to others.

  3. Kathy Holt says

    Thank you, KUG! I appreciate your posts! Stay well:)

  4. Do we have current CDC numbers for this year’s infection and .mortality rates for 2019/2020 in the USA?

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      I doubt it’s available for that recent a period, but I could be wrong. If you want to find it and share, feel free to do so.

    • Susan Pitcher says

      Mortality rates are only available for 2018. Provisional estimates are available through 2nd quarter 2019.

      If you click through to the dashboard and change the default selections, you can see that the annual, age-adjusted death rate ending in that quarter for influenza and pneumonia was 12.3 per 100,000.

    • Steve Skinner says

      As of 10:48 am this morning, NPR reports 46,387 confirmed cases in the US, with 590 deaths. That’s a current mortality rate in the U.S. of about 1.27%. That mortality rate may decrease as we better understand how to treat COVID-19, but I am not optimistic.

      • We are told that this is a very infectious disease that most people don’t even know they have it… so the number of actual infected is likely 5-10x or more what we have confirmed positive via testing.

        Germany is not special: there its 3/1,000 mortality; mainly because they’ve done a lot of testing. New York is finding thousands of cases a day, and currently is 8/1000.

        I suspect that covid 19 will be less than 1/1,000 mortality rate in the states when the data comes in.

  5. Oslo Cole says

    Thank you for your reminder about civility. I think with everyone on edge, it’s easy to forget that we’re all human beings, not just digital avatars. We have to remember that despite all of the social distancing, we can’t lose our humanity. We’ll need that when we’re finally able to re-emerge from this crisis and re-integrate into the real world.

  6. Can you post each day, the toy all number of people who have recovered from the virus.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      I can include that if you think it would be helpful. Worldwide 409K+ have gotten it and 107K+ have recovered. In the U.S. about 50k have gotten it and 361 have recovered. It shows how early into our curve that we are, right now. About 284K in the world still have it. This all available here and is updated continually.

  7. Ken Sparks says

    Thanks for stats update and reminders of what we should be to others.

  8. I have found the few times out, that though folks are all nervous and edgy we seem to all be maintaining a central core of kindness towards one another and it’s very helpful. Trying times indeed, thank you Alan for keeping things civil and decent.

  9. Six feet apart includes children. And mitigating for profit has its own math. This will all be added up by the conclusion of this situation and that is still unknown.

  10. Thank you for writing out what was said in the news conferences. I appreciate reading the details.

  11. I disagree on one point. It is not only ok to point out that the President is ignorant, it’s our duty, especially since there is an election coming up.
    He has worked hard to remain ignorant, relying on Fox News for most of his information, and ignoring advice from doctors and scientists.
    He is now trying to gaslight us, hoping that we are ignorant, too. We all need to underline his ignorance until he begins acting like the President we all need. Or November.
    It’s your blog, do what you want

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      I think it is fine to confront misbehavior on the part of any of our leaders. It is one thing to call out behavior and another to simply call names.

  12. Susan Napier-Sewell says

    Thank you so much for keeping us informed—information now more precious than ever, since we are living the requisite isolated existence. This is an incredibly important service and you certainly cannot be commended enough for all you do.

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