Until yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf had been holding firm on a stay-at-home order and other important safety measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. We are deeply troubled by the Governor’s announcement yesterday to loosen social distancing guidelines before increasing testing, a move that will endanger millions of people already working on the frontlines of this pandemic.
The stay-at-home order should continue for as long as health officials deem necessary to save lives. As medical experts have expressed over and over again that the present level of testing availability is woefully inadequate to safely end restrictions. Governor Wolf must work toward a dramatic increase in COVID-19 testing across Pennsylvania before any changes are made to stay-at-home orders.
“The people who have already made the most sacrifices in this crisis, our frontline workers across industries and those already vulnerable prior to this pandemic, will be put in grave danger with Governor Wolf’s newly announced approach,” said Michaela Purdue Lovegood, Deputy Executive Director of PA Stands Up. “If the Governor doesn’t put our safety first, there will be no economy to save.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy economic and psychological toll on millions of Pennsylvanians. This crisis has exposed that our economy doesn’t work for all of us, our healthcare system is broken, and our political system is not responsive to the needs of people. Our collective isolation from each other is both a profound struggle and a necessary sacrifice to save as many lives as possible. Our economic losses are already devastating, but abandoning our efforts prematurely would erase any of the ground we’ve made so far, making all of these sacrifices, including the profound loss of life, a vain effort.
Governor Wolf should move back the timeframe of his plan to coincide with a comprehensive COVID-19 testing plan. To date, according to data provided by the Wolf administration, only 1.3% of Pennsylvania’s population has been tested so far. Even the most knowledgeable epidemiologists cannot realistically claim to know where this virus is heading, how vulnerable we are to a second wave, nor how many graves will be dug for our parents, our neighbors, and our friends.The Governor should not bow to special interests and a vocal minority, who would recklessly sacrifice our lives.
Pennsylvania Stands Up is launching a petition today which includes this demand of Governor Wolf for a mass-testing strategy implemented across the Commonwealth, among other needed reforms during this profoundly difficult moment.
Pennsylvania Stands Up is a grassroots organization with nine chapters and over a thousand dues-paying members across the Commonwealth. Our mission is to bring everyday Pennsylvanians—urban and rural, white, black, and brown—into the political process and to make a Pennsylvania that works for all of us.