COVID-19: Special Message

This post will be short and there will be no photographs or fancy charts. Just me and you getting real about where we are.

I’m growing very weary of all the arguments that the illness isn’t serious. I’m so tired from arguing that the numbers are inflated because hospitals make more money, that the numbers are inflated because people want Trump to lose the election, that the illness isn’t that serious unless you are in your 80s and live in a nursing home, it’s only the flu, more people have died from the flu than from COVID, that doctors are lying on death certificates, that we should simply ignore it and open up to business as usual, that masks don’t do any good, that there are cures that are being ignored by the media, that the media is being alarmist to get clicks and on it goes.

I’m told that case numbers don’t matter – only hospitalizations. Until hospitalizations get worse and I’m told they don’t matter – only deaths (because these are probably people who came to the hospital for one thing, but were “diagnosed” with COVID when they got there), but deaths don’t matter because people were old, sick already or there really aren’t that many of them. I’m told I should be focused on testing until that looks bad and then I’m told it is positivity rate that matters, but then that doesn’t matter, either.

I spent a large amount of time arguing on FB yesterday about whether the chart I used as the picture for the post was misleading my readers intentionally. It was the chart of cases from the Knox County Health Department – which was fine until it didn’t look as favorable to the narrative that none of this is a big deal.

Here is reality:

  • At least 42.6 million people have become ill across the world
  • At least 1.2 million people have died across the world
  • At least 8,756,000 Americans have become ill.
  • At least 229,000 Americans have died.
  • At least 229,000 Tennesseans have become ill.
  • At least 3,076 Tennesseans have died of the illness.
  • At least 12, 343 County residents have had the illness.
  • At least 99 Knox County residents have died, half of them not of an age where most of us would want to die.

So, why am I writing this today? Because it is getting worse. It is not about to go away. We have not turned any recognizable corner. And yet, bars were packed last night, parking lots and garages downtown were hopping, and people are tired of staying in and wearing masks. And because:

  •  For the third consecutive day, yesterday, a pandemic record number of cases was set at 490,026 new cases.
  • The pace of deaths across the world is increasing, now sitting at 5,742 people per day
  • The U.S. set a record for a single day yesterday with 81,210 new cases.
  • U.S. daily deaths are increasing once more and are currently at 805 per day.
  • Tennessee set a record yesterday with 3,606 cases for the day.
  • Tennessee set a single-day record yesterday with 65 deaths.
  • Hospitalizations are at or near their highest levels in many places, including Tennessee and Knox County.
  • Today Knox County reported 191 new cases – its third worst single-day number.

And, honestly, there is a personal reason as a dear friend, who is 41 years old and seemed to be recovering from his case of COVID-19, suddenly got worse and is now in an ICU. It’s another step in making it real and personal to me.

The only point of this article is to say, please take this seriously. Please take care of yourself and your family. I know we are all tired of this – tired of masks, of not seeing friends and family, of not traveling. But that does not matter. Not at all. We have a hard few weeks or months ahead of us and if we relax, say it is over, keep up the useless arguments over details, more of us will die than would otherwise be the case. And it may be more personal for a lot of us than simple numbers on a page.