21 Cases in PA, 75 Tested & Waiting for Results
HARRISBURG (MAR 12 2020) -- Six days after identifying its first case of COVID-19 infection, the number of cases in Pennsylvania has grown to 21, with 75 additional having been tested and waiting for results, according to information released this morning by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Dashboard, there have been 127,863 confirmed cases worldwide, 68,310 have recovered, and 4,718 deaths. The US has 1,353 cases (up about 150 from yesterday), has seen only 8 recover, and suffered 38 deaths. The head of the CDC yesterday said that there "should be no large gatherings in the US" in order to slow the spread of the virus. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease researcher, said “The bottom line: It is going to get worse." He said that just how bad it would get would depend on local, state, and federal leadership to reduce the chances of community spread by eliminating as many large gatherings as possible.
“As a nation, we can’t be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re in a state that has no cases or one case — you have to start taking seriously what you can do now, if and when the infections will come. And they will come. Sorry to say, sad to say, they will.” To illustrate Dr. Fauci's point, if the current rate of growth of the Pennsylvania cases were to continue, the state would have over 18,000 cases in three weeks time. There is currently no expectation that Pennsylvania will continue to experience a ten-fold weekly increase in cases over a sustained period of time. However, the likelihood of sustained growth is increased by unnecessary large gatherings, according to Dr. Fauci. Locally, Jim Thorpe, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton have canceled their St Patrick's day festivities. Stroudsburg has not, although the Stroudsburg Fire Department announced it was cancelled. The event organizers said this morning that they have not made a decision yet. In Luzerne County, they canceled a regional high school science competition that would have brought 800 students and their families together for the event. Organizers of the Regional Odyssey of the Mind competition, scheduled for this Saturday at Pocono Mountain West High School, said the event, bringing 700 students and their families to the Mount Pocono area, would go forward. State Representative Maureen Madden has also canceled her post-St Patrick's Day Parade Fundraiser in Stroudsburg.
Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania's Secretary of Health, yesterday said that she was not ordering shutdowns, but that the Department encouraged and supported cancellation of events that would bring large groups of people into close contact.
The Commonwealth Health Secretary is scheduled to give her daily press briefing at Noon today, We will be attending and will be updating this page throughout the day as additional information is obtained. UPDATED to reflect changes in Stroudsburg St Patricks Day Parade