COVID-19: 8/14/2020 Update (Including Today’s Health Department Briefing)

Worldwide Daily Cases 8.14.2020 (Source: Worldometers.com)

Happy Friday. I hope your weekend is a good one. Our family picks up a chrome book and “manipulatives” for a kindergarten student today as we continue to ramp up for virtual education. Accomplishments this week: Pronouncing “girl” and “world” with proper “r” sounds and counting, more or less, to 100. We also passed the mid-point of “Juneau the Sleigh Dog,” which we are reading nightly. This weekend may be “Where the Wild Things Are,” in movie format. Somebody in our household reminds us of Max. There may be Moscow Mules for the grown ups and ginger ale for the young ones. I hope you have as much joy coming your way.

International News:

21,128,670 people across the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 758,391 deaths have been attributed to the illness. Just under 14 million people have recovered and about 6.4 million people remain ill. Yesterday an additional 284,357 cases and 6,649 deaths were reported.

The total number of cases was within a little over 1,000 of the day before, and it is remarkably similar to the same day in previous weeks: roughly 281,000 last week, 287,000 the week before. As a result the seven-day moving average barely budged upward to its current level of 260,634. That upward move of a couple of hundred, however, was enough to make it the new high since the beginning of the pandemic.

The 6,649 deaths yesterday marks three consecutive days above 6,500 deaths, a string which had not happened since last April when it happened three different times. The number of deaths were about 200 more than a week earlier, moving the average to 5,934, still about where it was in late April. Countries reporting the most deaths yesterday remained the same, though in shuffled order: Brazil (1,301) the U.S. (1,284), India (1,006) and Mexico (737).

Worldwide Daily Deaths 8.14.2020 (Source: Worldometers.com)

The top four countries for new cases also remains the same and the top three combined are equivalent to 63% of the world’s total new cases for the day: India (64,142), Brazil (59,147), the U.S. (55,364) and Columbia (11,286). Thirty-one different countries reported 1,000 or more new cases yesterday. Thirteen of those countries are in the Americas, while the others are spread around the world. Spain had the 12th most new cases yesterday (2,935), followed closely by France (2,669) at 13th. The two countries are seeing their biggest new case numbers since March.

Here’s a look at the current surge in Europe. Iraq reported a record number of daily cases yesterday. England has launched a new COVID-19 app, similar to others in use elsewhere. They hope to have 70% of those at risk using the app. The app uses location and time data to determine who has been exposed to a person who has been diagnosed. The users get an automatic notification, reducing the need for labor intensive tracing and removing inaccuracies resulting from interviews. Germany has successfully used such an app for months.

U.S. Daily Cases 8.14.2020 (Source: Worldometers.com)

National News:

5,427,542 Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 170,732 Americans have died of the illness. Over 2.8 million have recovered and just over 2.4 million remain ill. Yesterday, an additional 55,364 new cases were reported, as well as 1,284 deaths.

Yesterday’s number of cases reflects about a 3,300 drop in cases from the same day a week earlier and the seven-day average now sits at 54,503 new cases per day. The number has remained in the 54,000 to 55,000 range for a week, after dropping for the three previous weeks. The drop of 12,000 new cases per day seen since late July is largely attributable to the drop in Florida (-5,200) and Texas (-3,000). Both states have severely reduced testing numbers during the same period.

The 1,284 additional deaths yesterday compares to 1,203 the same day the previous week. The extremely slow rise continues, with the average daily deaths moving up by thirteen from yesterday, to 1,080. The number is similar to the number of daily deaths seen in late May. Three states reported more than 100 additional deaths yesterday: Texas (274), California (186) and Florida (147).

U.S. Daily Deaths 8.14.2020 (Source: Worldometers.com)

Fourteen states reported at least 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, while six reported multiple thousands. The six included: California (7,876), Texas (7,236), Florida (6,236), North Carolina (2,657), Georgia (2,515) and Tennessee (2,118). Other southeastern states near the top included Louisiana (#12), Virginia (#13) and South Carolina (#17). Also notable on the list is the advance of six mid-western states as they experience a new surge.

