PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — For the second day in a row, there was an increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Allegheny County.
“We don’t want to backslide,” says Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
And in the new numbers, Fitzgerald says, the cases are “mostly young people, people in their 20s and 30s.”
Kevin Havovick of Bethel Park says, “I think that people are comfortable not wearing masks as much since we went green.”
In fact, Madison Miranda, who lives in the Strip District and is careful about her mask-wearing, says her fellow millennials have been anxious to get back together.
“The bars have opened up recently and a lot of millennials are out protesting, and I think the large grouping of people is why this is resurfacing,” Havovick said.
Marvi Wahla agrees.
“Now that places have opened up, people forget that the virus is still around. They think because places are open, they can do things and go about without the mask and do whatever,” Wahla said.
Another millennial, Dwight Dwyer from Homewood, was blunt.
“People are just losing it, man. People don’t care,” Dwyer said.
Fitzgerald concedes younger people may not face the dire sickness of their grandparents, “but the spread can occur by anybody. It doesn’t matter about your age or what you do. You can spread the disease.”
That is a major concern for businesses like Simple Greek in Market Square, which has been devastated by the impact of coronavirus.
Owner Rich Machel says his business is down “70, almost 80 percent.”
More information on the Coronavirus pandemic:
- CDC Coronavirus Information
- CDC Global Map of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases
- Pennsylvania Department of Health Information
- Allegheny County Health Department Information
Machel says with many downtown offices empty, take-out business alone won’t keep him afloat. He needs customers to sit inside and outside.
“I need it to stay green and we all do, not only here but throughout the city,” Machel said.
Fitzgerald says Allegheny County worked hard to get to the “green” phase and “we don’t want to go and close things down again. If we get too relaxed and don’t keep the social and physical distancing, wear the masks and wash our hands as the medical experts have told us to, we could end up like Florida, Arizona and Texas.”
A spike could mean the return to the “yellow” phase, which Marvi Wahla thinks will come once the schools reopen.
“I think after a month or two, they are going to have to close again. And the same with businesses and offices. A lot of people are going to have to start working at home again because the virus is still here, cases are going up. I think it’s still a problem,” Wahla said.
There is no set number of how much of an increase would prompt a return to the “yellow” phase.
Fitzgerald is hopeful a reinforcement of the mitigation efforts will return the curve to a downward trend and avoid a setback.