Two more states have taken major steps to fight the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday issued stay at home orders for all their citizens, adding heavier restrictions to the movements of non-essential service workers.

The move was considered a long time coming for Florida, in particular. DeSantis had faced fierce criticism for his handling of an outbreak that could have a devastating impact on the state's large elderly population. Roughly 20% of the state is 65 or older. There had also been concern about social distancing after video emerged of many young people at state beaches.

“Even though there’s a lot of places in Florida with very low infection rates, it makes sense to make this move now,” DeSantis said at a press conference.

Florida’s order will go into effect at midnight on Thursday and last for at least 30 days, per CDC guidelines.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Pennsylvania has seen nearly 5,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, so far. Florida has been much harder hit, with nearly 7,000 confirmed cases and 85 reported deaths.

Prior to these announcements, both states had only issued stay-at-home orders for certain harder-hit regions. Pennsylvania’s statewide order will take effect at 8 p.m. on Wednesday night and last through April 30, at least.

“We appreciate the shared sacrifice of all 12.8 million Pennsylvanians; we are in this together,” Wolf said in a statement announcing the order.

Florida and Pennsylvania join a long line of others in implementing stay-at-home orders, including major epicenters for the virus, like New York, New Jersey and Michigan. Under these orders, citizens will still be able to leave their homes to buy groceries, pick up takeout orders, get medicine, or take care of sick relatives. Only a handful of states, including Texas and Georgia, have not announced any sort of stay-at-home order or closed non-essential businesses.

coronavirus ravages the United States of America
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