COVID-19: 7/2/2020 Update

Worldwide Daily Cases 7.2.2020 (Source: Worldometers.com)

The announcement that masks are now required inside buildings in Knox County has certainly dominated today’s local news. Predictably, it has drawn diametrically opposed reactions ranging from relief at an overdue simple action, to outrage at the infringement on our constitutional rights. With the rate of infection we are seeing, the Board of Health felt compelled to act. The County Mayor and the Law Director vehemently oppose the action. This won’t likely be the end of local conflict on the topic and your heroes and villains likely depend on what you believed before any of this happened.

International News:

There were more new COVID-19 cases confirmed in the world yesterday than any other day since the pandemic began.

The 196,963 cases for the day bring the total to 10,847,016. It surpasses the previous record which was set last Friday. There were 4,847 deaths worldwide, bringing that total to 519,963. Both new cases and deaths continue recent trends, with new cases trending upward sharply and deaths leveled off and perhaps dropping slightly in the last week. The current average new daily cases is just over 179,000 cases per day and deaths are averaging just under 4,500.

Worldwide Daily Deaths 7.2.2020 (Source: Worldometers.com)

Regarding worldwide trends, they remain the same, only more so, if that make sense. Three countries continue to dominate in new cases and represent well over half the new cases yesterday: The United States (51,097), Brazil (44,884) and India (19,428). While these three counties contributed almost 60% of the new cases for the day, 22 countries added at least 1,000 cases.

The concentrations around the world continue to be the same, with some of the highest rates of increase being seen in South Africa, Colombia, Argentina and Iraq. Brazil, the U.S. and Mexico led the world in deaths yesterday, in that order. Colombia has a small number of deaths, but their rate of increase is among the highest in the world.

U.S. Daily Cases 7.2.2020 (Source: Worldometers.com)

National News:

There were more new COVID-19 cases confirmed in the United States yesterday than any other day since the pandemic began.

The United States added 51,097 new cases yesterday to bring the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 2,779,953. This is about 2,700 more cases than the previous record, which was set last Friday. It brings the total active cases to just under 1.5 million. The infections continue to be disproportionately represented by young people, which may explain the continued drop in mortality.

There were 676 deaths reported from COVID-19 in the U.S. yesterday, bringing the total number of Americans who have died from the illness to 130,798. If there has been good news in recent weeks, it has been the continuing decline in deaths. The current daily average is 560 deaths, whereas it peaked at 2,255 in late April. Preventing transmission from the newly infected young people to their parents, grandparents and old co-workers is the next challenge in the battle to keep death rates low.

U.S. Daily Deaths 7.2.2020 (Source: Worldometers.com)

There were nine states that reported over 1,000 new cases yesterday, and some of them were far over that number. The three states at the top continue to surge past each other on a daily basis: Texas (8,240), Florida (6,563), California (6,497), Arizona (4,877), Georgia (2,946), Louisiana (2,041), Tennessee (1,806), South Carolina (1,520) and North Carolina (1,256). Other southern states in the top twenty states with the most new cases for the day include Alabama (#10) and Mississippi (#15).

Additional economic stimulus is back in the news with President Trump saying he favors bigger payments than those in the Democratic plan. He’s also touting the economic growth over the last month as the news is reported this morning that the unemployment rate has dropped to 11.1% for the month of June. Of the virus, he told Fox News yesterday, “at some point, that’s going to sort of just disappear, I hope.”

Tennessee Daily Cases 7.2.2020 (Source: TN.gov)

State and Local News:

There were more new COVID-19 cases confirmed in the state of Tennessee yesterday than any other day since the pandemic began.

There were 1,806 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the State of Tennessee yesterday. While one bar on the above graph is taller, that was a two day total. It brings the total cases in Tennessee since the beginning of the pandemic to 45,315. 684 recoveries were reported yesterday, as well as five deaths. The active case total grew for the day by 1,117 to bring the total number of active cases to 16,423. The total deaths in Tennessee is now 609.

Tennessee Daily Testing and Positive Test Result Rate 7.2.2020 (Source: Johns Hopkins University)

Fifty additional people were hospitalized across the state yesterday and the state reports administering almost 25,000 tests to bring that total to almost 818,000. The number of tests being performed across the state has risen significantly this week, and reports are increasing of more people wanting to be tested, but finding delays in testing and result reporting. As would be expected with a dramatic increase in testing, the positive rate has dropped slightly, but at 8.1% is still far above the desired level.

