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After rising 4% last year, the US economy shrank by 3.5% in 2020

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For virus briefings, Biden says he's 'bringing back the pros'

Stuck in the grip of a viral pandemic, in the last three months of 2020, the U.S. economy grew at a 4 percent average pace and shrank last year for the greatest amount in 74 years.

The economy contracted 3.5 percent for 2020 as a whole, a year when the coronavirus inflicted the worst global freeze since the end of World War II, which clouded the forecast for the coming year. Economic damage accompanied the outbreak of the pandemic 10 months ago and the profound slump that it caused, leaving tens of millions of Americans unemployed.

The government’s Thursday report reported that the gross domestic product of the country, its overall production of goods and services, slowed dramatically in the quarter of October-December from a record 33.4 percent growth in the quarter of July-September. A record-shattering 31.4 percent annual dive in the April-June quarter, when the economy sank into a free-fall, accompanied the gain.

The 2021 forecast is hazy. Economists caution that before vaccines are distributed and delivered nationally and government-enacted relief assistance spreads through the country, a process expected to take months, a sustainable recovery would not necessarily take place. Millions of Americans, meanwhile, continue to suffer.

For example, the government announced on Thursday that although unemployment insurance claims declined last week, they stood at a record high 847,000, proof that businesses continue to slash jobs as the pandemic continues to rage. Except after the Great Recession, weekly applicants for jobless assistance had only topped 700,000 until the epidemic exploded in the United States in March.

The stock market continued to grow sharply even though the economy shrank last year, with the S&P 500 index rising 16 percent. A time-tested adage illustrated the difference between the two: the stock market is a forward-looking proxy, with investors based not on the present state of the economy but on expectations for future business earnings and economic health. So, even though the economy collapsed last year, investors looked ahead to expectations for vaccinations and government assistance and high business earnings, especially among tech firms, which led to gains last year.

The pandemic’s blow to the economy early last spring ended almost 11 years of the longest U.S. economic boom on record. In last year’s January-March quarter, the disruption from the virus caused GDP to contract at a 5 percent annual rate. Thousands of firms have since closed down, almost 10 million workers are out of jobs, and more than 400,000 Americans have died of the epidemic.

Thursday’s government survey was the first of last quarter’s three growth estimates; the number will be updated again in the coming weeks. Consumer buying, which accounts for around 70% of the economy, slowed sharply last quarter to a 2.5% annual increase from a 41% increase in the July-September quarter, the survey showed.

Instead, the economy of the last quarter was powered in part by corporate spending and housing, which over the past year has been a star performer, representing record-low mortgage rates and a need for more household rooms. Housing rose at a sizzling 33.5 percent annual pace, at a 13.8 percent rate for company activity. Government spending, however, shrunk last quarter at a 1.2 percent pace. In addition to declining tax revenue, state and municipal governments have begun resorting to layoffs.

The predicted reduction in GDP for 2020 was the first such decrease since the 2.5 percent decline in 2009, during the recession following the financial crisis of 2008. Since the economy shrank 11.6 percent in 1946, when the economy was demobilised during World War II, it was the deepest annual setback.

Former President Donald Trump finished his presidency with GDP averaging average gains of 1 percent over his four years, the GDP study revealed. That was smaller than during the Obama administration’s 1.6 percent average GDP gains, a time that also featured a recession.

When vaccines is commonly available and delivered in the coming months, development is expected to revive. But even then, when customers and companies hunker down and hold back on spending, many Americans will suffer even though the economy is expected to keep rising. Gregory Daco, Oxford Economics chief economist, said he expects inflation to weaken to an annual rate of about 2 percent in the current period.

But for the remainder of this year, Daco foresees a brightening future. His opinion implies the universal use of vaccines, expanded government funding from the ratification by Congress of at least part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus programme, and pent-up spending since the pandemic from a savings accumulation among higher-income households. Also offering some funding is a $900 billion rescue assistance plan that the government passed late last year.

