When will it end?

Posted 4/30/20

by Pete Mazzaccaro This is the sixth issue of the Chestnut Hill Local we’ve put out since widespread closures due to COVID-19 have sent must of us home, working remotely and seeing little of our …

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When will it end?

Posted

by Pete Mazzaccaro

This is the sixth issue of the Chestnut Hill Local we’ve put out since widespread closures due to COVID-19 have sent must of us home, working remotely and seeing little of our office at 8434 Germantown Ave.

One of the more incredible things to have happened during these last six weeks is the demonstration of how capable so many are at home. This same level of home productivity – for everyone who can work at home -- might have been nearly impossible just 10 years ago. It would have been practically unthinkable even 15 years ago, before nearly everyone had a phone from which they could participate in remote meetings and we had the internet capacity to handle millions of people getting online from their homes.

This week, again, the story in Chestnut Hill is the story everywhere: COVID-19 and its grip on both global health and the world economy. In Chestnut Hill, we have school students keeping up with studies from home, we have volunteers making protective equipment for hospital workers, businesses dealing with closures that are coming to terms with the fact that those closures may stretch well into the summer.

And what everyone wants to know, everywhere this virus has chased populations indoors, is when will it end?

Gov. Tom Wolf last week provided a plan of what will be required to get back to some semblance of normal. His three-phase, color coded plan puts southeastern Pennsylvania firmly in the “red” zone, which required continued social distance measures and business closures until we can get to the “yellow” zone.

To reach the yellow zone, our area is going to require a dramatic reduction in new cases of COVID-19 – 50 per day per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period. At the end of last week, Philadelphia County’s average per day over the prior 14 days was 592. Montgomery County’s average was 187. Philadelphia City Commissioner Thomas Farley said during one of the city’s daily briefings on COVID-19 that he believed we were a long way off from getting where we need to be to get to yellow, even though it appears the worst of COVID-19 is behind us.

A month ago, when May 8 was first proposed as a sunset for stay-at-home orders, that date seemed like a lengthy period of lockdown. It now appears to have been remarkably optimistic.

While a lengthy closure is further cause to despair, a more definitive path to what recovery might look like is welcome news. While we’re still a way off, we now know what the goal is. And it looks like we’re getting there, even if the exact date is not entirely clear.

It’s going to be more time spent sequestered from others and more suffering, but we’ll get there. 

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