Roy Exum: 12 Deaths? No, 2

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Late Sunday afternoon I was cruising across the Internet, trying to get a pulse on the current state of the COVID pandemic, and I was thrilled to discover there is a noticeable lull in what has been a very aggressive onslaught of the coronavirus in Tennessee and in Hamilton County. For instance, in Hamilton County we have had a 37.55 % decrease in cases over the last seven days and a 71.4% decline in deaths, both figures per every 100,000 people

My figures are solid, both confirmed by the Centers for Communicable Diseases and Control (CDC) dashboard and the USA Today dashboard. But then I read a report generated by our Hamilton County Health Department that announced we had 12 more deaths on Sunday, “It was the most deaths in one day from COVID in Hamilton County since 12 died on Dec. 8.” I jumped to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Dashboard and … presto! … it perfectly illustrated that much of the confusion in dealing with the coronavirus is a lack of communication.

Eight of those deaths that were reported on Monday actually died during the first 10 days of January but because they passed away in an assisted living facility or in a private home, there deaths were not reported to the health department in a timely manner. This takes place in many cities as well as rural counties and, as well as in other areas of a pandemic we’ve never faced before, there are varying numbers based on the sources each “dashboard” uses.

Allow me to share some communication tips:

* * *


* -- For Hamilton County (TN), the best website is (You need to remember “Hamilton County” is the name of ten counties in the United States of America, eight of them named for Alexander Hamilton, first United States Secretary of the Treasury.) The Health Department posts the number of positive, negative, and total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) test results for Hamilton County each day between 2-4 p.m..

Additionally, the website is updated throughout the day, particularly if vacancies become available at sites during the day.. Hamilton County now has a functional “hot line” call center at 423/209-8383. Due to a high demand of calls, there has Vaccination Appointment Call Center that is now available Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. The appointment number is 423-209-5399. If you hear a busy signal, hang up and call again. If there are no appointments available, you will hear a recording with further instructions.

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There is a wonderful website at that offers a wealth of information. For those wishing to make appointments to take the vaccine at any one of 95 Tennessee’s counties, please go to the website and the directions are easy to follow, virtually every question is answered, and at 7 p.m. last night, there had been 274,550 doses of the vaccine given. Of that number, 115,186 have been administered the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. It is believed that two weeks after the second dose is administered, the recipient has a 95 percent chance of shielding the disease.

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The newspaper USA TODAY has a fabulous COVID Dashboard at Due to their extensive network and eye to detail, this is a must stop every day. These folks do a great job with Washington logistics, exposing then flattening the bumps in the road, and presenting a clear picture of what is universally regarded as a mess.

* * *


Mayo Clinic’s greatest gift – trust me, I know – is presenting any disease in a way that any of us can not only understand it but can face it and deal with it. This dashboard is a treasure. Look at Understand, Mayo’s gives a national view yet in reality the COVID-19 virus is the same in South Dakota, south Texas, and South Carolina.

* * *

“THE C.D.C.” Our nation’s prized Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered long ago that infectious disease could care less if you are male or female, the ethnicity, your social standing, your political beliefs, and your religious beliefs mean not a thing. Since March of last year --- call it ‘ten months’ if you will – the coronavirus has killed 425,036 Americans. By its one-year anniversary the thinking is 600,000 dead. My mercy. So, as we continue to mask, we keep our distance and wash our hands, we’ve never seen anything to this equal. The CDC dashboard has been triumphant in keeping the results from worse.

* * *

I AM A BIG BELIEVER in Johns Hopkins, the medical marvel of an oasis in Baltimore, and last spring, when the gravity of the pandemic, startled all of us, Johns Hopkins pulled the trigger on the greatest data site in American’s history. Their scientists and information engineers have proven to be a Godsend and the fact every country around the world focuses on is cause for a chest-beating prize.

* * *

DO NOT be bashful nor harbor any fears. Read from any of the aforementioned sites and you’ll find practical ideas that make sense.

* -- Wash your hands with soap and hot water

* -- Distance … always over 6 feet if you can.

* -- Mask so much so often you’ll want to brush your teeth 3 times a day.

And then, what I dare try to do, is “Let go and let God.”

I sleep like a champ.




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