Despite moves to adopt a new testing strategy for Coronavirus and distribute the drug Remdesvir, the residents of Pennsylvania are up in arms with Governor Tom Wolf over his threats to withhold Coronavirus aid to counties in the Keystone State.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr Rachel Levine said Wednesday, May 13 that the state has received its first shipment of the potential Coronavirus drug Remdesvir and the officials are planning to adopt a new testing strategy to safeguard the population.
But the "Reopen PA", a group founded by Matt Bellis that has grown to over 90,000 since April 13, is planning to hold a rally on the lines of Harrisburg rally held on April 20. Reopen PA has called for a protest movement Friday, May 15 at Pennsylvania State Capitol at around 12 pm.
Matt Bellis, who lives in Lancaster, told IB Times SG that the Friday protest movement will go on. He said:
"We will be meeting at noon on Friday at the Capitol steps in Harrisburg. We will have speakers Sen Douglas Mastriano, Rep Russ Diamon, Daniel DeVito, Atty. Marc Scaringi, and Joel Underwood. We're expecting 5 to 10 thousand people. We want people to be safe as we move to reopen. Do it in a safe incremental way that protects the vulnerable and respects individual liberties."
At his Monday press conference, Wolf said, "We Pennsylvanians are in a fight for our lives. The enemy is a deadly virus set on destroying us. Over this past weekend, some have decided to surrender to this enemy ... these folks are choosing to desert in the face of the enemy."
Addressing his opponents, he said that those who "decide to cave in to this Coronavirus, they need to understand the consequences of their cowardly act."
In turn, Wolf fired the final salvo that the areas defying the government orders would see the reduced funding and consequences, including discretionary funding cuts to non-compliant counties, denial of health department certificates, certificates of occupancy and scrapping of liquor licenses.
Wolf insisted that before any evidence suggesting that business can be opened in Pennsylvania without any risk, the early reopening could cause safety issues to customers. "Businesses that do follow the whims of local politicians and ignore the law and the welfare of their customers will probably find themselves uninsured because insurance does not cover things that happen to businesses breaking the law."
But U.S. President Donald Trump who is in favor of opening the economy soon, despite warnings from experts, expressed his support for reopening Pennsylvania as he tweeted: "The Democrats are moving slowly all over the USA for political purposes," telling Pennsylvanians to "be safe" and "move quickly!" Later, Trump announced that he will visit Allentown, Pennsylvania Thursday, May 14.
Protest in Pennsylvania
But Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano is not convinced. He called for the removal of Secretary of Health Dr Levine alleging that he had committed medical malpractice in the mishandling of the Coronavirus pandemic and enabled the virus's spread through nursing homes as well as other long-term care facilities by forcing COVID-19 positive patients into the facilities.
As the issue over reduction of funding for counties heated up, Danny DeVito, a candidate in the 45th District of Pennsylvania, joined the race and called for the simultaneous impeachment of Wolf and Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania John Fetterman for their malicious handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
Inspired by the April 20 movement, hundreds of Pennsylvanians are expected to be present near the Capitol steps, and the streets surrounding the Capitol Complex on May 15. And the administration is equally alert to thwart their move.