By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — While COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to increase in the Philadelphia region, it might not be as bad as other big metropolitan areas. There are more positive coronavirus cases and deaths everyday, but doctors say it could be much worse.

New research was released Tuesday with projections about what’s to come in Pennsylvania. It says the coronavirus will be ramping up.

Coronavirus Update: Latest On COVID-19 Cases, School Closings And Cancellations Across Delaware Valley

Philadelphia’s iconic Love statue is lonely these days with most people off the streets, heeding warnings to stay home.

While the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths continues to increase, one model from the Keystone Research Center shows a decline in the rate of increase in Pennsylvania.

“Seems a vast majority of people are following our recommendations,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said. “There aren’t many people outside. Those I do see outside are keeping a distance.”

“I think social distancing is really important. If the curve is flattening out, that’s probably a good reason for it,” said Dr. Susan Weiss, a microbiology professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Weiss is a world-renowned leader in coronavirus research.

“This is a new virus. It’s behaving differently from SARS, which is its closest relative,” Weiss said.

Weiss will be the co-director of the newly created Center for Research on Coronaviruses to work on potential vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tools.

“One thing about this virus, it isn’t so much about the virus itself, but the fact there appears to be the virus can spread before there are actually very dramatic symptoms. It allows the virus to spread among people before we know who’s sick or not sick,” Weiss explained.


The Keystone Research Center estimates the coronavirus will kill 3,000 people in Pennsylvania by Aug. 1 and that hospitals will see a surge of almost 10,000 patients on April 17.

Weiss says she never imagined a pandemic could be this impactful.

“I’m pretty shocked but, I mean, we should have been warned by what happened with SARS and MERS, SARS in particular. SARS is a really bad virus,” Weiss said.

SARS was another coronavirus that spread globally, but the current outbreak has been more widespread and deadly. The research done with SARS could be helpful in fighting COVID-19.

Stephanie Stahl