September 18, 2020

‘Flatten the curve’

There are over 30,000 cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. On the front lines managing this crisis is Pennsylvania’s state government.

The 67 counties in Pennsylvania are under a stay-at-home order until May 8th. This means citizens should remain indoors as much as possible and groceries should only be purchased once a week.

There is a warning to avoid non-essential travel, however, there have been no orders that limit the extent. Need-based travel should include things like going to work at an essential job, picking up supplies like groceries or medicine, and checking up on family in other households.

Pennsylvania’s state government asks that all social gatherings are suspended and any that occur be as small as possible. “Pennsylvania state government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak has been an incremental approach to the “flatten the curve” mindset,” said Samuel Chen, Political Science Professor at Northampton Community Colleg. “This began with encouraging social distancing and washing hands.  They are following the same process with stay-at-home orders, which is where we stand now.  All the while, Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary

of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine has been providing updates and making resources available to the public.”

The idea of the “flatten the curve mindset” seeks to minimize how many people are infected at once. The high infection rate of COVID-19 causes hospitals to be strapped on space, supplies, and manpower to deal with this crisis. By limiting the number of people who are getting infected, hospitals can manage these issues more effectively.

“The impact of this approach is difficult to measure,” said Chen. “The state has tried to relieve some of this pressure by relaxing regulations around unemployment benefits in order to include those out of work in relation to the shutdown orders, but the longer the shutdown order is in place, the more difficult it is on business owners.”

For additional protection, schools have been closed to prevent more spreading of COVID-19. Governor Wolf has also requested that at any time when leaving their houses, people wear masks so they might not infect others.

With many precautions being taken, Pennsylvania is doing everything it can to keep citizens safe. The most important part is that everyone listens to the warnings and follow the steps to ensure the virus is taken care of sooner.

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