Wednesday update

Health Department Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter started yesterday’s county task force press conference with some news that might not be great, but it offers hope.

  • The 7-day daily new case average is 623 and the 14-day is 638. That’s above the threshold of 450 where we want it to be, but there are signs we are past the Christmas surge, and the numbers have hit a plateau as we enter an expected New Year’s surge. Once the next several days are over and the New Year’s infections past, we’d hope to see that number decline.
  • R-nought, the virus’s replication rate, is 1.03. Growth is therefore still exponential; however, we don’t have far to go to get the rate down to 1 and then below.
  • The positivity rate is above 17%. This statistic doesn’t offer a lot of hope. Above 10% indicates that an insufficient number of people are getting tested, and therefore we are missing cases in the community.

Hospitals have seen some stabilization as well, Dr. H reported. They’re still in the red zone above 90% for ICU and acute care beds. However, they’re no longer up around 97-98%, where a victim of a car accident or heart attack might have to worry about being denied hospital care.

Testing is still abundant and Dr. H encouraged everyone to get tested frequently and know their status.

The health department will make contact tracing the new UK strain of the virus, called B117, the priority when it is discovered in Memphis. The department is also looking at innovations in tech to improve contact tracing.

Shelby County will receive 8900 doses of the vaccine per week through January. For a county with a population of 937,000, that’s really not very much.

County Health Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph encouraged fellow citizens of Shelby County to “remain steadfast” as we enter the last 10 days of Safer at Home. What will happen after it expires at the end of the day Friday, January 22? He and Dr. H said several options are on the table. They could extend the order, they could make some minor tweaks in the restrictions, or they could do a major overhaul of the restrictions. It all depends on individual behavior and the resulting numbers.

From 94.1 The Wolf: While COVID restrictions will make the traditional Soup Sunday inside FedExForum’s concourse impossible, Youth Villages is offering a variety of packages. The first option will allow you to enjoy a Soup Sunday experience at home, while the second will allow you to dine in at one of your favorite restaurants. Participating restaurants for the dine-in experience include

  • Char
  • Silky O’ Sullivan’s
  • Riko’s Kickin’ Chicken
  • Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick
  • Louie’s Deli & Meat Market
  • Amerigo
  • Vanelli’s Deli

Soup Sunday will span the weekend of February 27-28.

Today is National Rubber Ducky Day. Pick one up in the Peabody’s gift shop.

The Grizzlies travel to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves tonight at 7. Catch the game live on Fox Sports Southeast.

Local business Mo’s Bows, founded by 19-year-old entrepreneur Moziah Bridges over a decade ago, is featured in a new GoDaddy commercial.

From Local 24: How will the Shelby County $1000 grants to restaurant employees work?

Ballistic Bingo comes to the Green Beetle tonight at 7. Every bingo winner gets an entry into the monthly drawing for a Yeti beer cooler. Prizes are awarded with every bingo as well.

Donald Trump enters the history books today, as he is set to become the first president to be impeached twice. The question will not be whether the House votes to impeach, but how many House Republicans will join the Deemocrats in voting to bring the articles of impeachment. The earliest the trial could happen in the Senate would be January 19.

Senate Majority Leader (soon to be Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell is pleased the Democrats are bringing articles of impeachment. He believes that a conviction and removal from office, even if technically after the presidential term has ended, will make it easier to purge the Trumpster from the Republican Party. Could that be the beginning of the splinter of the party into conservative and fascist-racist-QAnon-kook wings?

1974: Republican U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater visits Nixon and tells him that he’s doomed, that the Senate will vote to remove the president if he doesn’t resign. McConnell may have a similar conversation with Trump this week. It is possible Biden will be the 47th president, following a few days of Pence?

That’s a wrap. Back tomorrow.