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April 13-17 Explained: 'The Curve,' Remote Learning, Health Disparities & Transit Troubles

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
Members of the National Guard help guide traffic at a meal distribution site set up by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

It’s been about a month since schools and businesses shut down in Pennsylvania, in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. The goal of these restrictive social distancing measures is to flatten the curve.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s shutdown order extends through at least the end of April, and public schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year. With schools closed, districts around the region, including Pittsburgh Public, are working to get laptops to students who may not normally have access to the technology they’ll need at home.


Helping explain the headlines this week:

Wolf announced this week that Pennsylvania would coordinate with six other states on reopening the economy: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. 

But just because Pennsylvania is working with other northeastern states, doesn’t mean that all the states will reopen at once, according to state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.

“It’s not going to be one grand opening of the state,” Levine said. “It’s going to have to go in a slow, progressive fashion, region by region, county by county, maybe even municipality by municipality.”


Wolf says the return to “normal” is going to be a transition and no one knows how long it will take.

“The hope is we can do it in a reasonable time frame,” Wolf said. “The real goal of course is to get to the point where we can fully resume our normal lives. This will require time, along with a recognition that the new normal will be very different from the old normal we had grown used to.”

Pittsburgh Explainer is hosted by Liz Reid and produced by Katie Blackley. New episodes come out every Friday. Subscribe on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher and Spotify.

Katie Blackley is a digital editor/producer for 90.5 WESA, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. She's the producer of Pittsburgh Explainer and our Good Question! series. She also covers history and the LGBTQ community.
Liz Reid oversees newsroom operations at WESA. She began working at WESA in 2013 as a general assignment reporter and weekend host. Since then, she’s worked as the Morning Edition producer, health & science reporter and as an editor. You can reach her at