COVID-19 death rate continues climb

Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Many state officials say spreading of the COVID-19 pandemic is easing but the number of “new deaths,” reported here in 14-day intervals beginning May 11 and ending Aug. 31, is not showing an encouraging trend.
T-G Graphic by Terence Corrigan

The rate at which COVID-19 spread in August in Tennessee was reduced somewhat from July but the number of newly confirmed cases was more than double from what it was in June.

By May 31, there had been 23,006 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Tennessee. By the last day in June that number had climbed to 43,161 — an 87.6 percent increase. By July 31 the total number of confirmed cases had risen to 104,778 and by Aug. 31 it was up to 151,250.

The statistic that does not show any signs of improvment in Tennessee is the number of deaths. Looking back in 14-day intervals from Aug. 31 the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 has been on a steady climb since late June (see accompanying graph).

After a steep climb in July, the number of people hospitalized in August dropped off a bit. The numbers here are reported in 14 day intervals, beginning May 11 and ending Aug. 31.
T-G Graphic by Terence Corrigan

Tennessee was, however, starting to show some improvement on the number of new hospitalizations by mid-August. The peak was the 14 days from from July 21 through Aug. 3 when 1,096 Tennesseans were hospitalized for COVID-19. At the end of August, from Aug. 18 through Aug. 31, 997 Tennesseans were hospitalized for the coronavirus.

The number of new cases statewide every seven days has stayed about the same in the last 21 days.

• Aug. 26 through Aug. 31 — 10,912

• Aug. 19 through Aug. 25 — 9,369

• Aug. 12 through Aug. 18 — 10,863

In Tennessee, there were 43,888 new cases reported from Aug. 5 through Sept. 1. During that same period, there were 622,639 tests conducted. The positivity rate (the percentage of tests that came back positive) was 7 percent.

Bedford County’s stats are looking a little more hopeful. During the month of August (Aug. 1 through Aug. 31) the state reports that there were 253 new confirmed cases in Bedford County. In August there were 12,076 tests performed in Bedford County resulting in very low positivity rate of 2.09 percent.

Thirty-two Bedford County school age children have tested positive for the virus in the 14 days preceding Sept. 1. Bedford County schools are on a break this week. They are scheduled to return to classrooms on Tuesday, the day after Labor Day. Twenty-two of those cases were reported from Aug. 22 though Aug. 27.

The state’s only reporting of COVID-19 in schools consists of the total number of children ages 5 though 18 who’ve tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic and day-to-day how many new cases are found. They do not report whether or not the children are enrolled in public schools.