Davidson County has a plan for reopening the city from COVID-19. This plan uses a number of data points including the status of transmission rate, 14-day new case trend, public health capacity, testing capacity, and the number of regular hospital beds and ICU beds.
However, a key metric that is missing from the county’s reopening plan is mortality rate.
Davidson County’s “Reopening Key Metrics” page is available here.
The website says it is updated multiple times per day, but that does not extend to reporting how many have died.
If you want to learn how many people have died of the disease in Davidson County, head over to the Tennessee Unified Command COVID-19 page, which has a county-by-county map and an abundance of statistics. The page, available here, reports 164 deaths in Davidson County. The county has had 15,342 positive cases and 129,757 negative cases.
You can find out the number of deaths from the city, but that is on a different webpage, not the page that deals with reopening. It is available here.
The mortality rate is calculated by dividing the number of deaths by the number of confirmed cases, Johns Hopkins University of Medicine says.
Dividing the Unified Command’s 164 deaths by 15,342 case rate yields a mortality rate of 1.07. That puts the city far below the national rate of 3.9 percent and more in line with the nations of Venezuela, Australia, Cabo Verde and Saudi Arabia, all of which have mortality rates of 1.0, according to Johns Hopkins. The United States does not place anywhere near the highest mortality rate — the “distinction” of the highest rate goes to Yemen, with a 28.2 percent mortality rate.
Davidson County has been on a “Modified Phase II” reopening plan since July 3, according to a city webpage here called “Roadmap for Reopening Nashville.” The page lists the restrictions, such as stores operating at three-quarters capacity and no gatherings of over 25 people.
Among the things Metro Nashville does choose to reveal on its “Reopening Key Metrics” page, the transmission rate as of Thursday was 1.2. A rate of 1.0 is the goal, with more than 1.0 meaning the virus is spreading and a rate of less than 1.0 means the spread is slowing.
Could the lack of mortality data be tied to a lack of testing data? That is not the case.
The website says their goal is to conduct 4,667 tests per week. Last week, they had tested 14,816 people.
The goal is to have 20 percent of ICU beds available; currently, 17 percent are available. However, the website does not say how much capacity COVID-19 patients are taking.
That is similar to the situation with regular hospital beds: 18 percent capacity is available, and the goal is 20 percent capacity. The website does not tell how many of those patients have COVID-19.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.