State’s Measured, Phased Reopening Plan Succeeding as Other States See Cases Rise

As Pennsylvania continues to implement Governor Tom Wolf’s Process to Reopen PA, the state is also among a select few with a steady decline in cases, a positive indicator that the state’s phased, measured reopening plan is working to balance public health with economic recovery.

According to data analysis from Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center data, Pennsylvania’s steady decline in cases since a peak in mid-April is particularly important as more counties reopen. The latest report indicates Pennsylvania is among the states with a sustained decline in cases over the past two weeks, an important indicator that reopening plans are measured and thoughtful.

In an Associated Press analysis, more than half the states in the U.S. are experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases as reopening begins. Pennsylvania is not among them. Many other states are experiencing significant case increases tied to reopening too soon or too much.

“Pennsylvania’s measured, phased process to reopen is successful because of its cautious approach that includes factors relying on science, the advice of health experts and that asks everyone to do something as simple as wearing a mask when inside or around others outside the home,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “We will continue to move forward cautiously.”

Tableau Public analysis of states using four primary factors: daily tests, daily positive tests, current hospitalizations, and daily deaths shows Pennsylvania with a significant increase in tests accompanied by steep declines in positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths since a peak in mid-April. And while the country as a whole is seeing declines in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, many states are seeing increases that are cause for concern as reopening widens.

Mask-wearing has proven to be an important deterrent to the spread of the virus.

A recent study from Cambridge and Greenwich universities in the United Kingdom found that cloth masks, “even homemade masks with limited effectiveness can dramatically reduce transmission rates if worn by enough people, regardless of whether they show symptoms.”

The study also notes that mask-wearing will be especially important as a possible second wave of the virus could occur in the fall.

Pennsylvania has urged mask-wearing throughout its response to the pandemic and even as counties reach the green phase of reopening, masks are still required when entering businesses and encouraged for use in any space where social distancing is difficult to maintain. The state’s business guidance outlines mask-wearing for both employees and customers.

“Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine has said it countless times, ‘My mask protects you and your mask protects me,’ and that is important for all Pennsylvanians to remember as we continue a successful and safe reopening of the state,” Gov. Wolf said.