Mayor Jacobs owes us all a comprehensive, evidence- and science-based plan that describes in great detail how any deconfinement will work. With the CDC saying that the transmission rate of this virus is 5.7 and that up to 25% of people may be asymptomatic, it is too dangerous to go cold turkey back to how things were before the lockdowns. Instead he should extend the lockdown which the science clearly supports. If he does not, he owes us an explanation - based upon public health science - as to why he prematurely removes the lockdown.

Mayor Jacobs must lead by following the science on deconfinement before the probable bumpy glide path back to normal begins.

Our model says the over 4,000 cases we have in the state of Tennessee right now could have been sparked by as a few as 10 patients six weeks ago," Melinda Buntin, a Vanderbilt health policy professor, said Friday. "So it doesn't take many of those 4,000 cases out there going to Easter Sunday services and the like to spark a huge resurgence in cases across the state of Tennessee."

If normal means stuff like doing shots hunkered down elbow-to-elbow at the bar or packing people in by the hundreds at places of worship or by the thousands at football games then normal ain't gunna happen for a while. If it does it will get many people, including frontline caregivers - EMT's, firefighters, nurses, doctors and cops - killed.

Why does Jacobs owe us a science-based plan? The legitimate concern that Jacobs is considering such a critical - and deadly - unforced error of prematurely reopening in contrast to prevailing public health professional opinion is informed by his actions and statements. He has yet to call a state of emergency in Knox county, the only large TN metropolitan county not to do so. He has yet to wear a mask in public. His statements, such as those made in his weekly address of 3/20, suggest that he has fallen into the false choice trap of having to select an "either/or" option of economic versus public health.

World wide we are seeing mass layoffs manufacturing giants are pausing production keep in mind those plants can’t just be turned back on.

On March 30th Jacob's stated that he hopes that county businesses can open before April 30th. Beyond his clear signaling, the context in which he is making his statements is important as well. His disposition aligns with the misinformed chatter in conservative libertarian circles about getting back to normal. Dangerous chatter like that of Casey Mulligan, a University of Chicago professor formerly chief economist for Mr. Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers who said that efforts to shut down economic activity to slow the virus would be more damaging than doing nothing at all.

Statements such as these are incredibly dangerous and deny the seriousness of our situation. Economic depression is here to stay, regardless of how many perish. The question now is the duration of depression and how devastating it becomes. The question is - will Mayor Jacobs create a dire situation similar to that at Liberty University or will he work with other leaders to create a sensible situation more like that in Veneto, Italy?

We respect the gravity of his position and that he understands that people will be "wounded financially, emotionally and spiritually." In light of the seriousness we urge him to reveal a comprehensive, evidence- and science-based plan that details how deconfinement will work. Many lives depend upon it.

Deconfinement Plans Reading List

Tonya Lewis in Scientific American - When Can We Lift the Coronavirus Pandemic Restrictions? Not Before Taking These Steps

NYT Magazine - Restarting America Means People Will Die. So When Do We Do It?

Center for American Progress - A National and State Plan To End the Coronavirus Crisis

American Enterprise Institute - National coronavirus response: A road map to reopening

WaPo - J. Alexander Navarro and Howard Markel
 To save lives social distancing must continue longer than we expect

Harvard Safra Center for Ethics - COVID-19 Response White Papers

bizgrrl's picture

Exactly! Thank you.

Exactly! Thank you.

R. Neal's picture

An antibody test could

An antibody test could be an interim stopgap. If you have a certified positive test for antibodies and a negative covid test you can go back to work. Although, there are reports of relapses. More science needed.

Also, people are going to look at the total numbers and the declines in reported cases and say, see, this was a media fueled overreaction - the risk is too small to worry about. Unfortunately, they won't take into account the unprecedented response that kept them safe and lowered the risk.

Mike Knapp's picture

antibody serology & infection testing 1st order conditions

It would be massively irresponsible to begin a decompression of the lockdown until we have a better sense of who has been and who is infected. Right now it is simply too large of a black box to go back to normal. Trudeau is telling Canadians that they’re looking at at least a year from now to get back to normal. That is the kind of responsible leadership we need at local & other levels of government moving forward. The federal and state governments would do best to simply pay people their wages to stay at home until test/trace/treat, therapeutics and vaccines can be ramped up. Meanwhile perhaps also the local governments with their health departments can begin to assemble apps that people can use to disclose infection rates at the local level without invading privacy.

We are the authors of our fate.

fischbobber's picture

Being an active citizen.

