By Peter Gleason
It’s been almost three weeks since Philly, like much of the country, has been locked down due to the coronavirus and the effort to contain it.
No live sports to watch or to bet on.
And, according to the data, we’re doing better than most of the rest of the USA.
We haven’t totally avoided it: Cases reached 2,430 by the end of the week; hundreds more are added every day and 26 people have died, according to the Philly Health Department.
But the city may not be as overwhelmed as some others.
The public health commissioner sprang into action soon after word emerged of the virus in China, holding meetings with hospital administrators as early as January.
Testing equipment was purchased early, and Temple University offered space for additional hospital beds.
The city expects to have sufficient beds to withstand even a worst-case scenario, though it is scrambling to secure the needed equipment, including ventilators.
Dr. Tony S. Reed, chief medical officer at Temple University Hospital, said that the ordeal of the Spanish Flu in 1918, which killed 16,000 people — enduring the second-highest death rate in the country, next to Pittsburgh — has informed its response to the current epidemic. “The state has handled it very differently, and the city handled it radically differently,” he said. “Frankly, for us it’s going to make all the difference in the world.”