COVID-19: 10/14/2020 Update

Tennessee Daily Cases 10.14.2020 (Source:

It’s Wednesday! I hope your week is going well, so far. Starting today you have the opportunity to early vote. If you’ve never early voted before, this might be a good year to start. The crowds are generally smaller, though convivial. We early vote almost every time as an extended family, including the little urbans. Our only hope is to believe that America works. The vote is our most powerful tool as citizens. We need the young ones to believe their vote will matter when it becomes their day and ours has passed.

State News:

Yesterday, the state of Tennessee reported 1,147 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the pandemic totals to 208,606 confirmed cases and 10,223 probable cases. 196,940 people have recovered and 8,869 people remain ill with the virus. The new case number reflects a 61.7% drop from the previous day.

The state also reported an additional 23 deaths, taking that total to 2,797. The seven-day average for cases is 1,922 per day and for deaths, it is 25 per day.

61 additional COVID-positive Tennesseans were hospitalized, bringing the pandemic total hospitalizations with the illness to 9,309. The number currently hospitalized continues to rise steadily, as it has since the end of last month. Currently at 1,101, the number was 793. There are currently 329 people in ICUs across the state and 153 on ventilators. A month ago on the same day, the numbers included 274 in ICUs and 129 on ventilators.

Tennessee Daily Testing and Positive Test Result Rate 10.14.2020 (Source: Johns Hopkins University)

As anyone who has studied the numbers or followed this blog might predict, given the sharp drop in cases over the last two days, there has been a similarly dramatic day-over-day drop in the number of tests given. Total tests given over the two days dropped from over 39,300 tests one day to about 13,900 the next, or about 64.7%. The state reported a 7.77% positive test result for the day’s tests and Johns Hopkins University now pegs the seven-day average at 7.3%.

The erratic numbers of daily tests reporting is likely due to varying reporting times by the large number of labs reporting and doesn’t necessarily reflect the daily number of tests given. It makes daily comparisons almost useless and longer-span averages and comparisons more important. The epidemic wasn’t three times worse the first day or 2/3 better the next. The state numbers, comprised of county numbers also impact the numbers Knox County reports the next day, which leads us to . . .

Knox County Daily Cases 10.14.2020 (Source Knox County Health Department)

Knox County News:

The Knox County Health Department is reporting 64 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the pandemic totals to 11,234 confirmed cases and 527 probable cases. 10,457 people have cases now considered inactive and 1,217 remain ill. 407 people have been hospitalized since the beginning of the pandemic, including 63 at this time, the first reduction in that number since October 1. The number remains the  highest it has been during the pandemic, with the exception of the previous two days.

An additional death was reported, of a person between the ages of 65 and 74, bringing the total deaths to 90 since the beginning of the pandemic. Benchmarks are due to be updated today, but have not been updated as of this report. The Board of Health meets tonight, after two weeks. The 11pm closure of bars and restaurants is set to expire tonight, giving the board a pivotal and difficult decision to make given recent data and political pressure.

University of Tennessee Active Cases 10.14.2020 (Source: University of Tennessee)

University of Tennessee News:

The University of Tennessee is reporting 62 active cases, adding only two students and one staff member to yesterday’s totals. The number has been remarkably consistent – and low – since the end of September. 1,567 students and staff have recovered and five new cases were reported (some obviously rolled off the “active” list).

The number of students and staff in quarantine or isolation continues its slow increase, which began on October 4, though the number remains extremely low relative to the previous peak. 341 students and staff are currently isolated or quarantined, up from 296 the day before. It’s the largest number since September 27.

No clusters have been reported since the ROTC cluster mentioned yesterday.

Knox County Schools News:

The Knox County School System is not reporting this week, as students are on fall break (hopefully observing the five core principals).


  1. I just got back from early voting at Meridian Church in South Knoxville. The line was wrapped around the building. People in line were all wearing masks, but were standing too close together. Inside the church, we were packed into a long hallway where I felt very uncomfortable even though most people were masked. One of the poll workers had a face shield on with NO mask, so that was not safe. I can’t beleive they allowed her to wear only the face shield, which is against guidelines. There were too many people crammed into the small room so there was no way to social distance. The two machines that read the paper ballots were right next to each other with no separation. I believe this could possibly be a super-spreader event. They did no sanitize the pens they passed out between people and no hand sanitizer was available that I could see. We brought our own pens because we figured this would be the case. I hope other early voting locations are better. I won’t go back to this one in the future if we still have COVID around.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      That is very discouraging. We’ll vote downtown, which I hope is better than what you just described.

    • Your concerns about the early voting site are troubling. You need to express your concerns to Knox County Election Commission (215-2480). The Election Commission works very hard to ensure that guidelines are followed and even provides gowns, gloves, and masks to workers at the elections. I worked at the August election (on election day) and was impressed with how well the guidelines were followed, even though we were swamped with a large turnout. (We did have workers who were assigned to be “monitors” to “direct traffic,” including reminding voters about guidelines if necessary.) I am concerned that Dr. Buchanan said that masks are encouraged but not required. I would like for the Board of Health to make that a requirement at their meeting tonight, although I am sure Mayor Jacobs would object.

    • Should wait a few days. You should expect first day to be crowded.

