Pittsburgh’s Phantom Pandemic
OK, OK, though it’s getting less likely every day, I know the coronavirus could still flare up.
But so far, since early March and as of April 20, there have been a total of 55 Covid-19 deaths in Allegheny County, where the city of Pittsburgh is located.
In a county population of 1.3 million Steelers fans, only 42 people have been put on ventilators over a period of four weeks. 84 percent of deaths are age 70 and above. The recent death of a 42-year-old man was the first victim under age 50.
I’m not an epidemiologist or a disease modeler, but 55 deaths in a month — while tragic — sounds like a phantom pandemic to me. It actually gets even more absurd.
According to the state health department, 39 of Allegheny County’s first 55 deaths occurred in nursing homes. If you are math-impaired, that’s 71 percent of the county’s Covid-19 deaths.
In other words, only 16 people in a county of 1.3 million who were not living in a nursing home or a care facility have died of the coronavirus — since early March.
It’s virtually the same missing pandemic story across the state: Most of the deaths by far have been over the age of 65 and the state health department reported on Monday that 682 of the state’s then 1,204 Covid-19 deaths were in personal care facilities. (The new total as of Tuesday was 1,564.)
These low numbers illustrate the idiocy of Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to throw the entire state into a social and economic coma, tell everyone to cower in their homes like children and decree that as of today everyone must wear a mask to ride a bus or enter a grocery store.
Wolf’s decision to close everything from parks and golf courses to liquor stores is so stupid and so over-reaching it’s embarrassing. He’s lucky there are a bunch of other governors around the country who are almost as stupid.
Except for the Philly four-county area, which has now accounted for slightly more than half of the state’s 1,204 Covid-19 deaths, the state’s citizens have been relatively unscathed by the coronavirus pandemic.
About 25 of the state’s 67 counties have yet to record a single Covid-19 death. Sprawling and rural Washington County, where I live with 219,999 other masked men and women, has two C-19 deaths. Since early March.
In other words, the pandemic either was already here and gone or it’s coming next month, but it sure ain’t here now.
The national and local media and the people in charge, including Trump and his doctors and Gov. Wolf and most of his peers, have consistently implied if not declared outright that everyone everywhere in America is equally at risk of catching and possibly dying of Covid-19.
That is obviously not true, and never was. Pittsburgh is proof of that. The city — and all of western Pennsylvania — should be reopened by this weekend.
Deaths in Allegheny County from Covid-19 have edged up to 73, with 84 percent over 70 years of age.
So far, in five weeks, 83 people have been put in ICUs and 50 have been placed on ventilators. The pandemic seems to be skipping Pittsburgh. Of 5,500 beds in the UPMC hospital system, only 2% are occupied by COVID-19 patients, as are 8% percent of intensive care beds.
UPMC has plenty of masks and other gear and has decided it’s time to open hospitals to elective procedures.
Somebody clue Gov. Wolf.
The good news is that after five weeks very few Pittsburgh area people have died of Covid-19: 69 in Allegheny County (media age of 83, which means half of the deaths were over age 83 and half were under).
As this article shows, even with such low numbers, local health officials can’t get the numbers straight:
Allegheny County officials said Thursday there have been 69 coronavirus deaths in the county, down from the 74 they reported Wednesday. The reason for the decrease: A county health department worker identified duplicate deaths Wednesday when reviewing data.
Of reported deaths, 62 are confirmed (had positive test) and seven are probable. A probable death is one where COVID-19 is listed on the deceased’s death certificate, but the person didn’t have a positive test for the virus.
All deaths are of individuals ranging in age from 42-103, with 83 being the median age of those who have died.
Counting all deaths in the five-county Pittsburgh area, the total is 145 deaths (most of them have been in nursing homes, which have been locked down for over a month.)
Think it might be time for Gov. Wolf to let this end of the state reopen?
The Allegheny County Health Department has announced 29 additional coronavirus cases and 7 new deaths in Allegheny County to bring the death total to 74 confirmed or probable deaths related to COVID-19, five less than reported on Tuesday. Out of the 74 deaths, 59 cases are confirmed and 15 are probable. The age range of those who have died range from 42-103, with 84 being the median age. There have been 196 total hospitalizations to date, ongoing or in the past, eight more than Tuesday.
Allegheny Count’s death toll jumped 12 to 67 on Tuesday, April 21, but only 55 of those deaths were confirmed with a positive test as being Covid-19 deaths. The rest, the AP said, were counted as Covid-19 deaths but classified as ‘probable’ under the state health department’s new policy “of counting probable deaths, or deaths in which a coroner or medical examiner listed COVID-19 as the cause or contributing cause but the deceased were not tested for the virus.” In other words, even the data on coronavirus fatalities is getting fuzzier.)
I agree. I said six weeks ago that this could be the largest over reaction in US history; considered a criminal declaration by the big government libs in my family. Thanks for putting this out there. We should urge the at-risk folks to protect themselves, and their families and friends should help them by keeping their distance, but everyone else should live their lives. One size does not fit all — people, cities or states. We can’t wait for a vaccine to resume some reasonable facsimile of normal life.
There’s always going to be imbeciles who are going to discount and question the hard precautionary measures that were taken. Bottom line is those precautions caused those low number and certainly saved lives (even one saved life is worth the inconvenience). For some, it’s hard financially I get that. But people are soooo selfish these days they rant about personal inconveniences while not even considering it’s life or death for high risk folks. Can’t satisfy the naysayer, cause these are the same dumbasses that would blame Govt for not acting fast enough to save lives.
We don’t know yet and may never know without a whole lot of data whether the hard precautionary measures that were taken kept the deaths so low in Western Pa but not in Philly. I find it hard to believe that it was because people in rural counties were so good at practicing social distancing that they have dodged the virus completely. At the risk of being lumped in with the imbeciles, I’d argue that it’s not too bright to say “even one saved life is worth the inconvenience” of, I presume, a shutdown like the state-wide, broad-brushed, over-done one Gov. Wolf gave us. I assume you have a job still or don’t need one. But there are a lot of Pittsburghers and people in empty places like Somerset County who are out of work and worried about their futures solely because Gov. Wolf couldn’t restrain himself. They aren’t being selfish, I don’t think, or unjustly complaining about the ‘inconvenience’ of having their lives blown up. And yes, it’s life or death for a small portion of high-risk folks (the old, the already sick, almost entirely) in specific places. But there were ways to protect and treat them without closing the entire state. Wolf is going to go down as the biggest imbecile.
Only imbeciles use that term.
He did the best he could. Nearly every other governor and every leader of nearly every nation did the same. Arm chair QB, and the Steelers are not even playing.
Obviously you fail to consider or mention those front line hero’s who helped keep the toll low. It’s not just about you, it’s about all of us. We will be fine you can golf again soon and hit the tavern.
Let’s be positive. The curve bendt, openings ahead.
It has nothing to do with me or my golfing and I don’t go to bars or drink whisky. It has to do with a governor who needlessly shut down the entire state when he should have shut down the eastern third of it, at most. Of course I applaud the heroes who’ve worked to help the infected here and elsewhere. Happy? But the reality is very few heroes were needed in western Pa. and virtually every other county except the Philly counties because the pandemic has either been here and gone already or hasn’t shown up. The longer Pa. is shutdown the more economic and social damage there will be for all of us — especially to the poor and the millions of unemployed who are now going to have to figure out how live and work in an economy that has been destroyed by the severe shutdowns of Trump and governors like Wolf.