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People gather at the North Shore Tavern Bar on the North Side of Pittsburgh on June 28. In response to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County, health officials ordered all bars and restaurants in the county to stop the sale of alcohol for on-site consumption starting June 30. Gene J. Puskar/AP

Pittsburgh seemed like a virus success story — until it wasn't

News York Times story puts region in national spotlight as cases surge


By Carmen Gentile

The Pittsburgh area is under the microscope in this recent New York Times story about the rapidly rising coronavirus cases in the city and surrounding Allegheny County. 

When the headline reads “Pittsburgh Seemed Like a Virus Success Story. Now Cases Are Surging,” you know the rest can’t be good. 

The story notes how cases are spiking in the South (which includes the Postindustrial states of West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Alabama) and the West. Virus surges are also occurring elsewhere in Postindustrial America including several areas of Ohio, Wisconsin, and other parts of the region. 

The Times portrays the Pittsburgh area as a cautionary tale of sorts for the kind of curve-flattened hubris that tempted leaders to speed up their states’ reopening. Some residents, meanwhile, treated the “green phase” as a green light to squander the sacrifice most in the county made to keep the infection rates low and ICU beds empty by taking the proper precautions. 

That was all seemingly for naught, what with new cases piling up in the county and physicians and medical experts warning that those empty beds and unused ventilators will soon be put to use if folks don’t heed the warnings and take the recommended precautions. 

Whether you’re a Pittsburgher, or hail from another corner of Postindustrial America, take the time to read this story and heed the experts’ warnings. 

Postindustrial founder Carmen Gentile has worked for some of the world’s leading publications and news outlets including The New York Times, USA Today, CBS News and others. His book, “Blindsided by the Taliban,” documents his life as a war reporter and the aftermath of his brush with death after being shot with a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan. Reach him at

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