Governor Tom Wolf announced on March 6, two presumptive positive cases of novel coronavirus in Pennsylvania. This marked the first instance of the virus in the commonwealth. By August 28, that number has risen to 131,991 with 835 new cases being added from the previous day.
The first death due to coronavirus was reported in Pennsylvania on March 18th in Northampton County. The second was reported on March 21st in Allegheny County. Monroe and Montgomery County reported their first deaths on Sunday, March 22nd. As of August 28, there have been 7,655 reported deaths statewide.
On March 19, Governor Tom Wolf ordered the closure of all non-life sustaining businesses statewide to mitigate the spread of the virus. The following Friday, that order was modified but not rescinded.
The governor announced that 24 counties may begin easing restrictions and moving into a phased reopening starting May 8, dozens of other counties would follow suit in the coming weeks. Currently, all counties are in the final ‘green’ phase.
The Department of Health announced they are no longer required to send positive samples to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All cases tested positive in the state are now considered positive and not presumptive positive.
All K-12 schools in Pennsylvania have closed for the rest of the school year and many colleges and universities have transitioned to online education. Parades and local events have been postponed locally as the number of cases in the United States rose to over a thousand, they now stand at nearly 5 million.
In Luzerne County, an intern that was possibly exposed to the virus has prompted the sanitation of a family court building. As of Friday there have been 3,753 cases reported in the county, it is not yet known if any case was the intern. The Department of Health also reports 188 deaths in the county.
Lackawanna County has confirmed its first positive case on Wednesday, March 18. By August 20, the county had 2,027 cases and 213 COVID-19 related deaths.
Here’s what we know about the virus:
On March 26, cases of the novel coronavirus worldwide crossed half a million. By April 3, that number doubled to 1 million cases. Over 200 thousand of those cases were recorded in the U.S. which is now the country with the most cases ahead of China and Italy.
There have now been over 170,000 deaths in the U.S and over five million cases in the country alone, exceeding China’s official case count by more than 56 times.
For the first time in history, every state and territory in the U.S. is under a disaster declaration simultaneously.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that the novel coronavirus has a global mortality rate of about 3.4%. This is more than three times the seasonal flu which generally kills fewer than 1% of those infected. In comparison, according to estimates, the 2018-2019 seasonal flu killed about .1% of those infected nationally.
On April 13, the WHO said that COVID-19 is 10 times deadlier as the 2009 flu pandemic, commonly called the swine flu.
“Ultimately, the development and delivery of a safe and effective vaccine will be needed to fully interrupt transmission,” the WHO Director General said in a briefing.
On Wednesday, March 11, the organization officially declared the novel virus a pandemic as over 100,000 people had been infected in over 100 countries around the globe.
According to a report out of China, 16% of cases of the viral infection become serious. Older people and those with pre-existing conditions are especially at risk. In China, over 70% of the around 80,000 confirmed cases have recovered.
There are three specific symptoms of the novel coronavirus. They are fever, cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms are thought to appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure.
It is believed that the virus can spread before the onset of symptoms. One case was reported in Germany where scientists say transmission may have occurred during the incubation period.
According to the WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, smoking can increase your risk of developing severe symptoms if you become infected with COVID-19. He also warned young people in a speech, saying “you are not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks, or even kill you.”
To date, in the U.S., the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports there are 5,799,046 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. According to Johns Hopkins, which collects CDC and local reports across the country, that number is 5,878,338.
The country has now reported 181,022 deaths.
In New Jersey and Pennsylvania, all flags are flying at half staff to honor those who died in the pandemic.
New York Andrew Cuomo ordered all non-essential workers to stay home and canceled all non-essential gatherings. As cases in New York topped 100 thousand, Cuomo allowed students slated for graduation to begin practicing medicine in the state.
Below is a map of all the confirmed cases of the novel virus nationwide that have been reported by Johns Hopkins. This may differ from CDC reports since the numbers are only updated once a day and close out after business hours. We will be updating this map as more information becomes available.
As of March 17, after West Virginia reported a case, every state has at least one person that tested positive. All but five states in the country now have confirmed sustained community transfer, including Pennsylvania. In the case of at least 25 states, the transfer is considered widespread.
All states now have at least 1000 cases of COVID-19.
The CDC is now uploading weekly situation reports. View the latest one by clicking here.
Currently, the CDC states that the COVID-19 situation poses a serious public health risk.
The White House released new guidelines called 15 Days to Stop the Spread. They include recommending that older Americans stay home and away from other people. View them here.
As of March 16, the agency suggests organizers cancel or postpone all in-person events of 50 people or more for the next 8 weeks.
On March 8, the agency recommended that people at higher risk of serious illness, such as the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
The CDC recommends everyone help prevent the spread of diseases like the novel coronavirus by taking every-day precautions such as washing hands often, cleaning frequently touched objects, and staying home if you are sick.
The CDC released new guidelines for employers, commercial establishments, school officials and the general public on what they can do to prevent the spread of the virus. View them here.