It is important to follow and comment on your Representatives and Senators facebook pages. Expound. These guys are taking a short-sighted narrow view of this situation. If we don't provide a check, thousands will die because we elected lazy, unethical people devoid of integrity. Hit fair and hard.


JR01's picture

April 30th is definitely ambitious.

But I’m sorry, there is actually no way this is going to drag out as long as some people are saying. My best guess is things will be back to normal around the middle of June, but this isn’t going to persist for another 18 months or something ridiculous like that. That’s just fear mongering.

Treehouse's picture

Please cite

your sources. Unless like Trump you point at your head and says "these metrics,"

JR01's picture

Other countries

China had the virus first in November (even though they tried to cover it up for almost two months.) and they are starting to ease restrictions now. That’s been about five months. We’ve probably realistically had it since January, so in about five months it’ll be the middle of June. I’m just going off of how restrictions are easing elsewhere, which is really the best way to measure these things. Either way, if it is a little longer, say July or August, the sky is still above us and not falling any time soon. No matter what clickbait articles like to say.

AC's picture

We can only hope that you are

We can only hope that you are correct, JR01. However, China also went on dramatic lockdown to control the spread of the virus. The United States has reported 7x the number of cases compared to China, and nearly 7x as many deaths. And our daily rate of new cases is more than the daily rate in China, all of the countries in Europe, and Iran and Turkey combined. Most of these countries have taken more stringent measures that the US as well. Some believe that China may be relaxing its restrictions too soon and there will be a resurgence. Hopefully they are wrong. The truth is that no one really knows for certain, and its prudent to be cautious and not set unreasonable expectations before there is widely available antibody testing and, ultimately, a vaccine.

JR01's picture

You’re absolutely right,

You’re absolutely right, about being prudent and cautious. And I am aware that we can’t look only at China and follow their example, especially since their state media is who is publishing their results, and you can’t trust basically... anything that they broadcast. I think the best country to emulate patterns from would be Italy, since they’re the country that’s known to have had the virus the second longest. Either way, this virus isn’t a plague and we don’t need to pretend like it is. We just need to lay low until the cases are almost gone, then wait another month or so for good measure.

Factchecker's picture

What is your definition of plague?

My Mac dictionary states: A contagious disease that spreads rapidly and kills many people.

South Korea seems to be doing the best with both testing and flattening their curve.

Also, without a vaccine or these other measures, you realize that waiting even an extra month and then ending SD will then just resume the same growth rate of infection?

JR01's picture

A disease that kills at least 10% of the human population alone

Not accurate. Antibodies and herd immunity will greatly decrease the amount of people infected. Just like virtually every other virus. If you wanna stay home for 18 months, nobody is stopping you but I sure as hell am not.

R. Neal's picture

Thanks for the warning. And

Thanks for the warning. And thanks for doing your part to spread herd immunity. Lick every doorknob you see.

Factchecker's picture

Your freedom to behave foolishly puts everyone's health at risk

Thanks for putting your ignorant perspective in full view. You show why a relatively small number of Dunning-Kruger afflicted cult members have empowered Donald Trump and are responsible for our country having so many more cases of this disease than every other developed country in the world.

JR01's picture

Awfully bold to compare me to a trump supporter.

I’ve been staying home except to go to the grocery store and to go on runs. All I’m saying is that there is no reason to stay home for longer than we have to, much less 18 months. Name one other epidemic we’ve had where that has been necessary for that long. You can’t. Because it isn’t necessary.

Factchecker's picture

I’ve been staying home except

I’ve been staying home except to go to the grocery store and to go on runs. All I’m saying is that there is no reason to stay home for longer than we have to, much less 18 months. Name one other epidemic we’ve had where that has been necessary for that long. You can’t. Because it isn’t necessary.

I didn't make any claims or observations about your quarantine behavior. Thanks for doing the right thing and for not being a Trump supporter, if I presumed wrong there. (I now presume that means you'll vote for the only alternative on the ballot if you want to remove him from office.) Your reasoning is faulty, though. Time doesn't matter to viruses. When it's safe, it will be safe and we will know from scientific processes via scientists. Not from "smart, independent voters" who rely on their own "common sense," and then pre-select a round date off the calendar.

You are also sort of correct: there has not ever been anything like this, at least in the modern era. That's why it's different, and thus why we must respond differently from all the other viruses, which were not mass-threatening. That's the difference.

bizgrrl's picture

When it's safe, it will be

When it's safe, it will be safe and we will know from scientific processes via scientists. Not from "smart, independent voters" who rely on their own "common sense," and then pre-select a round date off the calendar.