A single school district in Georgia has over 1,000 students and teachers now under quarantine one week after beginning the school year. There are 59 confirmed cases in the district which has seen a widely shared photograph of unmasked students posing together. The CDC is now predicting between 180,000 and 200,000 American deaths from COVID-19 by September 5. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a source used early in the pandemic by the White House Task Force is currently predicting just over 295,000 deaths by December 1.

Tennessee Daily Cases 8.14.2020 (Source: TN.gov)

State and Local News:

Yesterday, the state of Tennessee reported an additional 2,118 cases, an increase of 43.3% over the previous day. The state reported 27,956 tests, an approximate 48.2% increase from the previous day, as the two numbers continue to fluctuate in parallel. The best news regarding testing is that, with the increased testing, the positivity rate has dropped to 8%, still too high, but lower than it has been in weeks.

1,861 people were moved to the recovered category yesterday, pushing the total number who have recovered to over 89,000. An additional 24 deaths were reported, bringing that total to 1,313 Tennesseans who have died during the course of the pandemic. The number of active cases is 38,047, which compares to about 37,600 each of the last two weeks on the same day.

Tennessee Daily Testing and Positive Test Result Rate 8.14.2020 (Source: Johns Hopkins University)

An additional 94 people were hospitalized yesterday. 5,648 have been hospitalized since the beginning of the pandemic and 1,061 COVID-19-positive Tennesseans are currently hospitalized. 363 are currently in ICUs and 163 are on ventilators. These numbers have all remained very consistent over the last two weeks, while declining slightly. Pending cases in hospitals have declined sharply in the last two weeks from 367 to 203.

The Knox County Health Department is reporting 99 additional cases today (identical to yesterday), bringing the total since the beginning to 5,134 cases in the county. 3,077 people have recovered and 2,192 people remain ill. The number of active cases has been consistently in the 2,000 to 2,300 range for the first half of August.

There are currently 33 COVID-19-positive Knox County residents in the hospital, up from 30, yesterday. The number has remained mostly in the 30s for the month, so far. There are 183 probable cases, the largest that number has been in weeks. An additional person died of the illness, yesterday, bringing the total to 48 Knox County residents who have died.

Knox County Daily Cases 8.14.2020 (Source: Knox County Health Department)

Knox County Health Department Briefing:

Charity Menefee started by thanking the media for their coverage. She discussed ride sharing and encouraged people to wear masks, get fresh air into the car and sit as far apart as possible. She said do not share rides if you are feeling ill.

Testing will be available M-W-F. Briefings next week will move to Tuesdays and Thursdays and benchmarks will be updated on Wednesdays. She confirmed the above numbers.

Questions:*

  • UT students will be included in Knox County numbers as soon as they are received.
  • The trend seems to be even for new cases at this time.
  • If UT reports cases twice a week, will this make your numbers rise twice a week? No. We report as cases are confirmed.
  • Gaiters effective? We brought the new studies up to the state yesterday. We recommend multi-layers, but one is better than none.
  • Demand for testing statewide has dropped. Here? Slightly, yes. We aren’t sure why.
  • 64 year-old male (new death)
  • When should people get tested? If you are sick with COVID symptoms, get tested. Wait five days after contact with a known case to be tested. If you have been in a group with positive cases, get tested.
  • Not releasing positivity rate directly. The state is releasing it by county.
  • T/Th press meetings align with other agencies across the state.
  • Do not continue testing after you have tested positive. You may continue to test positive well after you are no longer contagious.
  • When should parents keep their children home? If they are exhibiting symptoms or have been exposed.
  • After three months, if someone tests positive again a determination would be involved, but if a person tests positive again in less time than that, they would not be counted again.
  • We have not found any other cases that were not traced after the first one found, but we are continuing to examine records.
  • Not all negatives are being reported to the KCHD, so positivity ratings are a concern for accuracy.
  • Press will get an email regarding press availability later today. We will move back to more press conferences if needed.
  • Are you seeing some longer lingering symptoms for some people? Yes, but they are not infectious after ten days, per CDC.
  • Why does it matter that press conferences align with the rest of the state? We’ll still get you information, but we have other obligations, as well.