“The rollout of the vaccine is essential,” Daco said. “We will not get any improvement in the economic situation without an improvement in the health situation.”

Daco said he believes an economic recovery will achieve 5 percent annual growth this year. The International Monetary Fund estimated earlier this week that the U.S. economy would expand 5.1 percent this year and 2.5 percent in 2022.

The Federal Reserve took stock of the economic threats on Wednesday. It kept its benchmark interest rate near zero at a historic low and emphasised that once a rebound is well underway, it will continue following its low-rate policies. The Fed agreed that the economy has deteriorated in recent months, with recruitment deteriorating, particularly in industries affected by the raging pandemic, particularly restaurants, bars, hotels and those engaged in public face-to-face contact.

Hiring in the U.S. has slowed for six consecutive months, and for the first time since April, businesses shed employment in December. As the pandemic and cooler conditions have prevented Americans from flying, shopping, eating out or attending entertainment venues, the work market has sputtered. For three consecutive months, retail prices have decreased.

Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi estimates that about 5 million missing U.S. workers will never recover, causing the unemployed to find employment in other markets in such businesses as restaurants and bars.

And several analysts warn that the economy risks succumbing to another recession without further financial assistance from the government. They remember that much of the assistance from the $900 billion programme that was introduced late last year for individuals is due to expire in mid-March.

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Nuggets Podcast: Michael Malone and Tim Connelly talk MPJ, Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic and Nuggets’ upcoming season

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Nuggets Podcast: Michael Malone and Tim Connelly talk MPJ, Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic and Nuggets’ upcoming season

In the first Nuggets Ink podcast of the 2021-22 season, head coach Michael Malone and team president Tim Connelly join beat writer Mike Singer and columnist Mark Kiszla for a discussion before the start of training camp. Among the topics discussed:

  • Where are things at with Michael Porter Jr.’s potential contract extension? Is the team optimistic something can get worked out prior to the season? How has the young forward developed within the Nuggets’ team-first culture? How has Malone’s relationship with Porter grown through the years?
  • How is rehab going for Jamal Murray? Is the team hopeful he will be able to see the floor by the end of the season? What was the scene like in the locker room in the immediate aftermath of Murray’s season-ending ACL injury last spring?
  • What more can be asked of Nikola Jokic after he just submitted the first NBA MVP season in franchise history? What has his mindset been during this offseason? Time to relax or push even harder?
  • How important was it to the team to sign Aaron Gordon to a long-term contract? What did he show Malone and Connelly during his brief time in Denver last spring that convinced them he was an important piece of the Nuggets’ future?
  • What do Malone and Connelly see as the formula to the team’s unprecedented success during the past three seasons? How much of that can be attributed to luck? And how much is it about the franchise’s strong organizational structure?
  • During a live question-and-answer session, one audience member asks: What does Bol Bol have to do to get on the floor more consistently.

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Tennessee grocery store attack: ‘He kept on shooting’

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Store attack: ‘He kept on shooting, shooting, shooting’

By JONATHAN MATTISE

A gunman attacked a grocery store in an upscale Tennessee suburb on Thursday afternoon, killing one person and wounding 12 others before the suspect was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at the store, authorities said.

Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane said the shooting broke out at a Kroger grocery in his suburban community about 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Memphis. He said the gunman shot 13 others and himself, and that 12 of the victims were taken to hospitals, some with very serious injuries.

One Kroger worker, Brignetta Dickerson, told WREG-TV she was working a cash register when she heard what at first she thought were balloons popping.

“And, here he comes right behind us and started shooting,” Dickerson said. “And, he kept on shooting, shooting, shooting. He shot one of my co-workers in the head and shot one of my customers in the stomach.”

Lane said police received a call about 1:30 p.m. about the shooting and arrived within minutes, finding multiple people with gunshots when they entered the building.

He said a police SWAT team and other officers went aisle to aisle in the store to find people who sought cover or were in hiding, taking them to safety. He said the shooter, whom he described as male, was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“We found people hiding in freezers, in locked offices. They were doing what they had been trained to do: run, hide, fight,” the chief said without elaborating.

