May Already? | Five for Your Weekend

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Happy weekend, everyone!

It was March … and now, suddenly, it’s May!

Under normal circumstances, we would all be busy planning and attending graduations and graduation parties, celebrating Mother’s Day with loved ones and planning summer trips and backyard-gatherings, but instead, many of us are preparing to take our first steps back into a modified normal version of our lives.

As we begin to reemerge, the Capital-Star will continue to work hard, bringing you the news you need about COVID-19 and the key issues that affect your lives. At a time of trial, the need for clear, concise reporting is more important than ever. And we’re going to deliver it to you. If you have questions or want to pass along story tips, email us at [email protected].

As for our usual disclaimer: Continue self-isolating, stay informed and follow the advice and precautions laid out by state health officials.

As always, the top five stories from this week’s news are below to help you stay current.

All the best,
Cassie Miller | Associate Editor

1. COVID-19 outbreak in Pa.: What’s open and what’s closedThis story will be updated with the latest COVID-related re-openings. Last update: Friday, May 1, 2020.

Updated: Construction, as well as golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips and privately owned campgrounds have resumed statewide. Gov. Tom Wolf and state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine are set to hold a 2 p.m. briefing on Friday, May 1 to discuss the state’s initial round of reopenings on May 8.

Updated: Gov. Tom Wolf has announced that golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips and privately owned campgrounds may reopen statewide beginning on May 1.The administration also announced that hospitals may resume elective surgeries under state guidelines.

Update: Gov. Tom Wolf has announced a phased reopening of the state, starting May 8. Construction will resume May 1. And the state has now authorized online car sales.

2. COVID-19 in Pennsylvania: Tracking the outbreak with maps and graphsThe staff at the Capital-Star is working round-the-clock to keep you updated on the COVID-19 pandemic in Pennsylvania. Our continually updated graphics use state Department of Health data to show you the latest in testing data, total case counts, and the geographic spread of the virus.

First, our county-level map shows how many cases have been confirmed in each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. We’re currently updating this at least once a day with information from the Department of Health’s noon-time press releases.

This map only uses data from the state Department of Health, so it may not include new cases that you’ve seen reported in local media outlets. Local hospitals and health officials report their cases to the state, and we’re relying on state data to make sure we’re not over-counting patients.

3. This is my family’s COVID-19 story. May all their lives be a blessingIt was around 1 a.m. last Friday, and my wife, Marni, nudged me awake. Her shoulders shook in the darkness. The tears ran freely down her face.

“She’s gone,” she said softly, her voice filled with depthless pain and loss and disbelief.

It was the news that we prayed would not come. After three weeks of a brave fight that saw her pingpong from the brink of death to what we cautiously hoped was her recovery, my wife’s mother, Rona Gertz, 74, of Manalapan, N.J., died on April 24 of complications from COVID-19.

And in a split-second, Rona, a whole person, with a life fully lived, joined the sad cohort of the more than 61,000 Americans who have so far lost their lives in the pandemic. Taken on its own, the tally is so vast that it’s almost incomprehensible. It’s a faceless sea of data.

But in every death, in every empty place at the table, there is a story.

4. The latest on COVID-19 in Pa.: 46,971 confirmed cases in 67 countiesWelcome to the Capital-Star’s COVID-19 dashboard, where we’re tracking new COVID-19 cases and testing data based on the latest information from state health officials.

Our interactive graphics are updated at roughly noon each day with the latest figures from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

These figures represent a running total of all the COVID-19 cases and tests that have been reported to the Department of Health since March 6, when state officials confirmed the first two cases of the disease in Pennsylvania.

5. Wolf wants us to trust the experts. But too many questions are unanswered | OpinionBy Matthew J. Brouillette

It’s not an understatement to say every Pennsylvanian has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands have faced the virus itself, over a million children are not in school, and more than 1.5 million workers have lost their jobs as a result of Gov. Wolf’s shutdown.

The governor assures us his decisions are ‘data-driven,’ and that we need to ‘believe the science’ in combating COVID-19.

But what exactly is the data driving these decisions? And what is the science we are to believe?

And that’s the week. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. We’ll see you all back here on Monday.

Cassie Miller
A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.