There were more new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Knox County today than any other day since the pandemic began.

The Knox County Health Department is reporting 70 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 today. This is a 40% jump from yesterday’s number and yesterday’s number was the second highest reported for any day at that time. The top three worst days for Knox County cases all occured this week. More new cases have been added in the first five days of this week than in any other week since the beginning of the pandemic.

Knox County Daily Cases 7.2.2020 (Source: Knox County Health Department)

Knox County now has reported a total of 1,047 cases of COVID-19. Over half of these have come in the last three weeks. There are now 323 active cases in the county; a new record. 18 people are currently hospitalized and the Health Department reported one additional death overnight to bring that total to six. There are 28 probable cases.

The major shift since yesterday, in addition to the large increases in cases, is that everyone in the county is now required to wear a mask when going inside a building other than their homes, a school or a place of worship. The City of Knoxville had previously announced masks are required when indoors on city property.

Knox County Mayor Jacobs is opposed to the new rule and the Knox County Sheriff’s department, like a number across the country, has said he will not enforce the new requirement.

Comments

  1. George Scott says

    Arrrgh!

  2. Sandy Snyder says

    I find it amazing that the sheriff believes that he (?) has the autonomy to decide whether he want to enforce the requirement. I am making the assumption that he works for the County mayor and that the mayor will comply with the Board of Health’s decision. If not, I hope no one in the Knox County government ever complains about anarchists in my hearing.

    • Chris Eaker says

      The Sheriff is an elected position.

      • Agreed, but my question was a real one. The County mayor is the executive, equivalent to the president at a higher level. Is that not correct? The County Commission is the “legislature” and the Board of Health might hold the role of a cabinet position. The mayor voted against the decision of the Board of Health, but would not defy the results of the vote — I hope! So does the Sheriff not also have the obligation to comply with the decisions of the County government? Is he head of an autonomous organization, detached from the rest of the County’s government? If I’m wrong here, please educate me — really.

        • Bob Fischer says

          In a nutshell, yes you are correct. That doesn’t mean the sheriff will do what the law prescribes though.

    • So, if the local government passed an ordinance stating that you couldn’t complain online (like now), and the sheriff said they would not enforce because it is likely unconstitutional (as advised by council), you’d be upset about that too?

      • Counsel*

      • I believe the appropriate process would be for the courts to determine its constitutionality. I could be wrong, but it seems like a lot of authority to bestow upon an individual elected to enforce the law.

        • The law director has opined that it is not constitutional and is responsible for advising the sheriff’s department. The Health Department passed despite counsel stating it was unconstitutional in the form presented to him. Counsel advises on practices.

    • Mal Alder says

      I wouldn’t put too much faith in Glen Jacobs enforcing anything other than business as usual. He, The county mayor, was the only member of the health board to vote against the mask mandate.

  3. Pamela Schoenewaldt says

    The county mayor would prefer that we wear ventilators? Many actions are required for public safety: seat belts, not driving drunk, not driving on the wrong side, safe food handling, stopping at red lights. If the mayor would like to live on an island, he can do as he likes. In a civil and safe society, we have to modify our behavior.

  4. Thanks as always for tve thoughtful summary. Do you know why the number of deaths is always higher on Tuesdays? That’s been the case for many weeks, no matter which state is dominating the numbers.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      It has to be a reporting cycle of some sort, though I would think deaths simply happen when they do.

  5. Stephanie Quist says

    Alan,
    Thank you for your reporting and common sense. Your attention to detail is incredibly helpful and your articles contain what I consider to be the most reliable information out there. I am grateful for the care and concern you reliably show to our community!

  6. Jo Lynn Cunningham says

    I am not an attorney so I just reread The Biil of Rights to try to find what constitutional right would be violated by wearing a mask. I did not find anything. Even some of the specified rights have been found to have limits; The classic example, of course, is that freedom of speech does not protect the right To yell “fire” in a crowded theater if there is no fire. And in the Declaration of Independence, three inalienable rights are Identified: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Failure of people to wear masks can infringe on all three of those rights for me. So what is the constitutional right—or other legal guarantee—that opponents of public health and safety think is being violated by wearing masks designed to help protect all of us?

