HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — March 5, 2020. A year ago to the day is the last time Pennsylvanians would enjoy a world without COVID-19.
The next day, former Pa. Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine would announce the first two cases in Delaware and Wayne Counties.
“We do expect more cases to be coming in the next couple days and weeks,” Levine said.
And Pa. certainly did. A week later, Governor Tom Wolf closed schools indefinitely.
“This is going to be like a flood in your hometown,” one member of Wolf’s Administration explained.
On March 19, the day after the state’s first COVID death, non-essential businesses were ordered to close.
“Are we gonna be able to make it through this or not?” a local restaurant owner asked.
On April 1, a statewide stay-at-home order was issued and coronavirus cases exploded.
Next came the mask mandates on April 4, 2020.
Governor Wolf began easing restrictions and stay-at-home orders on May 8 through color-coded phases.
As the leaves changed, Pennsylvanians were asked to do the same by staying home for the holidays as COVID-19 cases spiked again.
“We are seeing people get sick at a faster rate than ever before,” Gov. Wolf said.
On Dec. 10, exactly two weeks after Thanksgiving, Pa. had its one-day record-high of 12,814 COVID-19 cases.
But as numbers seemed bleak, Pa. saw its first shot of hope on Dec. 14, 2020. UPMC Pittsburgh employees got the COVID-19 vaccine. And the Midstate came shortly after.
“This is what will get us out of these masks,” a UPMC doctor urged.
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March 5, 2021: 944,196 total cases and 868,149 fully-vaccinated Pennsylvanians.
“It’s been a tough year. We have reason year for hope, but also it’s been an amazing year to show ourselves what we’re made of,” Gov. Wolf said.
As for the return to normal, Gov. Wolf says things are getting better every day and the end is near.
This is a marathon, the Pa. governor said. You wouldn’t sprint in the last mile — the same rules apply here. Keep up those mitigation efforts.