These states are waging the most aggressive fight against COVID-19. How did Pa. do? | Wednesday Morning Coffee

March 18, 2020 7:21 am

Governor Tom Wolf at a March 12 press conference announcing Pennsylvania’s new COVID-19 response strategies. Source: Commonwealth Media Services.

Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

When it comes to fighting the ever-expanding public health menace that is COVID-19, there’s little doubt that state officials from coast to coast are putting in long hours and going that extra mile to make sure their residents stay safe.

Even so, as is the case in every emergency, officials in one jurisdiction find hacks and workarounds that later serve as models for other states contending with the same challenges. And there is certainly no challenge more uniting than COVID-19.

In that spirit, we’re presenting this analysis from the data-crunchers at the financial literacy site WalletHub, which measured all 50 states and Washington D.C. across 35 different metrics to determine which state was waging the most aggressive fight against the coronavirus.

The metrics ranged “from tested cases of COVID-19 per capita and state legislation on the pandemic to the uninsured population and share of the workforce in affected industries,” WalletHub said.

Read on to see highest performing states, and to see where Pennsylvania, which has ramped up its testing capacity, finished.

Source: WalletHub

The Keystone State finished 21st in the aggressiveness of its approach, based on the WalletHub analysis. The state ranked 22nd, 25th, and 33rd, respectively, when it was measured against WalletHub’s prevention and containment, risk factor & infrastructure, and economic impact metrics.

The five states with the most aggressive approach to fighting the outbreak were, based on WalletHub’s metrics, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, New York and Washington State, which has been an epicenter of the outbreak.

The ranking list does provide some food for thought for Pennsylvania policymakers: The state finished 47th nationwide in its per-capita spending on public health emergency preparedness, suggesting that’s an area that lawmakers could address during budget deliberations this spring (whatever those look like in our new social distancing era).

We’ll give full credit to Gov. Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Rachel Levine, their respective staffs, and all those state officials who have handled this emergency with dignity, steadiness and aplomb.

And while we have no doubt that state officials have been in contact with their counterparts in other states to share tips and strategy, we are hopeful this 50,000-foot-view will provide further fodder for conversation.

Someone’s always building a better mousetrap. And Rhode Island has excellent lobster rolls. There’s gotta be a one-for-one swap in there someplace.

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

Our Stuff.
Pennsylvania was up to 96 COVID-19 cases as of midday on Tuesday, and state officials were looking at opening mobile testing sites in the Philly area — which has been hardest-hit by the outbreak. Stephen Caruso and Elizabeth Hardison have what you need to know.

Republicans picked up state House seats in a trio of special elections in western Pennsylvania and Bucks County on Tuesday night. Stephen Caruso has the details.

Caruso also gets you smart fast on what’s open and what’s not, now that the Wolf administration has asked for bars, restaurants and other non-essential businesses to close their doors.

The state Senate will convene briefly this Wednesday to consider a rules change allowing for remote voting. Hardison has the details.

In non-virus news, Associate Editor Cassie Miller continues her conversations with women running for office in 2020. This morning, it’s Democratic 31st Senate District candidate Shanna Danielson, who’s challenging first-term GOP Sen. Mike Regan, R-York.

On our Commentary Page, opinion regular Simon F. Haeder, of Penn Stateparses the Trump administration’s initial response to the COVID-19 outbreak. And Joe Minott, of the Clean Air Council, keeps our #PennForward coverage rolling with an op-Ed in support of Pennsylvania’s entrance into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Voters line up at a polling place on Election Day. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Voters said Tuesday’s special election in Bucks County was too important to miss – despite the coronavirus risk, the Inquirer reports.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice David Wecht is under self-quarantine after his son presumptively tested positive for the coronavirus, the Post-Gazette reports.
The Morning Call has the latest list of coronavirus restrictions for local governments.
Police in central Pennsylvania won’t respond to some calls to avoid virus exposurePennLive reports.

Here’s your #Philadelphia Instagram of the Day:

After ‘mixed messages,’ state and Philly officials have reached agreement on shuttering daycare centers because of the coronavirus, WHYY-FM reports.
A Cumberland County man with COVID-19 talks to the PA Posabout his issues getting tested for the virus.
PoliticsPA asks its readers whether Pennsylvania should delay its primary.
The virus outbreak has led to lawmakers in some states to push paid leave reports.
Anyone remember the presidential campaign? It now leans toward the Dems, political analyst Stu Rothenberg writes for Roll Call.What Goes On.
Keep your ears open for another Wolf administration COVID-19 briefing, 2 p.m. seems to be the going time. Like everything else right now, things are… flux-y.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out to PennLive restaurant reviewer Mimi Brodeur, who celebrates today. Congratulations and enjoy the day.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s an anthem to indomitability — or, perhaps, it’s just about falling off your barstool. But whatever. We could use a pick me up these days. It’s ‘Tubthumping,’ by Chumbawumba.

Wednesday’s Gratuitous History Fact.
Today in 1892Lord Stanley, yes that one, presents the Silver Challenge Cup for Hockey. The Cup is later renamed in his honor. Someone in Philadelphia boos him.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.