As states across the country begin to reopen and nearly half are seeing COVID-19 cases rise, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday that Pennsylvania is not one of them.
At a recent daily COVID-19 briefing with Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, he noted another milestone: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proprietary data for states indicates that Pennsylvania is one of just three states that has had a downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases for more than 43 days. The other two states are Montana and Hawaii.
“We know our decline in cases is because of our choices because more than half of states are experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases as reopening begins,” Wolf said. “Many of these states are experiencing significant case increases tied to reopening too soon or too much. Pennsylvania is not. We have remained focused on balancing economic interests with public health.”
Wolf pointed to the decision to require masks when visiting businesses, even in counties in the green phase, as another smart decision that could have lasting effects as a COVID-19 surge is possible this fall.
“Recently, more studies show that masks prevent people from unknowingly giving COVID-19 to others,” Wolf said. “This includes peer-reviewed studies published in scientific journals like The New England Journal of Medicine.
“As the U.S. Surgeon General said a few days ago, wearing a mask doesn’t impinge on our freedom – it gives us more freedom from knowingly spreading COVID-19.”
According to other data analyses, including those by Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, Pennsylvania’s steady decline in cases since April put the state among a select few that continue a flattening of the curve. This distinction is particularly important as more counties reopen.
“Pennsylvanians have done an excellent job at demonstrating how to balance business and public health,” Wolf said. “If we keep this up, we can continue to be a model to other states and a leader at saving lives and livelihoods during this pandemic.”