Why did the country close over COVID-19 and not the flu?

By CONNOR ROHLF –  It’s impossible not to notice the effects that COVID-19 has had on our community, our state, our country, and even the world.

COVID-19, however, is not as widespread as the flu.

According to the Center for Disease Control, its estimate for flu illnesses in the United States from October 1, 2019 through April 4, 2020, is between 39 million to 59 million cases.  As of 18 June, 2020, the CDC reports that the coronavirus, which shut down the country, has been confirmed in 2.2 million cases.

So why did Pennsylvania shut down?

The flu has a much higher infection rate than COVID-19.  However, there were many unknowns about COVID-19 and concerns that hospitals would be overwhelmed with patients needing ventilators.  Since there wasn’t a vaccine, the only way to “flatten the curve” was essentially quarantine.

Since Governor Tom Wolf issued the executive order shutting down schools and non-essential business as of March 13, accurate testing for COVID-19 has expanded.  More testing naturally results in more diagnoses, but the number of fatalities has held steady except in long-term care facilities.  As of June 18, Indiana County has had 89 confirmed cases and 8 probable cases with only 5 deaths.

Indiana just entered green on June 5.  After almost two months of shutdown, businesses are finally able to reopen with some restrictions and after spiking unemployment, many are able to return to work.  However, many annual activities and festivals, including the Indiana County Fair, have had to be canceled.

This has never happened for the flu.


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