Dickerson, the employee, said her co-worker, who is in his 20s, was shot in the head and said he wanted his mother to be notified.

“I left her a voicemail that he was alert and talking,” Dickerson said, adding that she was still trying to reach her.

Another employee, Glenda McDonald, described the chaotic scene to WHBQ-TV.

“I was walking back towards the floral department and I heard a gunshot,” she said. “It sounded like it was coming from the deli. And I ran out the front door and they had already shot the front door.”

Lane briefed reporters at the scene afterward, calling it a sad day for his department.

“I’ve been involved in this for 34 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.

The identities of the shooter and the victims were not immediately released. The suspect’s vehicle was in the store’s parking lot and remained there as part of the investigation, the chief said.

He added that investigators were seeking to piece together how the shooting unfolded, adding, “It’s going to take a little bit before we know what happened.”

“Let’s get through the investigation,” Lane said. “Remember, we’re two hours away from the most horrific event that’s occurred in Collierville history.”

Collierville is a growing suburb of more than 51,000 people with a median household income of about $114,000, according to U.S. census figures. Set in a rural and historic area, the town square has largely become known for its boutiques and bed and breakfasts.

Earlier this year, Tennessee became the latest state to allow most adults 21 and older to carry handguns without first clearing a state-level background check and training. The measure was signed into law by Republican Gov. Bill Lee over objections from some law enforcement groups and gun control advocates concerned the measure would possibly lead to more gun violence.

The Kroger Co., based in Cincinnati, Ohio, issued a statement that it was “deeply saddened” by the shooting and was cooperating with law enforcement. The company in 2019 asked its customers not to openly carry guns while visiting its stores.

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Rockies can’t close the deal, lose to Dodgers in 10 innings

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Rockies can’t close the deal, lose to Dodgers in 10 innings

The big stage proved too big for the Rockies.

With a chance to throw a gut punch to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ chance for their ninth straight National League West title, the Rockies blew a 5-3 lead and ultimately lost, 7-5, in 10 innings Thursday afternoon at Coors Field.

With Justin Turner on second base to open the 10th, Max Muncy ripped a two-run homer to center off Rockies’ rookie Lucas Gilbreath. The lefty entered the 10th inning having pitched 17 scoreless outings dating back to Aug. 8. But Muncy ambushed Gilbreath’s first-pitch fastball for his 35th homer of the season.

Colorado took a 5-3 lead in the fifth on a two-run homer by Raimel Tapia off Dodgers ace Max Scherzer and held a lead until the ninth. Tapia’s blast off the second-deck facade in right field was his first home run since May 21. Tapia connected on Scherzer’s full-count cutter.

The Dodgers took two of three games in the crucial series as they attempt to keep pace in the National League West with San Francisco. Los Angeles entered the game trailing the Giants by two games with 10 games left in the season.

L.A. put the Rockies on edge in the eighth against reliever Jhoulys Chacin. Trea Turner tagged Chacin for a single and scored on Pollock’s double, but Chacin got pinch-hitter Will Smith to fly out to center, preserving Colorado’s 5-4 lead.

But in the ninth, the Dodgers tied the game, 5-5, on three consecutive two-out singles off closer Carlos Estevez. Seager’s hard comebacker ricocheted off Estevez’s right leg for a hit, advancing Mookie Betts to second. Estevez, though limping, stayed in the game but gave up the game-tying single to Turner.

Colorado starter Kyle Freeland’s performance wasn’t always pretty, but the lefty hung tough for six innings and he outpitched Scherzer, a leading candidate for the National League Cy Young Award.

Freeland, who engaged in an animated debate with home-plate umpire Ed Hickox over balls and strikes, gave up three runs on eight hits. He walked one and struck out five.

