If you have seen headlines from Philadelphia news sites within the past 24 hours, Drexel University is once again front and center in the city news spotlight. However, instead of the news being something negative, it is highlighting the results of a Drexel study.
And boy, are the results good.
As Pennsylvania is in the midst of its ninth week of stay-at-home orders — and with the Philadelphia region remaining that way until at least June 4 — the restlessness has most certainly set in for many. The monotonous days and weeks are becoming a blur, and the need for social interaction and some semblance of normalcy is increasing. Many are questioning the point of everything, and some people are even ready to risk their lives if it means living normally and working in their office again.
This is why public health researchers working at Drexel University’s Urban Health Collaborative took to analyzing the estimated effects that the stay-at-home orders had on big cities. As Marie McCullough reported in her May 12 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the team used an “interactive model developed by the New York Times.”
After looking at around 30 big cities — Philadelphia, of course, included — the team was effectively able to estimate how many hospitalizations and deaths were prevented with the city’s shutdown.
The numbers are staggering, as all the news sites are showing the results loud and clear: around 57,000 hospitalizations and 6,200 deaths were estimated to be prevented by the 45 days of lockdown.
The estimates show that as Philadelphia will continue through May 22 — which would mark day 60 of the shutdown — there will be an estimated additional 9,000 hospitalizations and 900 deaths prevented.
News stations like ABC6 went into detail regarding the effects of city-wide shutdown in other cities, and in New York City the Drexel research team results show that over 25,000 deaths were estimated to have been prevented.
City officials report that as of 1 p.m. on May 14, the city of Philadelphia has surpassed 19,000 confirmed cases and 1,000 deaths due to COVID-19. To think that the death toll could be 600 percent bigger than it already is had no restrictions been put in place is humbling.
While the city’s economy desperately needs phased reopening of businesses, Philadelphia is set to look at a couple more weeks of stay-at-home orders. These next weeks will be in hopes of bringing the number of cases per 100,000 persons down to the necessary 50 for progressing to the yellow phase of Pennsylvania’s reopening plan.
With Drexel researchers showing the importance of the stay-at-home orders, many Philadelphians feel that they’ve played a part in helping their community. This information will hopefully have come at the right time, and can potentially keep residents motivated to continue to be aggressively socially distancing themselves and following protocols.