Well said.

Factchecker's picture


It's the same syndrome that the GOP has successfully instilled over at least the last 50 years to get people to deny climate change, elect ignorant patsies, cut social programs while cutting taxes on those at the top, sell guns to the distraught masses, etc. The war on expertise.

Hope y'all are getting some peace, enjoyment, and safety in these times.

JR01's picture

As far as my vote this November, that depends on the VP

Because there’s a high probability Joe will be unable to finish a term. Due to his age and demonstrated deteriorating mental state. And I have a terrible feeling he’s gonna pick Clinton as the VP. That’s about what I would expect judging from the last election. And I’m honestly shocked the DNC hasn’t learned their lesson from last time. It’s like they’re throwing the election on purpose. I have enough of a moral compass not to vote for Trump, but I’m already having a very hard time justifying voting for Biden, and it’s gonna be even harder if I see more riggery. It is right to be cautious about this virus, but being pessimistic and cowering in fear as if this is truly the end of times isn’t going to help us get through this any faster.

bizgrrl's picture

Too funny. Can't imagine what

Too funny. Can't imagine what you read to think Biden will choose Clinton. Just trying to come up with an excuse to get Trump elected again?

Do you not understand what happened in 2016?

JR01's picture

I understand exactly what happened in 2016.

The DNC/moderate democrats threw themselves behind an unexciting, arrogant moderate full of skeletons in their closet and banked their campaign solely on name recognition. Shockingly, the same thing is happening in 2020, and they think it’s gonna work this time. All the while alienating people who are upset by their nominees not winning by just condescendingly telling them to get over themselves and vote for the unexciting, arrogant moderate full of skeletons in their closet (factchecker) It’s a terrible strategy. It didn’t work in 2000, it definitely didn’t work in 2016, and it sure as hell is not going to work now.

bizgrrl's picture

Good to know you are willing

Good to know you are willing to have Trump for four more years. Very sad.

R. Neal's picture

"The DNC/moderate democrats

"The DNC/moderate democrats threw themselves behind an unexciting, arrogant moderate full of skeletons in their closet and banked their campaign solely on name recognition."

Oh, the irony.

Anyway, I've said a few ktimes in the past couple of years that Trump was going to win again. I said in 2016, and I was right.

I'm not so sure any more. I know you're not, but people are becoming increasingly aware that this administration is a national emergency.

Factchecker's picture

Not even a good attempt

Serious but rhetorical question: Do you think anyone believes you're anything other than a troll? It doesn't matter if you try to pretend you're a Bernie bro, or if you admit you're a Trumpanista or Putin operative. Either way your narrative reeks of a propaganda troll. You can't be helped.

JR01's picture

In 2016 I was for Bernie.

In 2016 I was for Bernie. Then in 2020 I was for Warren. Then she dropped out so I was for Bernie. I was hoping the Democrats avoided the same mistake they made in 2016, but I was disappointed yet again. Not a troll at all, just in touch with the majority of young left-leaning people. This is clearly a forum of people who are oblivious to what happened in 2016. Picking a shitty nominee once again is going to bite us in the ass.

Mike Knapp's picture


Then explain to us under what conditions, when it makes sense, whatever, to not vote for the Democrat this year.

fischbobber's picture

Look around dude.

I'll be 61 in June. I'm a 42 year teamster, so I really don't feel like arguing esoteric bull ( I'm fixing to get myself in trouble with my language in several venues, here included so I will attempt to switch gears) garbage. It's the end of April and you're making broad assumptions about the state of the plague and its casualties come October. I'm clearly not as smart as you, but I have opinions.

Right now, policy is king. I am essential. That means every day I wake up and wonder if today is the day I start the fourteen day countdown to death. Then I go about my day, trying to make sure that today isn't that day, and, while I've got the clorox wipe in my hand, I may as well wipe down these door handles. You never know. A clustergrope is fixing to happen.

Point being, come November, there's no telling what's going to be happening. If we don't get pensions done before the election, they won't get done. More on this later.

If you want to win elections, go convince people to vote for you.

Factchecker's picture

Okay, here I go

Why was the '16 Dem nominee "shitty"? I might remind you that person won by almost 3 million votes, and in spite of much meddling by The NY Times, James Comey, and Vladimir Putin (your boss).

Roger Fleenor's picture

The ersatz Republicans threw

The ersatz Republicans threw themselves behind an unhinged, arrogant Neo-Fascist, swindler, pimp and human trafficker full of skeletons in his closet and banked their campaign solely on name recognition. It worked in 2016

Treehouse's picture

Hillary was right!