    • The bill of rights are not the only constitutional rights found in the constitution. Those are literally just the first 10 amendments.

    • Bill Hearn says

      They are doing this under state laws for public health. I can’t find the specific section of the TCA but it will included in the actual order that the health department website says is coming soon.

    • Bill Hearn says

      State Public Health laws allow it:

      68-1-201. Power to quarantine.
      (a) The commissioner has the power to:
      (1) Declare quarantine whenever, in the commissioner’s judgment, the welfare of the public requires it; and
      (2) Prescribe such rules and regulations as may be deemed proper for the prevention of the introduction of yellow fever, cholera and other epidemic diseases into the state.

  7. Bob Fischer says

    I suppose, technically, under the second amendment, a local militia would be authorized to seize power from the Sheriff to enforce this, but that seems a bit much for a class c misdemeanor. I like the idea of handing out face masks and a verbal warning. I think this saves our officers from long dose exposure to the virus, and ultimately will save the county a boatload of sick pay and reduction in force on the sheriff’s department. For the life of me, I do not understand the Sheriff’s decision to expose the deputies to the ravages of what would amount to biological warfare, rather than allow them a cheap, peaceful, effective means to deal with the problem.

    • That doesn’t mean that in any way. The Second Amendment would not permit one to take part in an armed insurrection. See: Civil War.

      • Bob Fischer says

        The Sheriff is defying a lawful order. He, not the militia, is in a state of insurrection and is subject to removal. The militia’s role in his removal would be lawful under the Second Amendment. As I said, it seems a bit much over a class c misdemeanor.

  8. K Bateman says

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/02/us/california-thomas-macias-coronavirus/index.html
    How do you think the people at this gathering feel. You think they would like a do-over with masks being worn. What about the family gathering in NJ that lost 5 family members, bet they would be happy to wear masks. You can’t go back and undo. Did no one ever tell you “better safe than sorry”. There have been many more cases like these.
    How many would give anything to go back and wear a mask? I’d say it’s 100%
    It all starts with someone who doesn’t feel sick……….yet!

  9. Scott Ballard says

    Interesting that I am now getting emails on where I can buy masks in Knoxville. Seems to me that if the Government is making me wear a mask, they should provide each and every resident with a free mask to wear. Oh wait. The Government will turn around and raise taxes to pay for the masks. An informed public, personal responsibility, and freedom works much better.

    • The state provides free masks that are distributed by the Knox County Health Department. We got five for the family on one visit. Go get yours!

      • Heather Booth says

        If they’re still distributing the masks made by the sock manufacturer, they are of questionable efficacy since they appear to be knitted and have holes that are bigger than the fabric recommended for homemade masks (very tightly woven cotton). They also have an antibacterial compound which was called into question. Many women in Knox County are making masks and giving them away for free, especially to doctor’s offices or other groups. You can find them at Knox Makes Masks. You can buy masks many places, including on Etsy, or you can use a bandana or a scarf. There are many videos on Youtube about clever ways to make masks without sewing.

  10. I’m glad we are requiring masks now, and that it’s indoors only due to the overwhelming evidence of how much more dangerous the virus is in enclosed spaces than fresh air.

    We should have done this earlier, rather than shutting down the whole economy, but I’m expecting a large drop in cases over the next couple weeks. Here is hoping.

  11. Frank Neises says

    Forget Constitutional Rights how about Common Sense and some Humanity for the Elderly among us, this Country has lost all Human Compassion.

  12. Yaaaaaay, Knox County! (not really)

  13. Melita Duffy says

    Alan: Ever since your article regarding the description and composition of the Board of Health, (particularly the lack of members with medical and school administration backgrounds, if I remember that correctly) I was skeptical about their ability to make good decisions for the community. This was reinforced by their decision to follow the ‘Tennessee Plan,’ and the health department’s many referrals that this and so was to be determined by the Board of Health. So I was very happy, surprised and encouraged when I heard about the mask requirement.
    Kudos to the BOH. Hopefully negative reactions in our county won’t compromise that decision.