Scherzer entered the game looking invincible, carrying a 7-0 record with 0.78 ERA in nine starts with Los Angeles since he was acquired from the Nationals at the trade deadline. In 58 innings with the Dodgers, he had given up just five earned runs.

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Store attack: ‘He kept on shooting, shooting, shooting’

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Store attack: ‘He kept on shooting, shooting, shooting’

By JONATHAN MATTISE

A shooter attacked a grocery store in an upscale Tennessee suburb on Thursday afternoon, killing one person and wounding 12 others before the shooter was subsequently found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at the store, authorities said.

Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane said the shooting broke out at a Kroger store in his suburban community about 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Memphis. He said the shooter shot 13 others and himself, and that 12 of the victims were taken to hospitals, some with very serious injuries.

One Kroger worker, Brignetta Dickerson, told WREG-TV she was working a cash register when she heard what at first she thought were balloons popping.

“And, here he comes right behind us and started shooting,” Dickerson said. “And, he kept on shooting, shooting, shooting. He shot one of my co-workers in the head and shot one of my customers in the stomach.”

Lane said police received a call about 1:30 p.m. about the shooting and arrived within minutes, finding multiple people with gunshots when they entered the building.

He said a police SWAT team and other officers went aisle to aisle in the store to find people who sought cover or were in hiding, taking them to safety. He said the shooter, whom he described as male, was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“We found people hiding in freezers, in locked offices. They were doing what they had been trained to do: run, hide, fight,” the chief said without elaborating.

Dickerson, the employee, said her co-worker, who is in his 20s, was shot in the head and said he wanted his mother to be notified.

“I left her a voicemail that he was alert and talking,” Dickerson said, adding that she was still trying to reach her.

Another employee, Glenda McDonald, described the chaotic scene to WHBQ-TV.

“I was walking back towards the floral department and I heard a gunshot,” she said. “It sounded like it was coming from the deli. And I ran out the front door and they had already shot the front door.”

Lane briefed reporters at the scene afterward, calling it a sad day for his department.

“I’ve been involved in this for 34 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.

The identities of the shooter and the victims were not immediately released. The suspect’s vehicle was in the store’s parking lot and remained there as part of the investigation, the chief said.

He added that investigators were seeking to piece together how the shooting unfolded, adding, “It’s going to take a little bit before we know what happened.”

“Let’s get through the investigation,” Lane said. “Remember, we’re two hours away from the most horrific event that’s occurred in Collierville history.”

Collierville is a growing suburb of more than 51,000 people with a median household income of about $114,000, according to U.S. census figures. Seet in a rural and historic area, the town square has largely become known for its boutiques and bed and breakfasts.

Earlier this year, Tennessee became the latest state to allow most adults 21 and older to carry handguns without first clearing a state-level background check and training. The measure was signed into law by Republican Gov. Bill Lee over objections from some law enforcement groups and gun control advocates concerned the measure would possibly lead to more gun violence.

The Kroger Company, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, issued a statement that it was “deeply saddened” by the shooting and was cooperating with law enforcement. The company in 2019 asked its customers not to openly carry guns while visiting its stores.

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Christian school must comply with Jeffco’s mask mandate, judge rules

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Jeffco public health director spars with Christian school attorneys in court over mask mandate

A judge issued a temporary injunction Thursday requiring Faith Christian Academy to comply with Jefferson County’s mask mandate for students and ordering the school to allow inspection by county public health officials.

District Judge Randall Arp ruled that the county’s mask mandate didn’t violate the constitutional right to freedom of religion, and that Gov. Jared Polis allowing the state declaration of emergency to expire does not mean that local public health agencies can’t impose orders on their own.

“The court will note that the health order was not faith-based or designated at religious practice,” he said. “It was designated to apply to schools, which then also include religious or church schools.”

The temporary injunction, which had been sought by Jefferson County Public Health, will remain in place until the end of the school year or May 31 at the latest, unless another resolution is reached before then.

The ruling follows a three-day hearing that began Tuesday, the courtroom overflowing with school supporters.

