Pa. Curve ‘has been flattened significantly’
In mid-March, Pennsylvania put stay at home orders and non-essential business closures in place to help flatten the coronavirus curve.
Now that mid-April has arrived, the state’s top health official says the efforts are working as they were designed to.
It’s still not time to return to normal, of course, but speaking during a media briefing on Tuesday, Health Department Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine noted that Pa. has just over 25,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, which is far fewer than the 60,000 or so that the earliest national predictions indicated were possible if no social distancing and things like it were done.
“I think that the mitigation efforts, the prevention efforts that the Governor has put in place, have been working,” Levine said. “We have been able to flatten the curve in terms of the number of new cases that we are seeing.
“If you remember, last week, we had over 1,900 new cases in a day, and (on April 14) we have 1,100, new cases in a day. It’s still too many. We don’t want that many new cases, but the curve has been flattened significantly.”
The curve, of course, refers to the rise in daily reported cases. Some experts believe the peak is coming at the end of this week, and when and if it does, the numbers should be far lower than the were feared a month ago.
No timeline is in place for when travel to places besides a grocery store, pharmacy, or other life-sustaining businesses will happen, however, and the same goes for the reopening of non-life sustaining locations.
That said, if you’re looking for a reason to be optimistic, Levine provided it.
“We have over 25,000 cases, but if you look at some of the old FEMA predictions, if this were going up exponentially like we had talked about, then we would have expected over 60,000 cases,” she said. “We are doing a fantastic job.
“We have to continue those efforts until the time is right in a slow, progressive fashion to start to open businesses and then cancel the stay at home orders in a regional, maybe, countywide basis in a slow iterative fashion, and when the time is right the Governor will make that decision.”