Welcome to the first full week of August. I never want to wish my life away, so we’re looking for joy as we go. We had a couple of great cookouts this weekend (with only our household) and enjoyed great vegetables from the Market Square Farmers’ Market and great meat from Hen Hoc Butcher Shop. While I don’t want to wish my life away, I do find myself pleased that another month has passed and we are (hopefully) closer to getting back to living our lives fully. Urban Boy (age five) said of a vaccine, “I will take the shot and then fly to New York.” Me, too, Urban Boy, me too.
Since the beginning of the pandemic there have been 18,302,593 documented cases of COVID-19 across the world and 694,029 deaths attributed to the illness. Yesterday there were 218,149 cases reported and 4,421 deaths. Just over 11.5 million people have recovered and there are currently about 6.1 million active cases.
Compared to the same day last week, there were slightly fewer cases and the seven-day moving average is now 258,881, about 1,900 fewer new cases per day than the number at which we ended last week. It’s an encouraging sign that the global curve has once again bent, and hopefully headed downward.
Compared to the same day last week, there were slightly more deaths yesterday attributed to the illness. The average daily deaths across the world remains at 5,671, slightly less than where the number stood a week ago (5,701). Countries leading the world in reported deaths yesterday were Mexico (784), India (758), Brazil (514) and the U.S. (467).
The number of countries reporting at least 1,000 new cases yesterday, declined to twenty, the lowest it has been recently. The large number of cases among the top few countries continues to drive the global number: India (52,783), the U.S. (49,038), Brazil (24,801) and Colombia (11,470). Spain, which has seen recent sharp increase, didn’t report, yesterday. The U.K. and Japan are seeing increasing cases and are edging closer to the 1,000 threshold.
In an emotional announcement, the Secretary of Health for Portugal announced the first twenty-four hour period in Portugal without a death from COVID-19 since March. Mexico has made a national decision to start school this month via televised lessons, with no in-person instruction. The WHO says they believe COVID-19 has about a .6% fatality rate, about six times deadlier than the flu.
4,826,737 Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 158,495 have died from the illness. Yesterday an additional 49,038 cases and 467 deaths were reported. Almost 2.4 million people have recovered and almost 2.3 million remain ill.
As shown in the graphic above, new daily cases continue to decline, though they remain at almost twice the rate they were earlier in the year when businesses were closed across the country. The current daily average for new cases is 62,767, down from a high of just over 69,000 about nine days earlier.
The number of deaths continue to rise, though slowly. Yesterday’s 467 deaths is the lowest since the previous Sunday, when they were 462. The current average number of daily deaths from the illness in the U.S. is 1,130, an increase of 73 per day over the last week. States reporting the most deaths yesterday include Texas (75), Florida (62), Louisiana (57) and California (38).
With the smaller number of total cases comes fewer states reporting over 1,000 new cases for the day. Twelve states reported at least 1,000 new cases and six reported multiple thousands: Florida (7,104), California (6,395), Texas (4,618), Louisiana (3,467), Georgia (3,165) and Alabama (2,095). Other southeastern states ranking highly yesterday include North Carolina (#7), Tennessee (#10), South Carolina (#11), Virginia (#13), Mississippi (#19) and Arkansas (#20). A group of mid-western states including Illinois, Ohio, and Wisconsin continue to rise on the list.
Over the weekend, Dr. Birx said said the U.S. epidemic is in a dangerous new phase of wider-spread cases, including rural areas, after which President Trump saying she, “took the bait and hit us,” and calling her warning “pathetic.” Another study details the plunge in emergency room visits during the outbreak, a fact that has concerned some professionals that people may not be seeking care that they need. With job losses in recent months, about 2,000,000 Americans have lost their health insurance since June according to a new analysis of census data.
State and Local News:
The state of Tennessee reported 1,443 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, along with six additional deaths. 820 recoveries were reported, netting 617 additional active cases. The current total of recovered cases in Tennessee is 68,471, with 1,073 deaths and 40,083 active cases. The number of active cases has increased by about 1800 over the last week.
Thirty-two additional people were hospitalized yesterday. 1,057 Tennesseans are currently hospitalized with the virus, up from 1,016 two weeks ago. The number has remained fairly stable during that time. An additional 266 cases are pending. In trends, cases continue to remain in the low-to-mid 2,000 range and deaths continue as they have for about three weeks, to average in the mid-teens.
The state reported over 80,000 tests for the weekend, continuing to test on a massive scale, with tests now totaling over 1.56 million. The positive test result rate continues to remain over 8%, currently sitting at 8.7% according to data supplied by Johns Hopkins University.
Locally, the Knox County Health Department reported 114 new cases today. Sunday’s number dipped under 100 for the first time in over a week, at 83. The county data includes a trendline, but not a moving average, so it’s hard to determine improvement, but there appears to be a slow reduction in cases over the last week to week-and-a-half. There are 131 probable cases.
The number of Knox County residents hospitalized has remained fairly steady over the last week and sits at 31, a bit lower than last week in which the number was in the upper 30s for the most part. Deaths continue to rise, with six reported since Friday, bringing the total to 39 in Knox County. Of those, three deaths have been reported among the 18 – 44 age group, eleven deaths of people between 45 – 64, six deaths between the ages of 65 – 74 and 19 deaths among people over 75.
Health Department Press Conference:
Charity Menefee chaired today’s meeting and began by thanking those who are following the guidance suggested. She noted seeing families and friends meeting in parks, distanced and enjoying social interaction safely. She said they encourage more of that. Testing continues 8 – 3 Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Chilhowee Park. She pleaded for people to continue doing the work.
She confirmed the above numbers.
- Some bars say they will not close. What are you going to do? Education, then legally, if needed. We are monitoring and taking reports.
- Can you talk about the evidence that contributed to the decision to close bars? National reports, White House recommendations and understanding of that environment (ie. It’s hard to distance, wear a mask, etc).
- There is a discrepancy on the daily numbers: 104 vs. 114? They will confirm.
- Detail’s on today and weekend deaths: 69 year old man, 66 year old man, 61 year old male, 81 year old female, 71 year old male, 55 year old male
- Details about the current child which is hospitalized? No
- Why has there been no information about clusters? Because we’ve been able to reach the people involved, so there is no public need.
- Have any clusters been connected to bars, restaurants or businesses? We’ve had cases, but no clusters. Mostly employees. Our information, however, is limited by the quality of the information we are given.
- Do you believe yesterday’s lower case count represents a true drop or lower testing last week? It could be test reporting or a blip from one thing or another. We’ll have to see if it is a trend.
- What are you doing about the the three cases in the Public Defender’s office? Same as anywhere. We interview and then contact. Some of the people who test positive have not been to work.
- We continue to be able to trace cases within the acceptable period.
- Clusters continue to be small groups who are comfortable with each other at work, birthday parties, etc. and not following guidance.