    • I have requested that the Knox County Board of Health require masks at voting sites. I made this request to the Health Department (by phone and e-mail) and to the Knox County Board of Health (by message on their website: I already got a response from the new citizen rep on the Board of Health saying she was not aware that masks were not required at voting sites and my points were valid. I also sent a message to the Knox County Election Commission (conveyed by e-mail to Chris Davis, administrator of election), detailing all the concerns (including masks and signage) and giving some suggestions of how some of these concerns might be addressed.

    • BTW, part of the training for election workers is about sanitizing the pens after they are used. We did this consistently at the August election at the site where I worked.

    • Get over it and vote.

    • You know, you might be onto something. Requiring masks at polling stations while the oversized Oompa Loompa is simultaneously convincing people that voting by mail won’t work may be all we need to secure our future. It’s like municipal Darwinism. Brilliant thinking.

  2. The line at Down Town West A stretch to the other end of that parking lot

  3. Alan, I am glad you have gotten the “little urbans” involved in voting. Do they make their own decisions or ask your advice about who to vote for? 🙂 I work at the elections and having kids come in brightens our busy day, not only because it is encouraging to see new generations being socialized into this civic role but also because they tend to be a lot cuter than the voters of older generations!

  4. concerned parent 2 says

    Very disappointed that public workers aren’t required to model overkill on the side of safety when engaging in riskier behavior like being close to hundreds of people. A coordinated effort between government agencies looks impossible.

    This, with our state and county’s merely trying to mitigate any explosion of cases while essentially permitting interminable 6-9% positive rates and poor contact tracing/compliance means no end is in sight until a genuinely effective vaccine is created and dispensed. So glad we have leaders…

    • There was an older woman who was helping with placing the ballots in the ballot reader and she had on a full jump suit, gloves and a mask. I wish they all were dressed like her. I’m also glad the voter turnout was so large today on the first day of early voting.

  5. Bob Fischer says

    The bar closure may be difficult to extend because of the political pressure, but the data clearly supports it. The spikes we saw throughout August and September coincide with crowds at the local late night bar scene. Remember, no spreader event sits in a vacuum of the community at large. Folks contracting the virus go to school, and work, and church, and the gym and the grocery store. The spikes we’re seeing now (football and commission spikes, the two big causal events) are both encouraging and scary. Football is encouraging in that for the extra number of people it brought out and into the streets, the spike was expected and manageable. This weekend will show the Missouri ripple and hopefully give us a working plan for football for the rest of the season. The commission meetings were less encouraging. Despite the relatively small number of people, the fact that an unmasked small group of folks can make the measurable impact they did is concerning. Clearly testing is tied to these events and the increased testing surrounding these events would seem to show that the idea that this virus is a hoax is dying out. Establishing a causal relationship between numerical reporting of data and spreader events does not mean we understand all the implications of the cause/effect relationship, it just means we’ve established the relationship. There is a pretty easy way to cross-check this info, take the spikes and go back two weeks. There is a three day window that should take into account margin of error, and look at what was going on two weeks prior to the spike. Hospitalizations seem to follow at a 6-8 week time frame and deaths 8-10. Knowing that a number works can be derived from observing numbers and correlating them to behavior, knowing why they work is why folks get degrees in statistics , public psychology and epidemiology. I suspect the rude awakening that one’s views on the danger of this virus and the reality that one was involved in a spreader event either as a participant or in direct contact with a participant and now doesn’t feel so well may well explain our erratic test numbers. In other words, our test rates are probably tied to the number of folks getting this disease. Time will tell. Raw data explains much and little at the same time. If it was me, I would skip going to commission meetings.

    The bar curfew is showing in UT numbers. There is one holdout on the Strip and I noticed one of their doorman/managers in a rather spirited discussion with a policeman backed up with a rather large contingent of back-up last Friday. I do not know the outcome of that discussion. As to the rest of the Strip activity, late night activity is way down (I’d guess over 85%) after 11:00 and mask use is trending upward slowly. One negative aspect of the curfew is that it must be county-wide in order to not single out the strip, which was clearly the biggest part of the problem, and that even businesses that were not considered hotspot spreader risks were also affected.

    One final note on the study of numbers. It is not as important that a number be 100% accurate as it is that the means of deriving the number be consistent. Using my survey as an example, it is not important that I get the specific name of a business on any given night as it is to recognize and compare trends. We are not as concerned about where any single case of covid is at 11:00 as we are whether or not an avenue of easy transmission exists. That is why the relationship between the commission meetings and the corresponding spike is so frightening. It is one thing to impose a curfew on all bars and note the corresponding community effect, it is quite another to have a specific, small, unmasked, targeted event have the effect that the commission meetings had on the spread of covid in our community. We are still early in this disease. It still is less than a year old and its long term effects are still unknown.

    Regardless of whether or not you believe the commission meetings are behind their corresponding spike, please be aware that the relationship exists and that it may be prudent to take it into consideration when assessing risk management in any public situation. Cause/effect numbers are starting to line up in new cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

  6. I spent 2 hours in line at Love Kitchen today. It was an absolutely wonderful experience. The black community was out in full, all in masks, with a fabulous sound system playing 70s dance music. They handed out flavored bottles of water. It was fun and I met some new friends. When we finally made our way inside, some of us were chastised by the workers for not being far enough apart and were forced to move apart to the X’s on the floor. They were all wearing masks and face shields and gloves. There was hand sanitizer on a table prior to walking in the room and hand sanitizer on our way out – right next to the sticker that said we voted. I highly (and I mean HIGHLY) recommend going to the Love Kitchen. Because it’s all about love anyway.

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