COVID-19 Update: 7.20.2020 (Including Today’s Health Department Briefing)

Tennessee Daily Cases 7.20.2020 (Source:
Worldwide Daily Cases 7.20.2020 (Source:

Welcome to another week. I hope you had a restful weekend and found some joy along the way. I learned that sealioning is what I’ve experienced on social media all spring. Who knew there was a name for it? Maybe everyone, but me. We also were joined in our household by Urban Girl and Urban Boy. Their mother, Urban Daughter, returned to work today with the Oak Ridge Schools. With her increased exposure, the younger ones will live with us and receive their education virtually. You many notice an impact on the amount of writing I am able to do, but we’ll see how it goes. For now, I’m just happy to hug them for the first time since March.

International News:

14,683,830 people worldwide have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic and 609,740 people have died of the illness. Yesterday there were 220,162 new cases reported and the seven-day average of new cases now sits at 226,758, the highest number of daily cases since the beginning of the pandemic. There are just over 5.3 million active cases around the world.

4,316 deaths from the virus were reported globally, yesterday, bringing the seven-day average to 5,112. The number has slowly risen recently after falling significantly earlier this year. The current average is higher than any date since May 12. For yesterday, the top four countries in the world for deaths were Brazil (716), India (675), Mexico (578) and the U.S. (412).

Worldwide Daily Deaths 7.20.2020 (Source:

India has now surpassed Brazil in new daily cases, a shift that was inevitable, given the increasing rate of the outbreak there and the enormous India population (1.35 Billion). It will likely surpass the U.S. in daily cases very soon for the same reason, even as the U.S. cases continue to rise. Only four countries added more than 10,000 new cases yesterday: the U.S. (65,279), India (40,243), Brazil (24,650) and South Africa (13,449).

These four countries contributed 60% of the day’s new cases, while 24 different countries added at least 1,000 new cases. While a large portion (10) of the countries are in south and central America, others are scattered all over the world. There are, however, no countries in western Europe on the list, which is quite remarkable, given the situation there just a few short months ago.

Vaccines in Oxford and China are proving hopeful. The most optimistic timelines – which would shatter all previous records for speed – suggest that a widespread vaccine (or vaccines) may be widely available in mid-2021.

U.S. Daily Cases 7.20.2020 (Source:

National News:

3,902,872 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic and 143,324 have died. Yesterday’s numbers included 65,279 new cases and 412 deaths. There are just under 2 million active cases in the U.S.

Since the last article, the U.S. set a new record for daily cases, when that total reached 74,987 new cases for this past Friday. The seven-day moving average continues to climb to new daily records and now sits at 68,680 new cases each day. That number was 67,162 when last I wrote.

Deaths also continue to slowly rise in the U.S., primarily fueled by the states that have seen the largest recent outbreaks of the illness. The 412 deaths yesterday compare to 381 the same day the week before. The average daily deaths now sits at 791 per day, whereas it was 741 a week earlier. The current level is the highest the death rate has been since June 11. Florida led the nation in deaths yesterday with 87, while Texas was second with 56. Florida’s 740 deaths last week broke its previous weekly record of 511 deaths set the week before. The state has already reported 90 additional deaths today.

Thirteen different states reported 1,000 or more new cases, yesterday. Seven reported multiple thousands: Florida (12,478), Texas (8,709), California (8,116), Georgia (3,251, Louisiana (3,116), South Carolina (2,374) and Arizona (2,359). In addition to the five southeastern states in the top seven, others near the top include North Carolina (8th), Tennessee (9th), Alabama (10th) and Virginia (13th).

A new stimulus package is under discussion and will likely be issued soon. Currently being debated are the targets and the size of the assistance. A record six million Americans signed up for food stamps in the first three months of the pandemic.

Tennessee Daily Cases 7.20.2020 (Source:

State and Local News:

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 78,115 Tennesseans have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 843 have died. Yesterday, the state reported 1,779 and 5 deaths from the illness were reported. 613 cases were moved to the recovered category, for a net increase of close to 1,200 active cases. Active cases in Tennessee now total 32,953.

