COVID-19: 7/21/2020 Update

Worldwide Daily Cases 7.21.2020 (Source:

Good Tuesday. Hopefully, you made it out of Monday without too many scars. Maybe today will bring you a little hope or uplift. Maybe you could be that little bit of hope or uplift for someone else. I think there may be a few hopeful signs scattered about in the numbers. Maybe small, maybe illusory, but it’s something to get us through a Tuesday. Let’s take a look.

International News:

To date, 14,882,601 people worldwide have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 614,001 people have died. About 8.9 million people have recovered and just over 5.3 million cases remain active. Yesterday, 205,523 new cases were reported and 4,049 people died. The seven-day moving average for new cases is 228,807. While this marks a new high in daily transmissions, the rate of increase yesterday over the day before is slightly smaller than the day before.

The number of daily deaths continues to increase, but at a very slow rate, and currently sits at an average of 5,175 per day. The countries with the worst outbreaks of recent cases, logically, are also the countries with the highest numbers of deaths. From yesterday: Brazil (718), India (596), the U.S. (545) and Mexico (296).

An encouraging note is that Europe, which saw some of the worst numbers of deaths just short time ago, now has very few deaths each day. Italy ranked the highest (#23) of the European countries for deaths in yesterday’s numbers with 13 deaths, or about what the state of Tennessee is averaging each day. Clearly, there is a way to get this disease under control.

Worldwide Daily Deaths 7.21.2020 (Source

In terms of new cases, previous patterns held, as the U.S. continues to dominate in raw numbers, while a small cluster of countries provides the majority of new cases in the world. New cases from yesterday: the U.S. (62,879), India (36,810) and Brazil (21,749). The three constitute about 60% of the new cases reported yesterday. Twenty-four countries around the world reported at least 1,000 new cases, with nine of those countries in South and Central America.

The U.N. is warning that one of the results of the pandemic and its aftermath could be famine across parts of the world. The EU has agreed to a €750 billion stimulus and relief package for member nations. Brazil will test the new Chinese vaccine. A new study shows that about 1 in 4 residents of New Delhi has had COVID-19.

U.S. Daily Cases 7.21.2020 (Source:

National News:

Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, 3,964,361 Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 143,919 have died of the illness. Yesterday, 62,879 new cases were reported and an additional 546 people died of the illness. Recoveries are approaching 1.9 million and roughly 2 million cases remain active.

In a glimmer of good news, yesterday’s total is about 3,000 lower than one week earlier, which is the appropriate comparison, given the weekly cycles of reporting. As a result, the seven-day average of daily cases fell about 400 to 68,263. It’s a small drop, it may mean nothing in the bigger picture, but it marks the first drop in the seven-day average since June 10, so we can hope it is the beginning of our second peak.

The 546 total deaths yesterday is about 80 more than the same day the previous week. As a result, the average number of daily deaths continues to edge upward and has now risen to 802. The last time the average was over 800 was June 11. Given that deaths will lag new cases, we can hope new cases have peaked, meaning deaths would begin diminishing in two to four weeks.

U.S. Daily Deaths 7.21.2020 (Source:

A full 16 states reported new cases of 1,000 or more, yesterday. In addition to some of the states we’ve repeatedly mentioned, new states including Washington, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio each saw over 1,000 cases, yesterday, and are seeing increasing rates of infections.  The states reporting multiple thousands yesterday were Florida (10,347), California (8,814), Texas (7,925), Louisiana (3,186), and Georgia (2,452). In addition to the four southeastern states in the top five, other southeastern states ranking highly include Alabama (#6), Tennessee (#7), North Carolina (#9), South Carolina (#10), Mississippi (#11) and Virginia (#18).

In the largest anti-body test to date, the CDC is reporting that the virus has infected far more people than have been diagnosed. In some cases (like Missouri), maybe ten times as many. The good news is that about 40% of people never developed symptoms or sought out testing or medical care. The concern is that these people are believed to be a primary driver in spread, as they have no obvious symptoms, but remain contagious. The CDC made clear that no place in the U.S., including hard-hit NYC has approached herd immunity levels.

With the Senate Republicans crafting the next stimulus package, it would seem intuitive that they are on the same page with the president, but apparently that is not the case, with the president opposing inclusion of $25 billion that would go toward testing and contact tracing. The White House is also opposing additional funding directed to the CDC and Defense and State departments for addressing the outbreak around the world. After that raft of reports, Kayleigh Mcenany said his position had been mis-characterized.

The FDA has approved pooled testing, which is designed to help speed up test results. The recent report from the CDC after their visit to Knoxville recommended that we use pooled testing. Don’t know what that is? Here’s a good description. President Trump is now wearing a mask (at least at times) and encouraging their use, tweeting that wearing a mask is “patriotic.”

