Downtown Pittsburgh
Photo by TH Carlisle.

“A little more than three weeks ago, officials in Pittsburgh announced a milestone enviable for almost any major city in America: A day had gone by without a single new confirmed case of the coronavirus,” reports The New York Times. It was good news for a city that had seen only a modest outbreak all along, even as the virus raged through places like Philadelphia and New York.

“That was then.

“Western Pennsylvania is suddenly experiencing an alarming surge of infections. Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, reported more than 100 new cases for the first time on June 30; two days later, the daily case count surpassed 200. Over two weeks in late June and early July, the county recorded more new cases than in the previous two months combined, and on some recent days has accounted for nearly half of all new known cases in Pennsylvania.

“The spike in the Pittsburgh area offers a cautionary tale: Even after months of vigilance, an outbreak can flare up all of a sudden,” says The New York Times. The article goes on to explore the possible reasons this is happening ever since the county went green — from pent-up people flocking to bars to gatherings at large protests to people returning from vacations to the beach.

Allegheny County councilperson Bethany Hallam is quoted as saying something many of us have thought: the terminology of the green phase needs rethinking. “Under the governor’s plan, moving counties into the ‘green phase’ never meant a return to normal, only to a less restrictive set of rules. But that is not how many people apparently heard it. To anybody from a 2-year-old to a 100-year-old, ‘green’ means go,” Ms. Hallam said. “We went to green and everybody went wild.”

Read the full article here.

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