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Ed Gainey Reflects On Winning Tuesday’s Primary In A ‘City That Wants To See Justice’

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

On today’s program: State Rep. and likely future mayor of Pittsburgh Ed Gainey considers the significance of his election win; and a researcher explains why “problem-based” visits to pediatricians remained low during the pandemic, and how that can carry over past the public health emergency.

Ed Gainey says he’ll prioritize affordable housing, community policing
(0:00 — 10:05)

State Representative Ed Gainey scored a historic victory over two-term incumbent, Mayor Bill Peduto, in Tuesday’s primary. Gainey is on his way to becoming the city’s first Black mayor after running ahead of Peduto by seven percentage points in the Democratic primary.

He says his win was a response to Pittsburghers seeking a more just city for all.

“Last year, when we saw the peaceful protestors in the streets, it was the first time I had seen something like that,” says Gainey. “Some of them had environmental justice signs, others had Black Lives Matter justice signs, others had LGBTQIA justice signs, some had criminal justice, social justice, but the common denominator was justice.”

Gainey says he wants to enforce a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to racist comments made in any setting by law enforcement officers, and prioritize community-oriented policing. He also said he hopes to pass zoning policies that will enforce affordable housing.

Gainey told The Confluence that he intends to seek two terms as mayor.

“In eight years when I’m done, I want to know that that momentum, that change is underway and that it’s proper for the next person that comes along to be mayor, to be able to build on what we started,” says Gainey.

Pediatric visits for cold and flu dropped last year, but visits for children’s mental health are up
(10:14 — 18:00)

A new study analyzed how primary care pediatric visits nationwide in 2020 differed in the number and type of visits during 2018 and 2019.

“We found first, in March and April 2020 that there was a really dramatic decrease in all primary care visits by children,” saysDr. Kristin Ray, senior author of the study, and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine.

Ray says in those early months, “well-child” visits, which are routine check ups, decreased by 53% in 2020 compared to previous years. Problem-focused visits, addressing sickness or a specific concern, also dropped by 63%.

However, Ray says this was expected based on the guidance to stay home due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.

“Looking at those two different types of visits that children do, we found that by September, October 2020, well-child visits were now 8% above the rates of visits in prior years,” says Ray. “But in contrast, the problem-based visits remained 30% below prior years.”

Ray says in breaking down problem-based visits, those for virally transmitted infections (colds and coughs) were at their lowest last year, while those for anxiety and depression were higher than in prior years.

“While we saw those visits go up, what we can’t see in these insurance claims data are the needs of kids that are not being addressed,” says Ray.

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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