New cases of COVID-19 continue to increase in Philadelphia

Pat Loeb
July 02, 2020 - 3:21 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) Philadelphia officials say new cases of COVID-19 continue to increase, dashing any hope for a reprieve on indoor dining and gyms. 

Health Commissioner Tom Farley says new cases are averaging 110 per day, where last week they were hovering around 100 a day. 

That’s not as steep an increase as in other parts of the country and state, but it underlines the need to continue to stay home as much as possible and wear masks when you go out, which is now required statewide.

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“Now this second wave has got to be disheartening, after so much progress we made. It has got to be disheartening to see case rates rise here and around the country. It is clear that we will be living with this virus for a long time,” he said. 

Farley says there is hopeful news, though, on the vaccine production front. 

More than 100 are in development, 19 are in human trials, and he says the results on test animals suggest that it’s easy to train the immune system to develop antibodies to the virus.

“Or to put it in plain language, COVID-19 is nasty but it looks like it’s not very smart,” he explained. 

Farley predicts a vaccine will be ready to deploy widely sometime next year, at which point, measures such as masks and social distancing will no longer be needed.

Holiday weekend

If people plan on traveling for the long holiday weekend, Bucks County health officials urge them to still take precautions amid the ongoing pandemic.

“Sometimes a third of our cases — sometimes closer to half of our cases — are from travel,” said Health Director David Damsker. “These are people that went to states like Florida, Arizona, the Jersey Shore, (that) we’re seeing cases from.”

Damkser acknowledged people are used to celebrating in large gatherings for the Fourth of July, but that should be avoided this year.

“Bars are one of the places that can be overwhelmed with people, that are certainly not social distancing and certainly won’t be wearing masks,” he said. “We are making this a major initiative for the health department and everyone who has a bar, any restaurant that has that, needs to know that we will be looking. 

“We’re hoping that everyone will just comply voluntarily.”

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KYW Newsradio’s Suzanne Monaghan contributed to this report.