Gov. Wolf: Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Across PA

Gov. Wolf: Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Across PA

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Emily Lawrence started this petition to Governor Tom Wolf

Dear Governor Wolf,

This petition is from healthcare workers (including physicians, nurses, medical students and other staff) to implore you to take aggressive action in the state of Pennsylvania-- including closing all non-essential businesses and formally recommending that all who are able to do so work remotely-- in order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. We are in dire risk of suffering the same fate as Italy, where the healthcare system is overwhelmed and hundreds are dying each day. We have to flatten the curve NOW-- not tomorrow, TODAY. 

We need to learn from the 1918 Spanish flu, when 12,000 Philadelphia residents died in six weeks due to a failure to take early, aggressive action. This past weekend, citizens were crowding into Philadelphia establishments even as SARS-CoV-2 spreads in our community, and too many employers still aren’t allowing remote work. 

Pennsylvania should immediately take the following actions, which include elements of the plan Dr. Zeke Emanuel and the Center for American Progress released, to aggressively slow the virus' spread:

  • Ban all gatherings of more than 50 people.
  • For individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness, such as seniors or individuals with underlying medical conditions, ban all gatherings of more than 10 people. This includes gatherings at retirement and assisted living facilities.
  • Strongly encourage places of worship to cancel services and other events for groups of more than 25 people. Strongly encourage religious leaders to adopt additional social distancing modifications—staying more than six feet apart—for any small gatherings that continue.
  • Ban all concerts, conferences, and sporting events.
  • Close all schools, public colleges, and public parks.
  • Close all gyms, bars, movie theaters, libraries, and community centers.
  • Limit restaurants to delivery or pick up only.
  • Strongly encourage employers to require employees to work remotely.
  • Lead by example: Cancel all public events of any size.
  • Require all state and local employees to work remotely to the extent possible.

Emanuel et al. states: “Bans and closures should be put into effect for at least two to four weeks, with potential extensions, to allow health departments enough time to monitor and assess the extent of community spread. Congress must enact significant economic relief for small businesses and their employees who are subject to state and local closures.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued recommendations for school closure in jurisdictions where there is “substantial” community spread. However, without widespread testing, it is impossible to know where community spread is substantial, and the CDC’s guidance is vague. Where any community spread has been detected, states and localities must assume that the spread is or will become substantial.”  Further, there is mounting evidence for a long asymptomatic period where infected people can transmit the virus (del Rio, JAMA 2/28).

We need you to protect our state. The action taken in the Philadelphia suburbs to limit large gatherings and close nonessential businesses protects our residents, but we must expand it statewide. With your leadership we can save lives and prevent needless suffering.

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