Areas of Tennessee are preparing for a possible second wave of COVID-19 as Congress contemplates a second wave of stimulus checks.
Metropolitan areas of the Volunteer State, such as nearby Chattanooga, have seen an uptick of COVID-19 cases as high as 7% in the last 10 days, according to a report from the New York Times. The article highlighted Chattanooga as a top-five city, with the highest average daily growth rate of cases doubling every 10 days.
Presidential advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that a second wave of the virus is avoidable, though.
“It’s getting better and better. I’m feeling better about it as the weeks go by," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a lead member of President Donald Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force, said on CNN.
“We often talk about the possibility of a second wave. It could happen, but it is not inevitable if we do the kinds of things that we’re putting in place now to have the (CDC) workforce, the system and the will to do the kinds of things that are the clear and effective — identification, isolation and contact tracing, Fauci said.”
He said preventing the second wave will require strong and accurate processes for all three of those systems, but large crowds emerging in state reopenings may promise a second wave anyway. He said the effects may not be immediate, further encouraging people to disregard guidelines as they are offered a false sense of security.
“One of the things that the people who are out there frolicking need to realize is that when you do that and you see no negative effect in one week, please don’t be overconfident,” he said. “The effect of spreading is not going to be seen for maybe two, three or even more weeks. That’s the reason why we encourage people to be prudent and take a careful look at the guidelines and to the best extent possible, to follow them.”
Meanwhile, Congress is eyeing a second stimulus package for Americans’ financial security in the event a second wave of the virus threatens another widespread shutdown.
The initial boost provided by the CARES Act offered $1,200 payments to individuals living in the U.S., including $2,400 for couples and an additional $500 per child.
On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the next round of stimulus checks will be the "final" one for Americans, adding that a decision to move forward with the second round of stimulus could take nearly a month. The Republican-led Senate is currently on an extended recess for Memorial Day.
The next stimulus package, the Heroes Act, has already passed the House of Representatives. The $3 trillion bill, compared to the first $2 trillion stimulus package, will need Senate approval before moving forward.
A monthly report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that 38.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in the last 10 weeks. That number is now up to 42 million applications.
Kevin Hassett, White House economic adviser, projected that unemployment could reach 20% this summer. Tennessee is currently sitting at an unemployment rate of 14.7%, with more than 558,621 having filed since mid-March.
Gov. Bill Lee said the success of Tennessee’s reopening of its economy will depend on the social-distancing efforts of Tennesseans.
“We’re able to continue reopening our state thanks to the sustained efforts by Tennesseans to social distance and mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Lee said. “It’s important we continue to take personal responsibility for our health and the health of our neighbors, while recognizing and honoring the need for Tennesseans to get back to work and support their families.”
On Saturday, the TDH reported that 122 individuals in Bradley County had tested positive for COVID-19, since the first local case was announced on March 20. There have been 91 recoveries and one death.
Confirmed case totals for Bradley County neighbors include:
• Grundy: 31 cases, 26 recoveries and 1 death;
• Hamilton: 794 cases, 255 recoveries and 15 deaths;
• Marion: 40 cases, 27 recoveries and 1 death;
• McMinn: 141 cases, 99 recoveries and 14 deaths;
• Meigs: 26 cases, 21 recoveries and 0 deaths;
• Monroe: 62 cases, 44 recoveries and 2 deaths;
• Polk: 16 cases, 13 recoveries and 0 deaths;
• Rhea: 210 cases, 102 recoveries and 0 deaths; and
• Sequatchie: 15 cases, 11 recoveries and 0 deaths;
Counties with Tennessee's highest numbers of cases include:
• Bedford: 283 cases, 236 recoveries and 4 deaths;
• Bledsoe: 607 cases, 604 recoveries and 1 death;
• Davidson: 5,040 cases, 3,439 recoveries and 62 deaths;
• Knox: 375 cases, 314 recoveries and 5 deaths;
• Lake: 414 cases, 405 recoveries and 0 deaths;
• Madison: 175 cases, 156 recoveries and 2 deaths;
• Montgomery: 269 cases, 122 recoveries and 3 deaths;
• Putnam: 479 cases, 223 recoveries and 5 deaths;
• Rutherford: 1,196 cases, 495 recoveries and 23 deaths;
• Shelby: 4,943 cases, 3,349 recoveries and 111 deaths;
• Sumner: 881 cases, 379 recoveries and 45 deaths;
• Trousdale: 1,392 cases, 1,354 recoveries and 4 deaths;
• Williamson: 552 cases, 353 recoveries and 10 deaths; and
• Wilson: 407 cases, 246 recoveries and 8 deaths.
As of Saturday afternoon, Johns Hopkins University reported 103,389 individuals had died as a result of COVID-19 since the virus was first detected in the United States earlier this year. Johns Hopkins is reporting a total of 1,759,725 cases, with 406,446 recoveries.
Globally, nearly 6 million individuals have tested positive for the virus, resulting in 367,097 deaths and 2,533,167 recoveries.