PennPIRG: Pennsylvania Enters the COVID Red Zone, Time to Shut Down

With COVID-19 surging in PA, experts ask the governor to prioritize public health

PHILADELPHIA, PA — PennPIRG is calling on Governor Wolf to hit the reset button on the state’s response to containing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as cases surge to concerning levels. More than 1,000 health professionals nationwide, including 96 from Pennsylvania, have now signed an open letter to America’s decision-makers urging them to shut it down, start over, and do it right this time to contain COVID-19 and save lives.

“Governor Wolf needs to hit the reset button,” said Emma Horst-Martz, PennPIRG Advocate. “Although we slowed the virus down in the spring, we moved too quickly to reopen without hitting key benchmarks to be able to squash future outbreaks before they explode. And now we’re facing the consequences.”

The group is urging Governor Wolf to close non-essential businesses, limit restaurant service to take-out, and mandate that masks be worn in all situations, indoors and outdoors, where we interact with others. People should stay home, going out only to get food and medicine or to exercise and get fresh air.

READ:  Gov. Wolf Announces Additional $96 Million for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

These protocols should stay in place until the positivity rate, the percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive, is at 2 percent or lower on average statewide. Health experts agree that’s low enough that they’d feel confident the current outbreak is under control.

Even still, once the positivity rate hits 2 percent or lower, the state should not start reopening again unless it meets the following criteria laid out by health experts:

  • Enough daily testing capacity to test everyone with flu-like symptoms plus anyone they have been in close contact with over the last two weeks (at least 10 additional tests per symptomatic person). Currently, the United States has only 35 percent of the testing capacity it needs to meet that threshold. Pennsylvania is not meeting the criteria.
  • A workforce of contact tracers large enough to trace all current cases.
  • Enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep essential workers such as health professionals, emergency responders and grocery store clerks safe.
READ:  Gov. Wolf, Sec. Levine Amend Guidelines on Safe Gathering Limits

Federal support is key to helping states reach these benchmarks, and so far it’s been sorely lacking. That’s why PennPIRG is also urging the Trump Administration and Congress to provide a national strategy and resources for ramping up testing infrastructure around the country and ensuring that all essential workers get adequate PPE.

“Telling the hard truths and making the hard calls now will save more lives later. That’s why we’re calling on our leaders to rise up to the challenge. Half measures will only lead to more suffering,” finished Horst-Martz.

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Statz
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Statz
August 1, 2020 7:50 am

Screw these people. It’s all about their ego

Dave
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Dave
August 1, 2020 7:52 am

Are you people fucking crazy. Why are we so concerned about saving lives. Maybe we should stop driving too .. that would save lives. Death is eminent. Only the strong survive. That’s natures way. We are animals no matter what. Let each individual decide what he or she wants to do. Quit making decisions for us.

John
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John
August 2, 2020 2:31 pm
Reply to  Dave

You’re an idiot! You also would support something along the lines of a purge!

Kelcy
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Kelcy
August 1, 2020 9:31 am

The two that commented on this post are idiots. ??‍♀️ Most likely people who haven’t had to lose a close family member or have to worry because someone they love is high risk. Anyway, another issue is travelers. People who visit here from other areas. Lessening the travel from other places will help a lot more too.

Ron knouse
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Ron knouse
August 1, 2020 10:30 am
Reply to  Kelcy

You’r a moron.. that’s worse than an idiot. This virus is proven to be jist that..a virus you fool.. one more shut down will completely destroy what little is left.. you are the problem idiot

James
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James
August 2, 2020 8:18 am
Reply to  Ron knouse

Isn’t it hard to call people unintelligent when you can barely communicate??

Eric
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Eric
August 1, 2020 11:00 am

Crazy Left wing crazies. Cannot shut anything down again. Teachers are essential, get back to work. Normal school and sports. Obviously unless you are at risk, we need to cater to the majority not the minority. Under 55, it’s like .0055% something very minimal. Suicides are up, drug overdoses are up. This prolonged shutdown can have long term or lifetime effects. Let’s get real here

James
Guest
James
August 2, 2020 8:21 am

Lol, it’s too late to shut down again. Red States don’t care enough to slow the spread, as long as they play by the Chump handbook, this isn’t going to stop.
Not to mention, you have window lickers in our own state that can’t do the bare minimum to protect people.

We need a nationwide response from someone who isn’t a bloated corpse of a 13 year old Twitter troll who plays golf when he should be working.

Tracy
Guest
Tracy
August 2, 2020 1:54 pm

Closing down will not be effective because people will not stay in. People have been protesting, going to the Shore, barbecues, parties. They’ve had play dates and gone shopping. Hired contractors, visited bars and restaurants. They traveled and allowed people from other states to visit. People want Covid-19 to stop as long as they don’t have to make sacrifices for it. Apparently wearing masks and socially distancing is a sacrifice as s not socializing. At this point, I am disgusted with most of the planet and I’m judging those who don’t wear masks and who continue socializing.

DAVE
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DAVE
August 2, 2020 6:08 pm
Reply to  Tracy

Left Wing Liberal Socialist Group pushing this agenda. All to make things as bleak as possible for November. Shutdowns not needed. Lost a close relative to Covid. Advise from them was keep living life. Have no Fear of life and its risks was thier motto. I know one thing for sure if Alsheimer Biden wins in November, Covid will miracously disappear and this great country is toast as we quickly become another third rate Socialist Communist country.

jack MeHoff
Guest
jack MeHoff
August 2, 2020 6:13 pm

anyone talking about locking down is clearly either a TOTAL FUCKSTICK-USEFUL IDIOT, and you simply have no concept of whats really going on here – OR – a disgusting piece-of-shit DISINFORMATION PROPAGANDIST MEDIA ASSHOLE!!!!!!!!!!! GO FUCK YOURSELVES