Governor Tom Wolf outlined a plan to reopen the state of Pennsylvania that is divided into three strategic phases.
After weeks in which Pennsylvania’s government has been forced to close schools and non-essential businesses, with its residents being ordered to stay home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the governor’s plan provides a clearer picture of the goals to be achieved.
Monday night, Wolf presented during an address these three lines of action, which allow access to the big picture of the project that will eventually lead the state to recover its levels of normality.
Phase 1: Buying time
This is the phase This is the phase that is currently underway. At this level the schools are closed. No essential businesses are also inoperative to keep customers and employees safe. There is social isolation.
“The first stage – the one we’re in now – is focused on simply buying time to allow our health care system to build the capacity we need it to have. We cannot afford to allow it to be overwhelmed. We cannot allow this deadly disease to continue to claim more victims at an increasing rate. We want this stage to be over with as quickly as possible,” Wolf said.
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In order to overcome this initial stage, it is necessary “to do the best we can with the scarce resources we have to keep our health care system from being overwhelmed.”
He added that so far the isolation measures have worked.
Phase 2: Transitional phase
Wolf said this level requires access to more and better testing that can tell us who is sick and who is immune.
That testing will allow residents to safely move back into their day-to-day lives.
He referred to Dr. Fauci who said that “we´re only a week or so away from a roll out of an effective antibody test able to tell us if we´ve developed an immunity to the COVID-19 virus”. That immunity will protect health care workers in their job without fear of infection. “And to the extent that we satisfy ourselves that we can safely go back to work, to school(…) we can all begin the work of moving out of this painful phase”
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Wolf said he hopes to move from here to the next phase in a reasonable time.
Phase 3: New normal
This is according to Wolf, “the real goal”. He said that “this phase will require time along with the recognition that the new normal will be very different from the old normal we had grown used to”. During this stage he said the state will need time to build a stockpile of the things that the health care systems need to face : deadly diseases, effective treatments, vaccines, “maybe even a cure”. And time “to rebuild our lives and our communities in ways that conform to the new altered normal.”
Besides this plan, Pennsylvania has joined a council organized by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, along with the governors of New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts to coordinate efforts to reopen their economies.