"In Pennsylvania and the United States at large, we need scalable contact tracing and testing to most appropriately place people in quarantine," writes retired physician Barbara W. Brandom. "If it’s not done, COVID-19 will spread here as social distancing guidelines are relaxed." (Courtesy photo)

As a career healthcare professional, I believe PA should follow the Hong Kong model of testing and contact tracing.

Now is the time that reliable and expansive public health efforts, which have shut down this pandemic in other parts of the world, must be implemented in the United States. We need easily accessible, widespread testing for SARS-CoV-2, so that people with positive test results and minimal or no symptoms go into quarantine and do not infect other people unknowingly.

Look for the helpers during this pandemic crisis. I am lucky to know a few.

Everyday people have been doing incredible things in the face of a darkness called
uncertainty. We are all afraid. There is a collective fear across the globe that speaks to the very nature of our existence as humans. We isolate to not only help each other but to save ourselves from something we cannot control. This lack of control speaks to a fundamental space inside of us that yearns for understanding, predictability, connection, life.

I’m an international student at Pitt. Wearing a face mask is a fraught choice for people who ‘look Chinese.’

While Americans and their president were just waking up to the seriousness of the pandemic, Chinese students have been acutely aware of it since January when the virus was first reported in mainland China. In fact, international students from various parts of Asia have been steadily monitoring the news, concerned about the broadening outbreak in their home countries and its implications for their lives in America.

My family was mid-relocation to Pittsburgh when the pandemic started. Now, we’re in a holding pattern.

Born and raised a Pittsburgher, I moved with my husband and three kids to the Cleveland area for work in 2017. We settled into life there and grew our family to include our fourth child, Aaliyah. But we missed our connection to family and friends back in our hometown. 

In early 2020, we decided we would begin the process of moving back home. My husband, Marellus, and I both secured jobs in the Pittsburgh area — myself in a retail store, and he in the insurance industry. 

We moved into the small three-bedroom home my mother and her husband have in Penn Hills for what was to be a temporary stay. We just needed to look for a home for our family of six and get our first paycheck to secure that housing.

I’m a Bellevue mom with COVID-19, coping with a lack of air and separation from my daughter

It seems like a year ago, but it was only three weeks ago that things began to fall apart. On Friday, March 13, my first-grade daughter did not have school. It was planned, and had been on the calendar all year for the Northgate school district. 

We had started to hear different reports about COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, but I was like everybody else, thinking, “Oh, it’s just a virus, we will see.”

That planned three-day weekend became the start of a new normal. The district canceled school for two weeks, and the murmur was that it would be much longer. My daughter's father and I do not live together and we were both working at the time.