The health department sought the judge’s order last week to compel three private Christian schools to both follow the county’s mask mandate and to allow immediate access to health inspectors to conduct compliance checks in their facilities.

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New look at retirement living: Co-op owners like their very-low maintenance lifestyle, and social life it fosters

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New look at retirement living: Co-op owners like their very-low maintenance lifestyle, and social life it fosters

Colorado buyers are just getting used to the idea of senior cooperatives—but 700 miles north in Minnesota, age-62-plus co-ops are so well accepted and popular that buyers there focus less on the ownership structure, and more on the results they deliver—VERY low maintenance, and more vivid relationships with neighbors.

You can find out more about how those work at an informational coffee Wednesday, Oct. 6, at The Ranch Country Club in Westminster—a few miles east of where Applewood Pointe will take shape on a ten-acre site wrapped by trails near Standley Lake.

Developer United Properties has done over 30 senior living communities (a mix of rental, assisted living, and cooperatives), 17 of which are cooperatives in the Twin Cities area, with three more there in the works. United Properties has a 100-year reputation in Minnesota.

Director of Sales Molly Goenner says Twin Cities buyers are overwhelmingly lured by a low-maintenance lifestyle (no more shoveling walks, raking leaves, or climbing ladders to change a light bulb); as well as by the intangible feeling of being part of a neighborhood community.

Goenner adds that Applewood Pointe’s concept offers roomier homes (all are 2-bedroom, and some have an option for an added den/sunroom), and a higher level of luxury finishes than other co-ops deliver. Owners also get a wide range of social-nurturing amenities: big great room, club room, and party areas, library, art/woodwork studios, and outdoor living spaces.

On Applewood Pointe’s large site at Wadsworth Parkway at W. 108th, that’s envisioned to include a 3/4-mile trail feeding into Westminster’s Walnut Creek Trail; along with a putting green and bocce ball court, outdoor kitchen, and an RTD stop.

Residents don’t get a pool—an add-on that owners prefer to avoid, particularly with Westminster’s widely regarded rec centers and golf courses close at hand.

Reservation holders earn a priority number that can hold a position in the 85-home community for a refundable $500 deposit, and once 60% of total available sales is reached members can select a home with an initial payment installment of $4,500. Members then choose their share percentage tier—the value of their selected home.

You might choose to invest just 20% (as little as $97,300); or can opt for 40%, 60%, or 80%. A higher investment means a lower monthly co-op fee. Either way, the monthlies cover much more than typical HOA dues do—mortgage, reserves, landscaping, inside/outdoor maintenance, property tax, water, cable TV, dedicated heated parking spot, and storage.

Goenner says that buying into a cooperative is a safe and predictable investment that will earn appreciation each and every year.

“And you’re becoming part of a rich member-run community designed around rewarding social interactions, low maintenance, and easy living.

“Watching the relationships form,” she says, “is the most beautiful part of cooperative living. It just happens and it’s magical.”

Her presentation is Oct. 6 at The Ranch, west of I-25 on 120th Avenue at Tejon Street. Make a reservation at 720-499-1083.

The news and editorial staffs of The Denver Post had no role in this post’s preparation.

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Kevin Strickland appeal: Court rejects Missouri AG’s requests in 1979 killings case

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Kevin Strickland appeal: Court rejects Missouri AG’s requests in 1979 killings case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri appeals court on Thursday denied the state attorney general’s request to recuse all Jackson County judges from presiding over an upcoming evidentiary hearing for a man who the county prosecutor says was wrongfully convicted in a triple murder more than 40 years ago.

The Missouri Court of Appeals also denied Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s request to cancel the hearing for Kevin Strickland, who has been in prison for the killings since 1979 and has always maintained that he’s innocent.