Tennessee Daily Cases 7.21.2020 (Source:

State and Local News:

Yesterday afternoon, the state of Tennessee reported 1,639 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the pandemic total to 79,754 in the state. 1,655 were reported to have recovered and 4 additional Tennesseeans died of the illness. It was a rare recent day when the number of active cases dropped, falling by 20 cases to 32,933. The seven-day average of deaths remains in the low teens.

31 additional people were hospitalized across the state, bringing that current total to 1,038 confirmed and 423 pending hospitalized patients. Availability levels for medical resources: Beds (20%), ICU Beds (19%) and Ventilators (67%). The numbers are roughly the same as yesterday.

Tennessee Daily Testing and Positive Test Result Rate 7.21.2020 (Source: Johns Hopkins University)

Nearly 18,000 tests were given in the state, yesterday, bringing the pandemic testing total to just over 1.2 million. The positive test rate – which has a generally accepted goal of 5% or under, is now 9.0%, which is slightly better than the 9.2% it was running recently.

Knox County Daily Cases 7.21.2020 (Source: Knox County Health Department)

Today, the Knox County Health Department reported an additional 78 cases to bring our pandemic total to 2392. 54 people were moved to the recovered category and an additional person died, shifting the number of active cases upward by 23 to 1,334. 45 Knox County residents are currently hospitalized with the illness. There are an additional 115 probable cases.

The person who died falls within the 45 to 64 age group. So far deaths in the county have included two people from 18 – 44, 7 people from 45 – 64 and 11 people over the age of 75.


As a result of comments on this blog, I asked the following questions and got the noted responses  from the Knox County Health Department:

  • Have there been any deaths among the homeless population? We have not seen any deaths in the Knox County homeless population due to COVID-19.
  • Have infections been traced to proms, graduations or graduation parties? We have had cases mention proms, graduation and graduation parties, but that does not necessarily mean that was the source of infection. We have not identified any clusters related to graduation, graduation parties or proms.
  • Are there any specific public events to which cases have been traced? We have traced cases back to churches, but we are not aware of any cases traced back to other public events, such as concerts.



  1. 40 less cases reported in Knox county versus a week ago. Seems that the lag in positive cases due to all the protests is finally starting to end.

    • There were no cases related to the protests according to the Health Department

      • That’s what you get, when you specifically do not ask the people you’re testing whether they have been to a protest. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

        And Mr. Simms assured me that rioters do not spread disease, because they wear masks.

        • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

          It’s one “M,” thanks. I could only speak to the marches I went to. I didn’t attend any riots and I’ll refer any questions to that effect to my attorney. I never assured you of anything, but reported what I saw at the two marches/gatherings I wend to. That was two fold: it was all outdoors and probably 95% to 97% of EVERYONE had a mask on. Did that stop the spread that would have been there? I don’t know, but it seems possible. As far as not asking people specifically if they have been to a protest, where do you get that? Did a contact tracer say they don’t ask that? Did you guess? Seriously, they ask people for all their contacts and I suspect that would have included a protest. I’m sorry, Reverend, your comment does not hold up in any regard. 🙂

        • Sealion Harpooner says

          Where were the riots in Knoxville?

          There were plenty of graduations, 20 in fact, that were attended by 10,000+ people (# of graduating students x4) who were shoulder-to-shoulder in bleachers mostly unmasked.

          Funny how we surged in early July, two weeks after the ceremonies began in mid-June (remember the 7-14 day lag in symptoms and testing results?). If only there was a handy graph that identified this.

          Unfortunately, I think it’s too late to know the impact as we’re more than a month removed and contact tracing back to either graduations or protests.

          Also your line of questioning seems to have changed a lot over the last three weeks as cases surged, remember when your talking point was “only 5 people dead since March?”

          Well now it’s x4 that and more active cases coming with the opening of in-person schooling.

          Of course the mortality rate isn’t the only concern, what of the long-term impacts from pneumonia and other illnesses caused or compounded by the virus?

          No one dies “from COVID” they die of conditions caused or aggravated by the virus. I’ll gladly link you to articles and videos posted by respiratory specialists in the days right around the shutdown stating as much.

          But do better with your talking points.

          • Ok then, let’s take a look at “my line of questioning.”

            Two months ago, there has been five deaths out of 323 cases.

            5 / 323 = .015

            Today these numbers are 20 out of 2392.

            20 / 2392 = .008

            So the local death rate is currently only half what it was two months ago, despite being “x4” as you mentioned.

            Thanks for encouraging me to take a fresh look at the numbers.

          • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

            Honest question, for you or anyone: How do you determine a death rate? The above divides death into all the cases, but most of those are current and we can’t really know how they will resolve, so wouldn’t we look at the number of recovered cases vs. deaths? I honestly don’t know, but I think that may be more reflective of what has happened.

        • Candace Armstrong says

          Sir, may I suggest that if you don’t care for the manner in which Alan presents Covid updates you look elsewhere for information that more closely suits what it seems that you want to hear?

          • Madam, I do believe that after all these years, it is time for me to do just that. Mr. Sims has built a very profitable business here and likely no longer needs my clicks.

            I do hope no one else ever comes along to question the information that it seems that *you* want to hear.

  2. Eli Sunrise Morse says

    Thanks! Now go enjoy the GrandUrbankids!

  3. Thank you, Alan — the answers to your questions confirmed suspicions. We spent the last week at a campground in Townsend, and the weekend before paddling the Pigeon River. Hundreds of campers from states as far away as Texas and literally thousands of rafters on the Pigeon. I saw fewer than 10 masks total, except for the rafting company staff members, who wore masks on the crowded buses. Needless to say, I was glad I wasn’t close to any of these people, except for two trips into the campground office. It was sad to see this dangerous combination of ignorance and immaturity.

    • Dean Schultz says

      Please educate me on why one must wear a mask outside.? Unless you are in a cluster of people for than 10 minutes, it is non sense “the nonsense comment is an opinion”.

      It is ridiculous to see someone walking anywhere outside with no one in sight, wearing a mask. It is the mis information that has be culminating since the onset of this virus. That misinformation put out by the system has caused all of this ridiculous fear.

      Don’t get me wrong we have got to squash this virus immediately. But we have to do so correctly, using facts not myths

      A mask’s purpose is to keep a person from spreading the virus. While it could protect you from an unlikely chance of someone coughing or sneezing in your face, the fact remains it was not intended to protect, but rather spread.

      The 6 feet space rules applies to being within that 6 feet circle of someone other than family for more than 10 minutes, key word there is 10 minutes.

      So the notion we are ignorant immature for not wearing a mask outside, is a far fetch and confirms that people are still misinformed.


      • I was probably not clear about the environment I saw. Even though part of the time these people were outdoors, the rafters spent at least 30-45 minutes crammed into school buses, and then 2-3 hours in close quarters on rafts, with high volumes of air moving due to the usual screaming. At the campground, children and adults were playing in very close quarters both indoors and out. Being outdoors does not bring automatic safety, nor does staying 6 feet apart. I observed NO caution or care from these people and am frustrated by their lack of concern for themselves and others. I have spent thirty years in the outdoors, especially whitewater environment. I’ve seen everyone from conservative Baptist women in long skirts to conservative Muslim women in full burqas to Catholic nuns in full habit going down the rivers in rafts. Taking care of ourselves and others by wearing a mask when indoors in a crowd or on a crowded bus cannot be that hard. Why not spend the little extra effort to be safe rather than rail against the caution?

      • Agreed to an extent. Wearing a mask outside with virtually nobody around (or alone in your car) is just dumb. However if you’re going to be outside around lots of people (such as at a farmer’s market) wearing a mask is smart.

      • Concerned citizen says

        There is evidence that the mask protects both the wearers as well as others.

      • Allen McBride says

        The six-foot space “rule” that I’ve heard is, try to stay farther than six feet from everyone you don’t live with. Nothing to do with familial ties or ten minutes. I have heard of ten minutes in relation to what’s considered a “contact” in the context of tracing, as a practical consideration for efficient use of public health resources. If I’m infected and talking face to face with someone and a drop of my spit heads towards their mouth, I’m not sure being outside or having a less-than-ten-minute conversation will help them as much as my having blocked that drop with a mask.

    • Wearing masks in those circumstances absolute has no effect and no one has suggested wearing it when you are outside and can maintain 6ft from those outside of your household.

  4. e. bryant says

    It bothers me the way WBIR and WATE report the local numbers. Today, they both say there are just 20+ new active cases, which of course is the net, but they don’t expand to say that there are actually 78 NEW cases. The way they report it makes it sound as if only we have only 23 new cases, when it’s actually more that triple that. Bottom line is that 78 more people tested positive, and over the last few days, may have passed along the virus and our local news outlets seem to be glossing over that fact. No wonder people in our town are running around thinking this is fake and they don’t need a mask. Ugh. Thank you for your solid reports and breaking down the numbers every day!

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      Thanks. I noticed that on WATE and emailed the news director asking if they would please correct the way they are reporting that. It is very misleading, though I suspect it is unintentional and they think it is correct. I did not get a response.

      • Yesterday they stated “just” 4 new deaths. JUST??? Totally wrong for a news source to trivialize deaths like that.

        • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

          It was not my intention to trivialize any deaths. Relative to previous numbers it was significantly less and that is what I intended to convey. I am writing a lot of words every not every one of them will be perfect. That one was not a good choice. Thank you.

          • Alan, I was stating WATE stated that not you. I know how hard you work on these updates. Wasn’t posting the figure at you. 👍

          • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

            I understood that. They give the numerical difference from yesterday to today in active cases and present it as if that difference is how many new cases there are today. It’s inaccurate. I never took it personally.

    • Well all that really matters is the number of active cases… The total cases metric is virtually useless to the data most people care about.

  5. Jim Ullrich says

    I do not wear a mask to protect me but to protect you. I do not think it is an inhuman expectation or some assault on a distorted view of freedom to expect you to reciprocate. Before the Covid 19 it took more than doctors, hospitals, healthcare workers to provide a healthy community. That is the reason for public health activities. That is the reason it took all of us to do something. If nothing else I hope COVID 19 has taught us that. It seems to me it is easier to wear a mask (indoor or outdoor) than carry enough watches to keep track if I have been around the people I meet for 10 minutes or less.

    • Carol E. Myers says

      I appreciate your measured response, Jim. Like Alan said last week, we all need a little grace. Railing against wearing a mask is a reflection of a frustrated and uncaring person, and I for one am wearing a mask whenever needed. We just all need to stop being so ugly to each other, as my Granny used to say.

      • Dean Schultz says

        Speaking for me:

        It’s not railing against the use, frustrated or non caring. Though there unfortunately still many who don’t care and have no respect. Unfortunately most “not all” have been teenagers & minorities.

        It is all about putting out the correct information. We can out of respect for others wear a mask when needed. But if the information out there contradicts itself or changes frequently as it has. Then that is what causes the unecessary fear, which then leads to these crazy things like the TP craze. I will not wear a mask outside unless in an surroundings such as the farmers market, etc., Just to respect someone else who might be wearing one. What’s to happen next. We all see a lot of people wearing gloves with their masks, so now we should out of respect and public health wear them.

        It all comes down to clarity of information. And the only place I trust my information to date is here written by Alan. This man’s dedication, committment and love for his community speaks for itself.

        • I have a REAL problem with this statement: ‘most “not all” have been teenagers & minorities.’ Where I live (west Knox County) and travel, (eastern TN), almost all of the non-mask-wearers have been lily white and middle aged, many with families who also do not wear masks. I believe that I saw ONE African-American man without a mask a couple of months ago. I shop at Sunrise Market; most shoppers and all staff were wearing masks. I shop at an Indian grocery store; most shoppers and all staff were wearing masks. I eat pho at Bida Saigon. All staff serving customers were wearing masks. We must live in different Knoxvilles.

          • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

            That gave me some heartburn to, when I read it. I can’t speak for Dean, but I’m guessing he may be suggesting the minority portion based on the higher than representative numbers for Hispanics and some other minority groups and inferring that must mean they aren’t being cautious (that may not be Dean’s thinking and I’ll certainly let him speak for himself). As it turns out, there are other explanations for those higher numbers in those groups. For one, many of them live in extended family groups or shared housing of non-related people, like families in Italy, for example, where that was found to produce larger case numbers because once one person gets infected, everyone gets infected. Additionally, they are less likely to have jobs that can be done from home, are more likely to be low-income and unable to afford to miss a paycheck or work jobs where distancing, etc. isn’t possible.

  6. Dean Schultz says

    When I posted, I preficed speaking for me.

    @Sandy, the demographic in west Knoxville that you encounter im sure is of a different make up of citizens.

    I’m speaking of downtown and south Knoxville over to east town and retailers there.

    Every single one I mention, where folks were not wearing masks were 80% African Americans, followed by 15% teenagers and 5% some older senior gentleman.

    From the Kroger in North Knoxville, the Kroger in Soutb Knoxville, to the Food City on Western Ave. Target and Walmart in east town, to every single weigels I’ve visited.

    This isnt a race thing, it is merely what I see with my own eyes. I dont hold back and im certainly not the guy who stands by and doesn’t speak up simply because its not politically correct, or someone wants to scream discrimination.

    The point to be kept in the forefront is, while these groups may be made up differently dependant upon where you live or frequent. The fact remains these groups of individuals out there, are causing more harm than they care to consider.

    Its these folks that may or may not be part of the numbers showing countless asymptomatic individuals. I never seen such high numbers of asympomatic people with a virus like this. Thats more dangerous than anything, as it only goes to undo everything we are doing.

    So if you were offended, that was not my intention. if it was , I would certainly apologize.

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