*Please note I am summarizing rapidly as questions are asked and truncating responses, sometimes without the question if not needed. Any perceived bluntness, etc. may be a result of that process.

Comments

  1. Is there a reason Europe has an app and we don’t?!

    • You haven’t downloaded it yet. There are several US-based apps. A quick google search brought up quite a few. In fact, if you have an android phone you can go into your google settings and turn on covid-19 exposure notifications (it was part of an update–you still have to download an app though).

    • Because we don’t need one. A mandatory contract tracing app is a dangerous step in the direction of the PATRIOT act. AKA so far in the wrong direction we will end up living in the physical pages of an Orwell novel. Don’t be a sheep. We’re better than that.

      • Agree, Jeremy!

      • Sealion Harpooner says

        Ever vigilant. You know the take is good when you see “sheep” outside of a livestock auction.

        I’m sure you pay this much attention to the Terms of Service on every piece of technology, software, and app you own before click “AGREE.”

        We live under corporate hegemony and harvesting of our metadata by private companies that put the NSA to shame.

        Huxley was the one who was right, not Orwell. We love our oppression and get out regular dose of soma from the supercomputer in your pocket. The government doesn’t have to stomp on your face forever when we can amuse ourselves to death and distract ourselves from those machinations. (Thanks Neil Postman.)

        Contact tracing via geolocation was effective early on in numerous countries at curbing the spread. It never was going to be an option here when you can’t even get people to properly adhere to basic health guidelines.

        5.5 million known infections and a 170k deaths and an app would be like putting a bandaid on a brain hemorrhage at this point.

        The only approach going forward is normalizing illnesses and deaths and misattributing the potential and long-lasting medical conditions it’s likely to cause in swaths of survivors.

        • I would rather have a private company keep my information to advertise to me at an oddly personal level than the government keep it to arrest me for having a history of disagreeing with any of their ideas. A contract tracing app is extremely similar to what China has and we don’t need to adopt any of their governmental philosophies.

          • Jeremy –

            First, the contract tracing apps ARE by companies, not the government. It’s a collaboration between Google and Apple.

            Secondly, the administration that is currently in office lies daily, has made an enemy of our free press, has caged children, and sent unmarked vans to arrest citizens and fired tear gas at citizens legally exercising their first amendment rights. Oh, and they dismantled the pandemic task force and played golf (literally and figuratively) when this virus was making its way to our shores.

            If they actually got their act together and released an app that helped reduce the death total (FYI: the current death toll is like 53 9/11s in a row, with no end in sight)… you know, I’d actually applaud them.

          • While our government is making an enemy of the free press, the free press still exists. That’s the difference between us and totalitarian dictatorships such as China. In case you don’t remember the PATRIOT Act, those provisions were only supposed to help in the War on Terror. The War on Terror is basically over at this point, but the PATRIOT Act is still fully in place.

            Sure, the app is DESIGNED for contact tracing to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. But once we give the government this level of power and technology, do you really think they are going to give it up? History shows they won’t.

          • Sealion Harpooner says

            Good thing you just logged your metadata here while stating that you disagree with the government.

            One can only hope you wrote this on the tracking device you willingly carry in your pocket.

            No worries: the van is arriving shortly to disappear you

      • These apps are designed from the ground up to avoid this kind of misuse. I suggest you look into the lengths that app developers are going to prevent the risks of privacy breaches. For example, many of these apps don’t use your location data, but use bluetooth as a proximity measurement.

        As has been mentioned to you, all your information about your private thoughts/opinions are already available to the gov’t via companies like Facebook who have no moral qualms with selling/providing that data. The 2016 election’s micro-targeting was 100% proof of that.

        I suggest you read up on the measure these devs are taking to assuage UNDERSTANDABLE fears about this rather than just assuming it based off of incomplete knowledge and fear:

        https://www.apple.com/covid19/contacttracing

  2. Bob Fischer says

    I’ve got a feeling that things may not be as hopeful as they seem. It would appear that our culture war will be a more dominate force than our collective effort to mask up.