Schmitt asked the court to recuse all judges in Jackson County, which includes a large part of Kansas City, because he argued that they have shown a bias in favor of Strickland. The court didn’t explain its ruling, which Schmitt plans to appeal to the state Supreme Court, according to his spokesman, Chris Nuelle, KCUR reported.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker has said Strickland was wrongfully convicted of the killings, and she and Strickland’s lawyers plan to argue at an Oct. 5-6 hearing that he should be exonerated and freed.

Peters Baker has said two men who admitted to taking part in the shootings said Strickland was not there, and the only witness to identify him as the shooter recanted her statement.

Schmitt, who is seeking the Republican nomination to run for a U.S. Senate seat, has said he believes Strickland is guilty.

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The Americans prepare for the “big one” at home Ryder Cup

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The Americans prepare for the “big one” at home Ryder Cup

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — The Americans are running out of excuses in the Ryder Cup.

They bring another loaded team to Whistling Straits, 11 of them among the top 16 players in the world. Not only is it a home game, the travel restrictions because of COVID-19 make this crowd even more one-sided than Lambeau Field.

That’s part of what led Tony Finau to say, “This is a big one.”

What makes it so critical has more to do with a new generation of American golfers than any task force created to try to stop European dominance in the biennial matches.

Finau offered himself as an example as the third-oldest player on the team. He just turned 32. He played his first Ryder Cup in France three years ago. That qualifies him as one of the more experienced players because only three of his U.S. teammates have played more.

If the Americans want to change the culture, this is as good a time as any to start.

“We have a whole new team,” Finau said. “We have a team with no scar tissue. There’s only a handful of us that has even played in a Ryder Cup, and the few of those, we have winning records. So we actually don’t have guys on our team that have lost a lot in Ryder Cups.”

They also have not lost the pressure that invariably comes with being the better team on paper. Despite losing nine of the last 12 times dating to 1995 — two years before leading U.S. qualifier and two-time major champion Collin Morikawa was born — they are the betting favorites.

“Everyone is playing great golf right now and that’s really the key to winning points,” said Daniel Berger, one of six rookies on the U.S. team. “There’s 11 other players you could throw at me and I would feel completely confident and trustworthy that if they had to hit a big shot or make a big putt, they could do it. That’s a big key for us.

The response from Europe may as well be a collective yawn.

One team is looking for the secret formula to winning. The other keeps perfecting it.

The Europeans have spent most of the week tossing golf balls in the air on the first tee to determine teams for their practice rounds. Their uniforms featured the green-and-gold of the Green Bay Packers one day, and they tossed foam Cheesehead hats to the crowd. Ian Poulter was among those tossing golf balls to the gallery on Thursday.

No one looks to be having as much fun, a product of winning so often. And then it tends to switch on Friday for the first of five sessions that determine who gets the gold trophy.

“I don’t think our switch flips as much as you think,” Paul Casey said. “It just ramps up. Maybe there are a few less smiles that are visible. But we’re still trying to have the time of our life and play amazing golf. … We are methodical, attention to detail. We try to leave no stone unturned because we know the margins are so small.

“We all know it could be down to one putt or a fraction of a shot every day.”

The margin really hasn’t been that small since what the Europeans refer to as the “Miracle at Medinah” in 2012 when they rallied from a 10-6 deficit behind the inspired play of Ian Poulter and key putts on Sunday by Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer.

Europe has scored five- and seven-point victories at Gleneagles in Scotland and Le Golf National outside Paris, while the Americans picked up a home win at Hazeltine with a five-point win.

An American victory could be the start of a new culture of winning with newcomers like FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay and Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele, longtime friends Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau and four-time major champion Brooks Koepka. The average age is 29, the youngest ever for a U.S. team.

“They have outplayed us in quite a few Ryder Cups and that’s the mold we want to change going forward,” Finau said. “And that’s why I say that’s a big one.”

And if it doesn’t happen?

Finau is no stranger to setbacks. He went more than five years without winning until he broke through in a big way to start the FedEx Cup playoffs. He attributed that win at Liberty National to never losing belief even as he heard questions about whether he could finish the job.

It’s not much different from what the American Ryder Cup team faces.

