The fact that Pennsylvania’s cases are rising despite its earlier outbreak raises a third specter, which seems to be happening in New Jersey, where new cases have quadrupled since their low in mid-August. More than 1,000 residents of the Garden State now test positive for the virus every day, a return to late-May levels. Hospitalizations have remained at much lower levels, though about 300 more people are hospitalized than were last month. Deaths have not increased at all.
In the Northeast, cases have also recently increased in Massachusetts and Connecticut. They have also modestly risen in New York—every day, about 400 more people now test positive for the virus than did in the middle of last month—but numbers still pale in comparison with springtime levels.
Many of these states, Pennsylvania among them, saw large spikes in the country’s first two waves. They successfully kept cases low throughout the summer. If they cannot now keep viral levels low as they enter the winter, it bodes ill for the hopes that any region can depress transmission indefinitely. (Surging caseloads in Europe offer the same warning.)