  3. KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

    At last I’m seeing an article that says what I’ve been saying for the last week: our drop in case numbers is largely due to a drop in testing.
    https://www.businessinsider.com/us-coronavirus-testing-decline-shortages-delays-2020-8?utm_source=reddit.com%3Futm_source%3Dcopy-link&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=topbar&fbclid=IwAR3F53VxrafQudc9SQ2BF4G4Jrou7o07xLIYGRJDy_OhLTa3RWbZYF9sLeg

    From the article, exactly what I have been saying about Texas and Florida:
    “The US performed about 708,000 daily tests, on average, over the past week, compared with nearly 818,000 at the end of July. Some states have seen even more dramatic declines: Texas’ weekly average of coronavirus tests administered has fallen 45% in the past month. Arizona’s has fallen by 36%, and Florida’s by 27%.”

  4. Dean Schultz says

    Thanks Alan for the continued updates.

    Unless I am missing something……

    Since we know now that approximately 40% are asymptomatic, which means they will not exhibit signs, and transmit the virus in a higher concentration then a non asymptomatic person.

    Since we know the above to be true and documented, and given the sometimes shortages of testing materials. Why would we not recommend or even go as far as mandating everyone get tested. Logically that would go to mitigate future harm to others.

    Each year, on average, five to 20 percent of the United States population gets the flu. It is estimated that the flu results in 31.4 million outpatient visits and more than 200,000 hospitalizations each year.
    Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/influenza/facts-and-statistics#1

    Now, I in know way wish to downplay our current concern with the china virus. When seen side by side and compared to a normal flu season, the numbers below do not look so gloomy

    “Reported Above”
    5,427,542 Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 170,732 Americans have died of the illness. Over 2.8 million have recovered and just over 2.4 million remain ill. Yesterday, an additional 55,364 new cases were reported, as well as 1,284 deaths.

    • I don’t think the flu comparison is useful at all anymore now that deaths have eclipsed flu deaths. Our current COVID deaths nationally, even without being adjusted for “excess deaths” (the number of covid deaths is far likely higher than the reported amounts) are between 3x and 6x higher than our flu deaths over the last few years.

      This also doesn’t take into account that “asymptomatic” is often “presymptomatic” or perhaps the virus is damaging organs in healthier people who won’t notice a 5% decrease in oxygen levels or kidney function. We’ve only begun to study the potential long-term damage this disease can do to the human body.

      Given the death rate combined with whatever spike we will see with the schools going into session and people getting bored of social distancing, I’d say the gloom is rational.

  5. Dean Schultz says

    Ricky H,

    Google is more of a problem than the government when it comes to collecting information, selling and sharing.

    Secondly, every administration, each party whether red or blue in elected office lies.

    Who are these caged children,? You referring about the people who illegally cross our borders from Mexico.? There is a process in this country, it is the law of the land unless yoiur a democrat. Then it becomes a do what we want state, where people can come here illegally, get assistance both financially and medical. If not mistaken I believe in New York, they the democratic powers there want to give drivers license’s to illegals, on top of that include them on the next stimulus.

    Caged children? What about the countless law biding citizens, the children here, families, even young woman murdered at the hands of …wait for it, Illegals. The same ones your throwing out here.

    My opinion, an App will be no good and pointless come November 7th, the day after the election.

    • There’s a whole bunch you’re wrong about here. The easiest thing to correct is that election day is November 3. If you want to vote on Nov 6, though, that’s fine with me.

  6. SuburbanMom says

    When a friend dies of COVID, the statistics are different, to me. Yesterday’s numbers for Tennessee were 1311 plus my two friends, whose names I know and think about often. They weren’t elderly or disabled, they were contributing members to society.

    It seems more personal, more definite, more finite. Both these folks were friendly, athletic (during school) and well liked. Each of them were the type of person that you remembered from the masses… real.

    It makes me infinitely more sad to think of the ones who refuse to wear a mask, social distance, limit contact, etc. Will their friends have to die before they get it? Will that be too late?

  7. SUBURBANMOM: I’m truly sorry to learn of your friends’ passing. That said, might I gently suggest you revisit your sentence, “They weren’t elderly or disabled, they were contributing members to society.” It is repugnant.

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