It has all the markings of a classic clash of the Titans: Ali vs. Frazier, Alabama vs. Clemson, Godzilla vs Kong. In our home this morning, it was dinosaur vs. Yellow Submarine. Unfortunately, as the two collided repeatedly in the hands of the five-year-old, the Beatles needed more than love and got the short end of a Brontosaurus tail in the end.
We’re seeing our own clash of the Titans: a powerful virus vs our health and economy. That’s enough of a clash to occupy us all. Most of us know very little, in reality, about epidemics or what goes on politically behind the scenes and yet, we pit ourselves against each other as experts. We’re all just people doing the best we can. Let’s all consider a bit of humility, admit our ignorance, and try to work together to get out of this mess.
24,371,705 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 830,460 deaths have been confirmed as a result. Over 16.9 million people have recovered, while over 6.6 million people remain ill. Yesterday, 273,273 new cases were reported along with 6,346 deaths.
The number of new cases has remained in a relatively narrow range for the last week. Yesterday’s 273,273 new cases compares to 272,134 the same day the previous week, and the seven-day moving averages rose accordingly to 248,736. The average at the beginning of the month was around 260,000.
The 6,346 deaths reported yesterday compares to 6,709 the same day a week earlier, and the recent slow decline in deaths continues. The seven day average now sits at 5,528 daily deaths, as compared to 5,688 a week ago. Countries reporting the most deaths remained the same as the previous day (and week): the U.S. (1,289), Brazil (1,090), India (1,017) and Mexico (650).
The case numbers by country from yesterday reveal an increase in both the number of countries reporting more than 10,000 cases and in the number reporting more than 1,000 new cases. Those reporting more than 10,000: India (75,995), Brazil (47,828), the U.S. (44,637), Argentina (10,550), and Colombia (10,142). Thirty countries reported at least 1,000 new cases. Argentina recorded its highest single-day total and is seeing rapidly escalating numbers.
France is moving toward requiring masks in all public places in Paris. Novavax eyes filing for a vaccine approval in December. The EU has signed a contract with AstraZeneca for potential supply of their vaccine. Here’s a look at some of the theories as to why deaths have not surged in equal proportion to new cases.
The number of Americans diagnosed with COVID-19 has now crossed 6 million, to reach 6,010,322. 183,913 deaths have been attributed to the illness. Over 3.3 million people have recovered, while just over 2.5 million remain ill. Yesterday, an additional 44,637 cases and 1,289 deaths were reported.
Yesterday’s 44,637 cases compares to 44,973 the same day a week earlier, showing how the recent declines in cases seem to have leveled off. The current seven-day average is 42,658 cases per day. The current levels are about 30% higher than the April peak and about 40% lower than the July peak.
The 1,289 deaths compare to 1,284 the same day the previous week. Average daily deaths continue to very slowly decline, down one from yesterday to 966. Yesterday, four states reported over 100 deaths: Texas (201), Florida (153), California (143) and Arizona (104).
The list of states reporting more than 1,000 cases each grew yesterday, from eight to eleven, with six states reporting multiple thousands: Texas (6,053), California (5,415), Florida (3,220), Georgia (2,236), Illinois (2,157) and Alabama (2,012). Other southeastern states near the top include Tennessee (#7), North Carolina (#10), Mississippi (#14), Louisiana (#15) and Virginia (#17). Six of the top thirteen states are now from the midwest.
The controversy continues over the new CDC guidelines narrowing guidance as to who should be tested. Talks are resuming today on a new stimulus packages. Yesterday, New York noted its 19th consecutive day with a positivity rate of less than 1%.
State and Local News:
The number of new cases reported by the state of Tennessee jumped dramatically yesterday, to three times the total on Monday and over twice Tuesday’s total – and this is not a cause for alarm. The increase is due to the increase in testing from about 14,000 tests reported Monday to about 15,000 on Tuesday and then to 27,000 on Wednesday. The level of tests reported for yesterday is more in line with the amount of testing the state had done for much of the previous two months and shows a truer comparison of our situation to the numbers which were reported at that time.
1,936 new cases were reported yesterday, compared to 813 the day before, bringing the pandemic total to 147,353. 20 deaths were reported, bringing the total number of Tennesseans who have died of the illness to 1,648. 1,730 people were moved to the recovered category, leaving 35,940 active cases, a slight increase over the previous day. The number of active cases still remains about 1,300 lower than the same day last week.
An additional 88 people were hospitalized overnight bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to just over 6,600. Hospitalization numbers remained about the same, though lower than previous weeks, at 896 hospitalized, 300 in the ICU and 161 COVID-19 positive patients on ventilators. As mentioned earlier, testing was up dramatically, bringing the case number up. What is most concerning about the testing numbers is the sudden increase in positive test results which, according to the state, is once more over 8% even with a large increase in tests.
Locally, the Knox County Health Department is reporting 99 new cases today, bringing the total to 6,162. 4,202 people have recovered and 2,131 people remain ill. Lower hospital number continue, with 30 Knox County residents currently hospitalized, bringing the total hospitalized since the beginning to 258. There are 227 probable cases and there was one additional death overnight, bringing that total to 56.
The University of Tennessee:
UTK is reporting 144 active cases today, up from 131 yesterday. The 144 includes 7 employees and 137 students. Ten people were moved to the recovered category. As a result of the cases, 690 additional people are in isolation, including 75 employees and 615 students.
Knox County Schools:
Knox County Schools are reporting 24 active cases, up from 21, yesterday. Of these, 10 are students and 14 are staff members. There are 292 students and 55 staff in quarantine or isolation, for a total of 347. This number has grown by 25 since yesterday.
Knox County Health Department Briefing:
Charity Menefee chaired today’s meeting, expressing thanks to the businesses working hard to keep employees and staff safe through this crisis. Charity discussed visiting family or friends safely. She said to please stay home if experiencing any symptoms. She encouraged staying outside and maintain space. She said to wear your mask inside and to eat at least six feet apart when eating or drinking.
She confirmed the above numbers and reviewed the benchmarks (covered in the previous article).
- Would having a citizen representative on the board be a good idea? We welcome any new participation.
- Any comment to students or others considering attending a large gathering? Please don’t or if you do, do it with a mask and be socially distanced.
- Update on the state grant? We hired contact tracers and others to help with testing.
- Are you asking as part of contact tracing if people are connected to Knox County Schools and UTK? Yes.
- CDC recommendations were changed yesterday. Are you following the new guidance? We are doing what we were doing – recommending that all contacts get tested and anyone else who wants. (This was asked four times in different ways.)
- The trendline points up when cases are going down!?! Yes. (Ed. Note: I have asked them to switch to a running average line.)
- We still encourage people who have had contact to be tested.
- The person who died was 70-year-old woman.
- Have we turned a corner? Numbers look good and are encouraging, we need people to continue the work. We are concerned about schools, UT and Labor Day.
- If you are a close contact in quarantine, can you go get groceries? Curbside would be OK, but we can help connect you to deliveries.
- Have you seen or know of anyone who has been re-infected? No. We have had one or two might fit that category and we are investigating, along with the state.
- The trendline is not an indicator of current changes (statement).
- Are you concerned the CDC changes are political? No comment. We’re doing the best we can here.
- What new considerations are presented as the weather becomes cooler and people are inside? Same – wash hands, cover face – keep distance – clean surfaces.
- If evidence continues to emerge that the CDC changes are political, what will you do? We always try to follow the science.