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Tennessee is staying open, but have we flattened the curve? Data says no

Tennessee is staying open, but have we flattened the curve? Data says no (Tennessee Gov)
Tennessee is staying open, but have we flattened the curve? Data says no (Tennessee Gov)
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Gov. Bill Lee said Tennessee is staying open amid 30,000 active COVID-19 cases - but has the state flattened the curve? Data from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine says no.

On Tuesday, Lee confirmed that he's not considering closing businesses again, citing a a stable hospitalization rate and urges to Tennesseans to wear masks.

Tennessee has more than 66,700 COVID-19 cases, with more than 30,000 being active right now. According to a new interactive database released by Johns Hopkins, Tennessee's curve has not been flattened as virus cases are continuing to rise. On Monday, Tennessee reported its highest daily increase with more than 3,300 new cases. The last time new daily COVID-19 cases were well below 1,000 was July 6, with many days well above that number.

In the map above, the redder the background, the bigger the upward trend of new cases in a particular state. The states doing the worst at flattening the curve right now are Florida, Alabama and Louisiana, according to Johns Hopkins graphs.

When the virus first hit Tennessee, the state closed many businesses, socially distanced, reduced the number of infections and let contact tracing root out sources of the infection.

Now the state is open with mask mandates prevailing in many counties, but Lee says the state’s ability to reduce infections depends on Tennesseans to still practice social distancing, wear a mask and seek testing at the first sign of sickness.

The doctors called for a statewide mask mandate, but Lee has said he’s not considering that, instead leaving local mayors the option to make that decision.

Federal guidelines advise that states wait until they experience a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period before proceeding to a phased opening.

The positivity rate in Tennessee has stayed around nine or 10% with relative consistency.

Meanwhile, Nashville is staying a modified Phase Two of reopening. There's not one or two, but several factors why leaders say Nashville won't progress to the next phase of reopening right now. The average daily number of new cases is 335 and the city's transmission rate is 1.2, above the 1.0 threshold. Local hospitals are currently exceeding Metro's hospital capacity requirements. According to data from Nashville COVID-19 Task Force, available hospital beds are at 26 percent capacity and ICU beds are at 28 percent capacity.

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