Schools Will Close Again

Schools Will Close Again

As coronavirus numbers surge in some areas and hold steady or dip in others, it’s easy to forget where we started. The bigger the numbers get, the less they seem to shock us. Remember, just two months ago, when the New York Times created this graphic to help us feel the impact of the unimaginable milestone of 100,000 U.S. deaths? Since then, we’ve added nearly 60,000 more deaths, and we are quickly approaching five million confirmed cases. Yesterday morning, as I have done every morning since this pandemic started, I scanned my local newspaper for the latest case numbers in my state (Pennsylvania) and my area (the Lehigh Valley, which is north of Philadelphia and borders New Jersey). For the first day since March, Pennsylvania reported no new deaths. The state added 565 new cases, including only about seven in my area. This area was a hot spot early on, given our proximity to Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York City. Those numbers felt so low to me (hell, Florida logged 10 times that on the same day) that I thought, for the briefest of moments: Maybe it’ll be okay when school reopens. Which got me wondering... how many cases did Pennsylvania have when the governor shut down all K-12 public schools across the state back in mid-March? I had to look up the answer: 33. That’s 33 confirmed cases in the entire state—and zero deaths. And still we would become a hot spot, still our numbers ...
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