32 additional people were hospitalized with the illness yesterday and nearly 24,000 were tested, bringing the total tests in the state to about 1.2 million. The positive rate has dropped slightly to 9%. Hospitalizations have plateaued for the last few days and currently sit at 971 confirmed and 397 pending. Current hospital availability across the state: Beds (22%), ICU Beds (19%) and Ventilators (67%).

Case numbers continue dramatic upward trends, with four consecutive days, ending Saturday, over 2,000 new cases. The current four-day average is 2,264. The average first crossed 2,000 just last week. Tennessee’s average daily deaths (Worldometers) is currently 15, tying a record set just last week. On July 1, that average was 7 deaths per day which, though admittedly involving small numbers, means, the state death rate has more than doubled in the last three weeks. Saturday’s 23 deaths were the third highest of the pandemic, with the second highest coming nine days earlier.

Tennessee Daily Testing and Positive Test Result Rate 7.20.2020 (Source: Johns Hopkins University)

Locally, the Knox County Health Department is reporting a pandemic total of 2,314 cases and 19 deaths. There are now 1,311 active cases, up from 1,100 on Friday. 984 people have recovered. Today, the health department is reporting 93 cases. Friday and Saturday each saw numbers in Knox County cross 100 two days in a row for the first time (147, 110).

There are 44 COVID-positive Knox County residents currently in the hospital, the same total number as Friday. Two people died over the weekend, bringing that total to 19. One of the new deaths was a person in the 45 – 64 age range and the other was in the 75+ age range. The break down, so far in deaths include 2 people in the 18-44 age range, 6 people in the 45 – 64 age range and 11 people over 75 years old.

Hispanic cases in the county, once representing over 25% of all cases, now represents about 20%. Though still over-represented, new infections have now shifted numerically to non-Hispanic populations. The case load has increased most among those in their 20s, with that cohort now representing almost 31% of cases. Over 17% have been below age 20. There are now 113 probable cases.

Knox County Daily Cases 7.20.2020 (Source Knox County Health Department)

Knox County Health Department Briefing:

Dr. Buchanan began by thanking the families of staff members who have made it possible for them to work long hours for months.

She said the department continues to work out details for alternative testing sites in order to allow people not to wait in the heat. She said typically, they are testing at least five days a week, with targeted testing on the weekends. She noted the testing team is limited in numbers and hours, just as supply and capacity is limited.

She noted people may be tested elsewhere. She pointed out that testing doesn’t keep you from getting the virus, but masks and distancing will. She reminded people that if you get tested, you should quarantine until you get negative results. Please stay home. She thanked those who are doing so.

She confirmed the above numbers.


  • Explain the role of contact tracers? The first person we talk to is the case. We ask questions about where they have been and who they have been in contact with. After they generate names, the HD reaches out to these people and tell them they have been named as a contact and ask them to stay home. This prevents spread.
  • Have you seen cases or clusters in daycares? Cases, yes.
  • KCS have stated they are using various metrics and using the HD. What are you telling them? The data and the five core behaviors.
  • Anderson and Hamblen Counties have specific thresholds of percentages of population with active cases for opening schools. Do we have that? No.
  • Have you looked at the White House document released last week? Yes. The Board of Health will review it.
  • Can those that get a COVID test without symptoms go to work? No. If you think you need to be tested, you need to quarantine.
  • How confident are you in the accuracy rate of tests? The swab tests that are sent to a lab are very accurate. Some of the rapid tests are less so.
  • If someone gets tested positive twice, are they counted as one case or two? One. Always. One.
  • Are there false positives and how are they counted? All tests for every illness has false positives. We have to respond as if it is a case.
  • We are educating and informing businesses we regulate to follow guidance.
  • Has mask use by employees been added to health scores? No.
  • Update on number of patients? That will be discussed on Wednesday.
  • Any progress on finding new lab providers? Still looking. Response time continues to be long. Twelve days is now the turnaround.
  • Have any cases been tracked to gyms? No.