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

Apr 17, 2020

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:

  • Sarah Boden reports on health and science
  • Sarah Schneider, education reporter
  • Margaret J. Krauss, development and transportation reporter currently covering how the virus is impacting Pittsburgh's vulnerable populations

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.