Indoor Dining Ban Extended in Philadelphia as Officials Say the “Second Wave” of COVID-19 Has Arrived
The "second wave" of coronavirus infections has reached the city of Philadelphia, the city's health commissioner said on Tuesday. As a result of the surge in cases, the city has postponed the start of indoor dining to no earlier than September 1. Previously they were hoping to allow it on August 1.
"The second wave has simply hit us right now," Philadelphia's Health Commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, said during Tuesday's COVID-19 press briefing.
Philadelphia reported 142 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, bringing the city's total to 29,945 cases since the outbreak began earlier this year. While no new COVID-19 deaths were reported on Tuesday, officials say there have been a total of 1,678 COVID-19 related deaths in the city of Philadelphia since the pandemic began.
Farley blamed the city's so-called "second wave" on southern states for reopening too early.
"Between March and May there was an epidemic wave that more or less started in New York City and then spread south and west, hit Philadelphia on the way," Farley said. "Then after Southern states reopened too quickly and too recklessly, it’s a second wave that started there and then is spreading north and east from there. That wave’s now just arrived in Philadelphia."
Thirty-six percent of the city's new infections involve people under 30 years old, officials said on Tuesday.
The city of Philadelphia is also expanding its contact tracing program to help gather close contacts of those who test positive for the virus. Health officials have hired 108 people to help lead the program.