“I see a change in culture. I see a change in American teams,” Finau said. “Hopefully, this week the culture of us not getting the job done in the Ryder Cup changes this week.”

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Collierville, TN Kroger shooting kills 2, including shooter, injures 12 more

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Collierville, TN Kroger shooting kills 2, including shooter, injures 12 more

COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. (WREG) — Multiple people were injured Thursday in a shooting inside the Kroger on Byhalia and Poplar Avenue in Collierville, a Memphis suburb, after an active shooter incident.

Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane confirmed 13 people were shot, and one person killed. The suspected shooter also is dead, possibly from a self-inflicted gunshot, Lane said. See the press conference with details below.

The suspect’s vehicle is still parked and is being investigated.

Lane said officers entered the store just after 1:30 and found multiple people shot, and employees in hiding. He could not comment on whether the shooter was an employee, saying it was under investigation.

Lane called it “the most horrific event that’s occurred in Collierville history.”

Multiple witnesses report hearing at least a dozen shots. Some customers made it out of the store. Employees had others take shelter in the cooler, witnesses said.

One employee, who says she’s worked at the Kroger for 32 years, told WREG she hid with her coworkers and several customers when they heard the gunshots.

Collierville High School was briefly sheltering in place.

Multiple ambulances were seen entering Regional One Hospital in Memphis. The hospital reported it saw nine patients, four in critical condition and five non-critical.

Details are still coming in. WREG will update this page as more information becomes available.

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Missouri on pace for 20% drop in reported COVID cases month-to-month

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Missouri on pace for 20% drop in reported COVID cases month-to-month

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri is on pace to record approximately 48,000 COVID cases in September, a 20.4% drop from last month.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the state has recorded 667,829 cumulative cases of SARS-CoV-2—an increase of 1,615 positive cases (PCR testing only)—and 11,314 total deaths as of Thursday, Sept. 23, an increase of 24 over yesterday. That’s a case fatality rate of 1.7%.

Please keep in mind that not all cases and deaths recorded occurred in the last 24 hours.

State health officials report 53.3% of the total population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Approximately 64.6% of all adults 18 years of age and older have initiated the process.

The state has administered 60,729 doses of vaccine in the last 7 days (this metric is subject to a delay, meaning the last three days are not factored in). The highest vaccination rates are among people over 65.

Boone County, the city of Joplin, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County are the only jurisdictions in the state with at least 50% of its population fully vaccinated. Eighteen other jurisdictions in the state are at least 40% fully vaccinated: Atchison, Cole, Jackson, Franklin, Greene, Jefferson, Cass, Nodaway, Andrew, Cape Girardeau, Ste. Genevieve, Carroll, Callaway, Gasconade, and Christian counties, as well as St. Louis City, Kansas City, and Independence.

Vaccination is the safest way to achieve herd immunity. Herd immunity for COVID-19 requires 80% to 90% of the population to have immunity, either by vaccination or recovery from the virus.

(Source: Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services)

The Bureau of Vital Records at DHSS performs a weekly linkage between deaths to the state and death certificates to improve quality and ensure all decedents that died of COVID-19 are reflected in the systems. As a result, the state’s death toll will see a sharp increase from time to time. Again, that does not mean a large number of deaths happened in one day; instead, it is a single-day reported increase.

At the state level, DHSS is not tracking probable or pending COVID deaths. Those numbers are not added to the state’s death count until confirmed in the disease surveillance system either by the county or through analysis of death certificates.

The 10 days with the most reported cases occurred between Oct. 10, 2020, and Jan. 8, 2021.

The 7-day rolling average for cases in Missouri sits at 1,492 yesterday, it was 1,545. Exactly one month ago, the state rolling average was 1,917. 

Approximately 49.4% of all reported cases are for individuals 39 years of age and younger. The state has further broken down the age groups into smaller units. The 18 to 24 age group has 82,807 recorded cases, while 25 to 29-year-olds have 57,110 cases.

