While other states record an uptick in cases, Gov. Wolf’s measured approach to reopening appears to be working.
Pennsylvania has recorded a third straight day of under 400 new positive coronavirus tests, according to Department of Health data Tuesday, the longest such stretch since new cases began regularly exceeding that level in late March.
Still, the number of people dying from it daily remains in the dozens.
Officials reported 33 additional deaths and 362 new positive cases of the coronavirus Tuesday. That brings the state’s totals to nearly 80,000 cases and 6,276 deaths since early March.
Of those, 75% have recovered, the department said.
On Friday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that eight more counties would move to the green phase of his reopening plan on Friday. As of Tuesday, there are 46 counties in green and 21 in yellow.
“In Pennsylvania, not only did we flatten the curve, but we are continuing to keep case counts down even as we open our commonwealth,” Gov. Wolf said in a statement. “We will continue to take a measured, phased approach to reopening that relies on science and health experts.”
Meanwhile, in other parts of the country, the number of cases is rising. The United States now has more than 2.1 million confirmed cases—more than 25% of the global total, despite the U.S. making up just 4% of the world’s population.
According to President Trump, that’s entirely due to the nation’s testing capacity, and not because many of those same states rushed to reopen in mid-May. “If we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any,” Trump said at the White House on Monday.
He reiterated his argument in a Monday tweet in which he called testing a “double edged sword” that “makes us look bad.”
Public health experts, however, say that while the increase in testing is partially responsible for rising numbers in some states, there’s more to the picture. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told ABC News on Friday that it was important to look both at case numbers and the percentage of positive tests to understand whether the increasing number of cases represented worsening outbreaks.
“If you test more, you will likely pick up more infections,” Dr. Fauci said, also adding: “Once you see that the percentage is higher, then you’ve really got to be careful, because then you really are seeing additional infections that you weren’t seeing before.”
The percentage of positive tests is rising dramatically in many states, such as Arizona and Texas, which indicates a worsening outbreak. Hospitalizations are also on the rise in those two states. Public health experts in both states said the worsening outbreaks were directly tied to the end of stay-at-home orders there.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press.
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