Factchecker's picture

So, yeah, I'll stick with the sociopath because... Hillary!

Your inability to put coherent logic together is at least consistent. Thanks for outing yourself here.

Mike Knapp's picture

We need to talk about what back to normal means

For example: in what context would Neyland stadium be "safe" to fill with 100,000+ ppl, in which context would it be risky, in which context would it be mass-murder like setting off a massive bio-bomb?

I could possibly see having SEC conference play being safe when:

  • county level R0 of the home and visitors teams being below 1
  • all public schools have testing capabilities for quick test/trace/isolate of student age kids who are basically carriers
  • massively scaled up testing at walk-in clinics
  • massively scaled up contact tracing apps
  • high confidence serological tests which have exceedingly high specificity/small range of false positive
  • everyone wears masks in spaces like a stadium
  • stadium checks temps at entrance

April 30th is hopefully clearly ambitious, saying so begs the question why that date is and under what conditions a later date would be less so.

Mayor Jacobs owes us a detailed evidence- and science-based plan for under which conditions the lockdowns are relaxed.

Factchecker's picture


China, however, is not back to normal with respect to either restrictions on movement or Covid-19 infections.

Factchecker's picture

A more likely normal?

There are plans out there for how life will be till there's a good vaccine, and they're all pretty scary. Basically limited returns to social life, based on heavy surveillance tracking/tracing and repeated testings. Unless people submit to both, they need to social distance until they get a vaccine, a long ways off, if ever.

jbr's picture

Knox County cases by zip code

Seems to be in biggest concentration of businesses ...

From most cases to least ..
1) 37919
2) 37923
3) 37922
4) 37920, 37934, 37932, 37917
5) 37931
6) 37849
Rest do not have any cases

Knox County Case Count

Mike Knapp's picture

as you know this is an incomplete picture

until we have testing on a much larger scale before we can have confidence about heat maps and such. It's great that Mayor Jacobs has helped the KC health department pay for testing up to this point but more funding is needed to get us to scale before we relax lockdowns. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA head, has upped his estimate for idealized testing to 3.8 million per week averaging to 76,000 per week per state. Knox county has conducted 3,587 tests since it began. 1 in 4 people don't show symptoms.

Treehouse's picture

And then it comes back!?

Mike Knapp's picture

South Korean CDC - it does not come back, beware false positives

The false positives were getting a PCR hit for the sections of the viral strands that the tests look for. But when they tried to take whatever it was that was testing positive they were not able to grow the virus again in culture.

Findings from investigation and analysis of re-positive cases

From the 285 re-positive cases, a total of 790 contacts were identified (351=family; 439=others). From the monitoring of contacts, as of now, no case has been found that was newly confirmed from exposure during re-positive period alone.

jbr's picture

Knox County Cases by zip code (April 16 data)

37919 21
37923 18
37922 16
37920, 37921 15
37917, 37932 13
37934 12
37931 8
37849, 37918, 37916, 37909 7
The remaining zip codes have no cases as of most recent data provided by Knox Co

Interesting that the zip codes below have no cases, but are surrounded by areas
that have cases (See Knox County Cases map for Data As of April 16)

37901, 37902, 37915, 37912

Knox County Case count

Mike Knapp's picture

Does anybody know why the feds are

blocking and confiscating PPE headed to states? Seems sorta fashisty... Perhaps all the trump libertarians could share some thoughts on this phenomenon.

After receiving my assurances and hearing about our health system’s urgent needs, the agents let the boxes of equipment be released and loaded into the trucks. But I was soon shocked to learn that the Department of Homeland Security was still considering redirecting our PPE. Only some quick calls leading to intervention by our congressional representative prevented its seizure. I remained nervous and worried on the long drive back, feelings that did not abate until midnight, when I received the call that the PPE shipment was secured at our warehouse.

Mike Daugherty's picture

Mayor Jacob's needs to listen

Mayor Jacob's needs to listen and learn from Mayor Kincannon. His attitude and leadership does not make sense. His mindless libertarian political philosophy is getting in the way of doing what is best for the health of Knox County residents. He needs to follow the advice of medical and science experts. He is not qualified to make life and death medical decisions based on his limited background and experience. He needs to be logical and listen to experts and admit he is unqualified as far as making decisions about public health. A good leader knows his/her strengths and admits and recognizes when they are not qualified and need help and advice from experts. Obviously, his leadership skills are lacking and his bad judgement could mean
the difference in life or death of many.

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