In the Fall of 2020, the pandemic of COVID-19 surged again in Philadelphia. To flatten the epidemic curve, prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, and reduce the number of COVID-19 deaths, the City of Philadelphia introduced a number of new social distancing restrictions, effective November 20, 2020 through January 1, 2021.
After falling through much of the summer, daily case counts of COVID-19 began to rise exponentially in late September, reaching all-time highs in mid-November. While in part this increase was related to increased testing, the percent of tests that were positive also rose during this period. This increase in case counts was followed by increases in the number of people newly hospitalized for COVID-19, increases in the number of inpatients with COVID-19, increases in cases in long-term care facilities, and increases in deaths from COVID-19.
The increase in COVID-19 in the Fall was predicted by many experts, who believed that COVID-19 would follow the pattern of other respiratory viruses, which are more easily spread when people spend more time indoors and the air is colder and dryer.
Since the coronavirus first arrived in the United States in early 2020, there have been advances in testing and treatment. Nonetheless, with the extraordinarily high and rapidly increasing case rates, unless strong action is taken to prevent this Fall-Winter surge, Philadelphia’s hospitals may become overwhelmed and many people in Philadelphia will die unnecessarily from COVID-19.