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As COVID-19 slows, TN holds its ground — and its breath

Commercial Appeal Memphis logo Commercial Appeal Memphis 1/22/2021 Rachel Wegner, Memphis Commercial Appeal

Good evening, and welcome to the latest edition of Coronavirus Watch. I'm reporter Rachel Wegner.

In a welcome twist that defies expectations and confuses experts, Tennessee has seen the coronavirus pandemic slow by almost every measurement this month, when most predicted a surge.

Despite this slowdown, the virus remains an ever-present threat across the state. If Tennesseans drop their guard now, they risk erasing the recent progress and returning to the worst days of the virus when hospitals were on the cusp of catastrophic overflow.

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Dr. Lisa Piercey, Tennessee health commissioner, said the unexpected slowdown feels so delicate that she was wary at first to "say it out loud."

“I have been holding my breath for three weeks now, waiting on a post-holiday surge, and I have not seen it,” Piercey said this week. “We are now three weeks from New Year’s, and I think we may miss it. I think we may not have a surge, which is really, really encouraging to me.”

Read more about the latest numbers and what Tennesseans can do to keep safe.

A number to know today: 375,669 — A total of 375,669 Tennesseans have received a COVID-19 vaccine so far, according to CDC data. Of those, around 313,000 received their first does and 62,000 received their second. 

Coronavirus in Tennessee by the numbers:

  • 46,926: Active cases (Up 271 from Thursday)
  • 8,777: Deaths (Up 93 from Thursday)
  • 78: The 7-day average of new hospitalizations
  • 701,847: Total cases reported across the state (Up 4,064 from Thursday)
  • 646,144: Total inactive/recovered cases (Up 6,700 from Thursday)
  • 6.13 million: Total tests (up 27,146 from Thursday)

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This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: As COVID-19 slows, TN holds its ground — and its breath

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