Pennsylvania today reports 1,407 new cases of COVID-19 in the state. With case counts exceeding 1,000 every day for the last 21 days, the current fall surge is starting to outpace the initial wave of infections in the spring.
State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said in the past week there have been three days of more than 2,000 cases, including last Friday, the highest daily new case count since the pandemic began.
However, the number of coronavirus patients requiring hospitalization is less than the initial spring spread. With 1,104 patients in the hospital, we are well below the highest peak of the spring, which was more than three thousand.
“Our health care systems are now better prepared to address the virus than in the spring,” said Levine. “But we must all do our part to prevent a further increase in hospitalizations, particularly as flu season also approaches.”
Levine said COVID-19 symptoms and flu symptoms can be similar, and difficult to distinguish without a test. However, the same preventative steps can be used to avoid infection of both: face masks, hand-washing, and social distancing.
Levine also directly refuted a claim made by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows over the weekend, when he said we can not control the pandemic without medical therapies like a vaccine.
“Despite what has been reported in the last day or so, we can control COVID-19. We can control COVID-19,” she said. “We need to use all public health strategies in our toolbox, starting with containment, moving to targeted mitigation, then therapeutics and vaccines.”
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