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‘Fall Surge’ In COVID-19 Cases Is Here, Says Infectious Disease Expert

Matt Rourke
COVID-19 cases are surging in states across the U.S., including Pennsylvania.


On today's program: Hospitalizations for COVID-19 cases are rising, but an infectious disease expert says hospitals in the Pittsburgh region aren’t stretched too thin; Riverlife is looking for public suggestions on how to fill the gaps in the loop connecting the city’s riverfronts; and a preview of a local House race where a long-term incumbent is facing a stiff challenge.

Pennsylvania sees largest single-day total in new COVID-19 cases since pandemic began, but local hospitals still have capacity
(00:00 — 7:53)

COVID-19 cases are surging in many states, including Pennsylvania. On Tuesday, the state department of Health reported2,751 additional positive cases—the largest single-day total since the pandemic began.

The increase is not surprising, saysDr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert and senior scholar for theJohns Hopkins Center for Health Security. He and other expertspredicted a rise in cases as the weather turns cooler and people begin to spend more time indoors.

The Trump administration, including the president himself, has repeatedly said the U.S. is“rounding the turn” on the coronavirus, but Adalja warns, “We’re rounding the turn into something much worse.”

“What we’re seeing is acceleration of transmission,” he says. “We’re seeing hospitals in places like El Paso, Texas, in the Dakotas, in Wisconsin, in Utah getting into trouble again. We didn’t want to be there going into the winter season when we’re going to be contending with influenza as well.”

More than 1,100 patients in Pennsylvania are nowhospitalized with the coronavirus, and the number is expected to rise. Adalja says preserving hospital capacity will be key for managing the virus.

“Because if hospitals get in trouble, if they can’t perform their ordinary operations, their ordinary delivery of care, that’s going to be where we get into trouble,” he says. “I do think this is something that is always going to be a risk when you have a virus like this in the community and you don’t have control of the virus.”

Riverlife plans to complete “the Loop” in the next ten years
(7:56 — 13:29)

Riverlife, the nonprofit redeveloping Pittsburgh’s riverfronts, is looking to get public input on the final piece of its 20-year project completing “the Loop,” 880 acres of publicly accessible riverfront parks, trails, and open spaces along all three rivers, centered around downtown Pittsburgh.

The Loop is 85 percent connected, and Riverlife aims to fill the remaining gaps in the next 10 years.

“The real benefit of having the Loop fully connected, we will be able to connect people through exceptional places and experiences,” says Riverlife president and CEO Matthew Galluzzo. “You know, the riverfronts are already such a badge of honor for our community, this is a clear effort to accentuate those”

Residents can offer feedback using theRiverlife interactive evaluation form before November 15.

Incumbent in PA House District 33 faces a challenger this November
(13:33 — 18:02)

State House Democratic leader Frank Dermody could lead a new House majority next year. But as 90.5 WESA’sChris Potter reports, he’ll have to fend off a spirited challenge from Republican Carrie DelRosso next week. 


The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts. 


Julia Zenkevich reports on Allegheny County government for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at
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