  14. What I wonder is, how can mask wearing ever possibly be enforced? Would business owners be required to turn away non-mask customers? I wonder if they would be that willing as starved as small business is to survive. Would their mask-wearing customers call the police on the business if a customer comes in without a mask? The snitch thing is particularly egregious to me. Someone on here said it would be a class c misdemeanor, and California I hear is considering a $300 fine. So an officer would issue a citation to a LAW ABIDING citizen, while for weeks now rioters, protestors, looters, assaulters, vandalizers, and in some cases murderers all go free? Allowed to run amok without anyone stopping them? And you would issue a fine to someone not wearing a mask? Where is the justice in that? How far would you be willing to go on aggressive enforcement? Wearing a mask is not a legislative law, and yet they attempt to mandate a rule they cannot ever possibly enforce, even if the police were willing. At the end of the day, each of us is responsible for our own safety. You’re not responsible for me, I’m responsible for me. If you evaluate the risk of going to a store, restaurant, or business and find the risk is too great, just do not go. Local, state, and federal governments should spend the covid money protecting those high-risk people, instead of the healthy people. Trying to change the behavior of other people in a situation like this, is like pushing a wet noodle. The only behavior you can control is how you protect yourself. And protecting yourself doesn’t require any empty unenforceable mandates.

    • Rickey H says

      Sherry, I hope you’re open to some constructive feedback on your post. Here we go:

      1) “What I wonder is, how can mask wearing ever possibly be enforced?” First, many people follow a law once it is passed. Secondly, business owners are now encouraged to refuse admittance to people not wearing masks. Being able to tell a customer, “This is County law” is compelling. And yes, citations may be given as well. This is a public health emergency, and it is legal to do so.

      2) “So an officer would issue a citation to a LAW ABIDING citizen, while for weeks now rioters, protestors, looters, assaulters, vandalizers, and in some cases murderers all go free?” There’s a lot to unpack here. Firsst, as the above article makes clear, they are not actually law-abiding if they’re not wearing a mask. They would be committing a misdemeanor. Secondly, you draw a comparison with not wearing a mask and being cited to “rioters, protestors, looters, assaulters,…. vandalizers [sic]… murderers” being allowed to “go free.” So, to start, there is no logical relationship between the acts you’re discussing and the wearing of masks. Second, even though it relates not-at-all to mask-wearing, it is a fact that police departments across the country are actually actively working to arrest and prosecute crimes against people that did crimes like you discuss over the past few weeks. Third, again even though it relates not at all to mask-wearing, This blog — and the laws in question — are about Knoxville and in THIS city aside from one night with a few trash cans thrown around and some graffiti, there was little of what you’re describing. So equating, say, the Health Depatment’s passing of this ordinance to anarchy in our city that never transpired just doesn’t make any sense. And finally it should be pointed out that protest is in fact legal. You lumped protest in with rioting, assault, looting, arson, murder, as if it is part of lawlessness. It is not. There have been several lawful, peaceful protests here in Knoxville, and we should be proud of that.

      3) “At the end of the day, each of us is responsible for our own safety. You’re not responsible for me, I’m responsible for me.” The way epidemiology works, you’re actually responsible for more than just you. As am I. Here’s why: This virus is can be transmitted by asymptomatic carriers. If you only care about your own safety, you unknowingly or even knowingly have the virus and go about your daily business. Hey you feel good, so why should you have to wear a mask, right? Well, you could be giving it to lots of people — some of whom will catch it. Some could be very hard hit or even die because of it. This is the actual reality. One can make compelling arguments for libertarian “I look out for me, you look out for you” ethics in various realms. Epidemiology is not one of them. We are all in this together. The sooner you and others understand this, the sooner we will beat this virus and be able to return to normal.

      I hope that makes sense.

      • Bob Fischer says

        Can I be your facebook friend? That explanation’s simplicity and beauty made it a joy to read. There is hope.

      • (what about) “rioters, protestors, looters, assaulters, vandalizers, and in some cases murderers all go free?” – they’re outdoors so the mask mandate does not apply. Nice try at whataboutism, though.

      • Jo Lynn Cunningham says

        Very well put. Maybe you should send this to some of our “leaders” (local, state, and national).

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