People 80 years of age and older account for approximately 43.7% of all recorded deaths in the state.

Month / Year Missouri COVID cases*
(reported that month)
March 2020 1,327
April 2020 6,235
May 2020 5,585
June 2020 8,404
July 2020 28,772
August 2020 34,374
September 2020 41,416
October 2020 57,073
November 2020 116,576
December 2020 92,808
January 2021 66,249
February 2021 19,405
March 2021 11,150
April 2021 12,165
May 2021 9,913
June 2021 12,680
July 2021 42,780
August 2021 60,275
September 2021 36,802
(Source: Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services)

Missouri has administered 6,949,404 PCR tests for COVID-19 over the entirety of the pandemic and as of Sept. 22, 16.9% of those tests have come back positive. People who have received multiple PCR tests are not counted twice, according to the state health department.

According to the state health department’s COVID-19 Dashboard, “A PCR test looks for the viral RNA in the nose, throat, or other areas in the respiratory tract to determine if there is an active infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A positive PCR test means that the person has an active COVID-19 infection.”

The Missouri COVID Dashboard no longer includes the deduplicated method of testing when compiling the 7-day moving average of positive tests. The state is now only using the non-deduplicated method, which is the CDC’s preferred method. That number is calculated using the number of tests taken over the period since many people take multiple tests. Under this way of tabulating things, Missouri has a 9.7% positivity rate as of Sept. 20. Health officials exclude the most recent three days to ensure data accuracy when calculating the moving average.

The 7-day positivity rate was 4.5% on June 1, 10.2% on July 1, and 15.0% on Aug. 1.

As of Sept. 20, Missouri is reporting 1,762 COVID hospitalizations and a rolling 7-day average of 1,863. The remaining inpatient hospital bed capacity sits at 22% statewide. The state’s public health care metrics lag behind by three days due to reporting delays, especially on weekends. Keep in mind that the state counts all beds available and not just beds that are staffed by medical personnel.

On July 6, the 7-day rolling average for hospitalizations eclipsed the 1,000-person milestone for the first time in four months, with 1,013 patients. The 7-day average for hospitalizations had previously been over 1,000 from Sept. 16, 2020, to March 5, 2021.

On Aug. 5, the average eclipsed 2,000 patients for the first time in more than seven months. It was previously over 2,000 from Nov. 9, 2020, to Jan. 27, 2021.

The 2021 low point on the hospitalization average in Missouri was 655 on May 29.

Across the state, 470 COVID patients are in ICU beds, leaving the state’s remaining intensive care capacity at 18%.

If you have additional questions about the coronavirus, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is available at 877-435-8411.

As of Sept. 22, the CDC identified 42,363,951 cases of COVID-19 and 677,086 deaths across all 50 states and 9 U.S.-affiliated districts, jurisdictions, and affiliated territories, for a national case-fatality rate of 1.6%.

How do COVID deaths compare to other illnesses, like the flu or even the H1N1 pandemics of 1918 and 2009? It’s a common question.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preliminary data on the 2018-2019 influenza season in the United States shows an estimated 35,520,883 cases and 34,157 deaths; that would mean a case-fatality rate of 0.09 percent. Case-fatality rates on previous seasons are as follows: 0.136 percent (2017-2018), 0.131 percent (2016-2017), 0.096 percent (2015-2016), and 0.17 percent (2014-2015).

The 1918 H1N1 epidemic, commonly referred to as the “Spanish Flu,” is estimated to have infected 29.4 million Americans and claimed 675,000 lives as a result; a case-fatality rate of 2.3 percent. The Spanish Flu claimed greater numbers of young people than typically expected from other influenzas.

Beginning in January 2009, another H1N1 virus—known as the “swine flu”—spread around the globe and was first detected in the US in April of that year. The CDC identified an estimated 60.8 million cases and 12,469 deaths; a 0.021 percent case-fatality rate.

For more information and updates regarding COVID mandates, data, and the vaccine, click here.

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