Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) has been keeping a close eye on the number of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania. He has distributed weekly updates to other legislators and anyone that follows him on social media. I talked with Grove to get his assessment of those numbers.
“Early on, we’re talking March time frame, we had exponential growth early on and then it tapered out,” Grove said. “It started declining and then with the re-opening we saw a great decline. Right now we’re in like a second wave—increased cases—but they are less severe.”
Grove said the second wave has brought far less hospitalizations and far fewer fatalities in recent weeks compared to what was going on in March and April. So what may have prompted to the second wave? Grove suggests one major factor.
“One of the big things that we’ve seen are the protests,” he said. “When I look at benchmarks and when the numbers started declining and when they started increasing, a lot points to that time when the protests and riots started in Pennsylvania, particularly in the major cities like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and the more populous counties outside of Philadelphia.”
Grove said it was then that the data started showing a rise in COVID-19 cases. He says it took a little while to get the data because there is a two-week lag in testing, which he says makes it completely pointless.
“Everything points back to those protests,” Grove said. “From what we’ve seen from the data, when those protests started subsiding, we started seeing a reduction in cases. The Wolf Administration wants to make the argument that it was the mitigation efforts on bars and restaurants and that reduced it…but I think there’s stronger evidence to say the protests and riots led to the increase. Remember during the downturn, we were re-opening Pennsylvania.”
Grove said that if you removed the protests, you would have seen a general decline in COVID cases in the general population. He also said that when you look at how day cares were successful in preventing the spread of the virus, you can make a good case for schools being able to reopen safely.