These are the states where it’s hardest to social distance – and where Pa. ranks | Tuesday Morning Coffee

April 28, 2020 7:07 am

Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

With more and more states headed toward a reopening, and COVID-19 infections still showing no signs of abating in some parts of the country, now seemed as good a time as any to take a closer look at why some states would continue on a seemingly dangerous path, with little public health gain in return.

So we’re turning this morning to an analysis by the financial literacy site, WalletHub, which compared all 50 states and Washington D.C. across 13 metrics, including whether “residents have supportive relationships [and] how non-essential travel has changed due to the pandemic,” as well as “how much consumers spent on social activities before COVID-19.”

A look at the top 10 most — and least — successful states when it comes to social distancing, along with Pennsylvania’s standing, starts after the jump.

Source: WalletHub

First up, Pennsylvania finished 33rd in the WalletHub analysis, suggesting to us that this is one of those times when Pennsylvania’s finish could have been much, much worse.

With crowded Philadelphia and Pittsburgh bookending the vast, rural middle of the Keystone State, it’s not as hard for Pennsylvanians to practice social distancing as it is in some other parts of the country. Though, we have to admit, it would have been nice to finish higher up the list.

Here then, according to the WalletHub analysis. are the 10 states that are best at social distancing:
1. Utah
2. New Hampshire
3. Montana
4. Colorado
5. Alaska
6. Massachusetts
7. Wyoming
8. Virginia
9. Idaho
10. South Dakota

And the 10 worst:
1. Alabama
2. Mississippi
3. West Virginia
4. Kentucky
5. Rhode Island
6. Arkansas
7. New Mexico
8. Oklahoma
9. Louisiana
10. Illinois

And for those of you playing along at home, Florida counterintuitively finished ahead of the Keystone State at No. 19, which may do nothing to end those #FloridaMorons hashtags on Twitter.

The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (Capital-Star photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

Our Stuff.
From our partners at The Appeal, a special report: A female ICE detainee was sick with COVID-19 for days before being removed from York Co. jail, witnesses have claimed.

Hospitals can resume elective procedures. — and Pennsylvanians can soon resume some outdoor activities, officials said Monday. Elizabeth Hardison has the details.

Correspondent Nick Field takes a deep dive into the Q1 fundraising numbers for central Pennsylvania’s hotly contested 10th Congressional District, where incumbent GOP U.S. Rep. Scott Perry is among the nation’s most-endangered incumbents.

Gov. Tom Wolf says a ‘lack of statistics’ is hobbling the work of a task force charged with examining disparities in racial/ethnic data collection for COVID-19 infections, Associate Editor Cassie Miller reports.

And a plan to turn an Erie County nursing home that’s been the subject of scrutiny into a COVID-19 recovery center is now on holdErie Correspondent Hannah McDonald reports.

On our Commentary Page, the ‘new normal’ has given us an opportunity to craft a better normal, a trio of state House Democratic leaders writes. And we can’t just paper over the cracks that the pandemic has exposed, we have to fill them in thoroughly, says Marc Stier of the Pennsylvania Budget & Policy Center.

Two Republican state senators have threatened to subpoena Gov. Tom Wolf if he doesn’t turn over information about the administration’s waiver system, Spotlight PA reports.
Some Pittsburgh-area Republican candidates are taking flak for showing up at an anti-quarantine protest last week, Pittsburgh City Paper reports.
With counties looking to consolidate polling places, voting rights’ advocates fear disenfranchisement, PennLive reports.
Mental health professionals speak to the Morning Call about managing your coronavirus anxiety.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

Scranton’s gas card system suffers from a lack of oversight and accountability, a new audit has found. The Times-Tribune has the story (paywall).
Broadband access is set to expand in Washington and Greene counties, the Observer-Reporter reports.
Pitt-Bradford grads were honored at a virtual ceremony, the Bradford Era reports.
Things are getting nasty in the GOP primary for NEPA’s 8th Congressional DistrictPoliticsPA reports.
Violating CDC guidelines, some cities are sweeping homeless tent encampments, reports.
Roll Call 
looks at how states are navigating a flood of unemployment claims.

What Goes On.
The House comes in at 11 a.m.; the Senate convenes at 1 p.m.
And here’s a look at committee action for the day.

In the House:

And in the Senate:

    Senate Chamber  (LIVE STREAMED), Off the Floor

Time TBD: Daily COVID-19 briefing

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo and Carolyn Myers at Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, both of whom celebrate today. Congratulations and enjoy the day.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a classic from Jamiroquai that popped up last night. It’s Space Cowboy.’

Tuesday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link. 
looks at the prank that changed baseball history. 

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.