Gov. Tom Wolf, likely the most protected public figure in Pennsylvania, announced Wednesday he tested positive for COVID-19.
Wolf said he was asymptomatic and “feeling well,” but noted he was infected despite following all the protocols for staying safe. If the governor can be infected, anyone can.
“As this virus rages, my positive test is a reminder that no one is immune from COVID,” Wolf said.
The announcement comes as Wolf considers imposing new restrictions on gyms, bars and restaurants and casinos as coronavirus infection rates and hospitalizations soar. The governor has said new measures won’t be as restrictive as the shutdowns he imposed in March, but whatever he comes up with won’t work without the cooperation of everyday Pennsylvanians.
The shutdowns earlier this year closed schools, cratered local economies, put thousands out of work and drove swarms of small businesses and people to early graves. Wolf was characterized by some (Republicans) as a tyrant abusing powers his office does not grant him. Many of these critics refused to wear face masks or practice social distancing and have since been infected and passed the virus to God knows how many others.
What none of those critics will acknowledge now is that Wolf’s spring/summer shutdowns worked. The curve was flattened. The spread of the virus was controlled. Hospitals were not overrun. Fewer people died.
When the shutdowns were lifted, infection and death rates began a steady, speedy climb. Fed a steady stream of potential victims, the virus is raging across the commonwealth as a cold, dark winter looms ahead. By all expert measures, what we endured in the spring and summer will seem like a luxury vacation compared to what’s coming.
And still some Pennsylvanians refuse to take simple steps to keep themselves and others safe. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Avoid crowds. Don’t make unnecessary trips out in public. If you see these nominal requirements as tyrannical infringements on your civil rights, you are really going to hate the limits COVID-19 will impose.
The only right the virus recognizes is your right to breathe. Until you can’t.
Wolf’s infection lays bare a hard truth about the pandemic: Whatever restrictions he imposes, the virus had a heart start and will run the show until the public starts taking it seriously and accepts individual responsibility for beating it.
The governor got it. Now do you get it?