The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed 1,146 additional positive cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 25,345.
One new case was reported in Mercer County, which now has 44 total virus cases.
The department also reported 60 new deaths among positive cases, bringing the statewide total to 584.
Pennsylvania’s single-day percentage increase, 50 percent on March 26, was 4.7 percent Tuesday. The state has doubled its number of cases since April 5, nine days ago.
“COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise in Pennsylvania, and even though the daily increases are not exponential, now is not the time to become complacent,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We must continue to stay home to protect ourselves, our families, our community. If you must go out, please make as few trips as possible and wear a mask to protect not only yourself, but other people as well. We need all Pennsylvanians to continue to heed these efforts to protect our vulnerable Pennsylvanians, our health care workers and frontline responders.”
A total of 108,286 patients have tested negative to date. Of the patients who have tested positive to date the age breakdown is as follows: less than 1 percent are 0-4, nearly 1 percent are 5-12, 1 percent are 13-18, nearly 7 percent are 19-24, 40 percent are 25-49, nearly 29 percent are 50-64 and 22 percent are 65 or older.
Most of the patients hospitalized are aged 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. There have been no pediatric deaths to date.
U.S. governors work toward reopening economies
Governors around the U.S. began collaborating on plans Tuesday to reopen their economies in what is likely to be a drawn-out, step-by-step process to prevent the new coronavirus from rebounding with disastrous results.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, said the U.S. does not yet have the critical testing and tracing procedures needed to begin reopening the nation’s economy, adding a dose of caution to increasingly optimistic projections from the White House.
“We have to have something in place that is efficient and that we can rely on, and we’re not there yet,” Fauci said in an interview with The Associated Press.
In parts of Europe where infections and deaths have begun stabilizing, the process was already underway. Certain businesses and industries have been allowed to reopen in a calibrated effort by politicians to balance public health against their countries’ economic well-being.
Vaccine candidates advance in testing
Three potential COVID-19 vaccines are making fast progress in early-stage testing in volunteers in China and the U.S., but it’s still a long road to prove if they’ll really work.
China’s CanSino Biologics is beginning the second phase of testing its vaccine candidate, China’s Ministry of Science and Technology said Tuesday.
In the U.S., a shot made by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. isn’t far behind. The first person to receive that experimental vaccine last month returned to a Seattle clinic Tuesday for a second dose.
Fauci told The Associated Press there are “no red flags” so far and he hoped the next, larger phase of testing could begin around June.
A third candidate, from Inovio Pharmaceuticals, began giving experimental shots for first-step safety testing last week in the U.S. and hopes to expand its studies to China.
Initial tests focus on safety, and researchers in both countries are trying out different doses of different types of shots. Moving into the second phase is a critical step that allows vaccines to be tested in many more people to look for signs that they protect against infection.
Last week, CanSino filed a report showing it aimed to enroll 500 people in this next study, comparing two doses of the vaccine to dummy shots.
Looking ahead, Fauci said if the new coronavirus continues to circulate widely enough over the summer and fall, it might be possible to finish larger studies slightly sooner than the 12 to 18 months he’d originally predicted – maybe toward “mid to late winter of next season.”
“Please let me say this caveat: That is assuming that it’s effective. See, that’s the big ‘if,’” Fauci stressed. “It’s got to be effective, and it’s got to be safe.”