Read the latest Philadelphia-area coronavirus updates here
As coronavirus cases continue to rise, officials warn that the peak is yet to come in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In Pennsylvania, 19 counties are under a lockdown of some kind, and Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia will be set up as an overflow hospital. And as the virus spreads, vulnerable customers are having a hard time accessing grocery delivery services.
A few lucky golf courses in Pennsylvania get to play on while coronavirus keeps the rest closed
Golfers flooded Loch Nairn Golf Club on Thursday and Friday after the Chester County course reopened, claiming it had received a waiver of Pennsylvania’s sweeping shutdowns to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve been getting hammered all day with golfers,” a Loch Nairn pro shop employee said Thursday.
The public facility in Avondale, five miles south of Longwood Gardens along Route 1, was believed to be the only course in Southeastern Pennsylvania where golfers were able to play. In the Poconos, Jack Frost National Golf Club also said it had the same permission. It was booked solid Friday, its first reopened day.
But a state official suggested the courses may have interpreted the approval too broadly.
“Golf course waivers are limited to maintenance,” Dominique Lockett, a Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) spokesperson, said in an email.
Montco officials working to get cloth masks to people who may be at high risk for coronavirus
In Montgomery County, officials are working on a creative solution to get cloth masks to people in the community who may be at high-risk of contracting the virus.
County Board of Commissioners Chair Valerie Arkoosh said that while the county doesn’t have enough medical-grade masks to provide members of the community with individually, the county is working with faith leaders to establish a mask exchange portal to connect people sewing masks with those who need them. She said it will hopefully be up and running by next week.
Arkoosh said cloth masks can be effective for people making trips to the doctor's office or to the grocery store, especially if they are already practicing social distancing and staying six feet away from others.
Employee of Whole Foods in Jenkintown tests positive for coronavirus
An employee at a Whole Foods Market in Jenkintown has tested positive for the coronavirus, the company said Friday night.
“The safety of our Team Members and customers is our top priority and we are diligently following all guidance from local health and food safety authorities,” Whole Foods said in a statement. “We’ve been working closely with our store Team Members, and are supporting the diagnosed Team Member, who is in quarantine.”
Whole Foods did not say when the employee last worked at the store, which is located at 1575 The Fairway.
The company said the store has undergone additional cleaning and disinfection and that employees are following social distancing guidelines.
N.J. Attorney General vows to charge residents who violate the state emergency order
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal urged residents and business owners to follow Gov. Phil Murphy’s emergency orders to stay indoors, warning that those who don’t comply could face criminal charges.
Grewal said that police are “being called upon far too often to deal with people violating the orders put in place to protect us all — or what is more egregious, people falsely using the coronavirus to spread fear or impede officers in their vital work.”
In a news release Friday, Grewal highlighted some recent action taken against people who spit or coughed on others, including law enforcement officers, and then falsely claimed they had the coronavirus.
Many were charged with disorderly persons offenses for hosting large gatherings, like weddings. A 23-year-old woman was charged with false public alarm for allegedly calling emergency dispatchers and claiming she had the coronavirus to try to get Essex County College to close. She did not have the virus, authorities said.
Some people who were charged with committing crimes unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic, such as aggravated assault and arson, also were charged with violating the stay-at-home order.
Coronavirus in every Philadelphia zip code, city data show
There are coronavirus cases throughout the city, with some zip codes seeing fewer than 5 cases and others as many as 35, according to city data.
These numbers are expected to grow significantly in the days and weeks ahead as officials, hospital workers and the community brace for a surge in cases. On Friday evening, the data showed zip code 19143, with 35 cases, and zip code 19103, with 34 cases, leading the city.
Health Commissioner Thomas Farley has previously said the cases were “all over the city," without offering details.
“This virus is not going to stay in any particular neighborhood,” he said.
The city’s zip code-level data can be found here. The map relies on data gathered through testing since March 8. Since then there have been 637 positive test results in the city and 3,979 negative results.
— Oona Goodin-Smith, Ellie Silverman, Jason Laughlin
N.J. motor vehicle agencies will remain closed through April 12
All New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission agencies, road testing, and inspection facilities will remain closed through April 12, MVC Chief Administrator Sue Fulton announced Friday.
Other MVC operations will continue, through online submissions from customers as well as other functions, including those that support commercial trucking critical to keep the supply chain moving during the COVID-19 health crisis, Fulton said in a press release.
“Fortunately, we have expanded our online capabilities over the past year and many of our customers can get their business taken care of that way,’’ Fulton said. “In most cases you can renew your license, replace a lost license, change your address, renew your registration and other transactions through our easy-to-use online portal.’’
Fulton originally ordered the MVC agencies to close through March 30, but because the number of coronaviruses cases continue to rise in New Jersey, the closures needed to be extended.
The transportation authority is pushing back hearings on the proposed fare restructuring, operating, and capital budgets that were to be held in April. SEPTA’s board will not be able to vote on the changes in May as expected.
“People are ... focused on making sure they’re healthy, and safe, and secure and we don’t want to get in the way of that,” Busch said.
SEPTA intends to shift the meetings by a month. If hearings happen in May, the board could vote on the budgets in June. Its new fiscal year begins July 1.
How a Philly community held a flag fest while social distancing
Residents inside the University Square Complex waved the Philadelphia Maneto Flag together to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the first city flag in America on Friday. The event ensured a safe way to celebrate while complying with social distancing recommendations.
There are at least 100,717 cases of coronavirus in the U.S., with a little less than half occurring in and around New York City. At least 1,544 people have died nationwide.
The U.S. became the global leader in coronavirus cases on Thursday, when it overtook both Italy and China. The outbreak has been deadliest in Italy, where 969 new deaths were recorded on Friday, bringing the country’s total to 9,134.
New Jersey, which has the second-most cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., reported a cumulative total of 8,825 cases on Friday, a surge of 1,982 cases in just 24 hours. Pennsylvania reported 531 new cases on Friday, increasing the state’s total to 2,218.
Here are the five hardest-hit states, as of Friday:
Trump signs $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package after swift congressional votes
President Donald Trump signed an unprecedented $2.2 trillion economic rescue package into law Friday, after swift and near-unanimous action by Congress to support businesses, rush resources to overburdened health care providers, and help struggling families during the deepening coronavirus epidemic.
Acting with unity and resolve unseen since the 9/11 attacks, Washington moved urgently to stem an economic free fall caused by widespread restrictions meant to slow the spread of the virus that has shuttered schools, closed businesses and brought American life in many places to a virtual standstill.
“This will deliver urgently needed relief," Trump said as he signed the bill in the Oval Office, flanked only by Republican lawmakers. He thanked members of both parties for putting Americans “first.”
For Pennsylvania’s Amish, the coronavirus and the call for social distancing are a challenge
The Amish do their best to keep outside troubles from entering their daily lives. That’s not so easy when the trouble is an invisible virus spreading across the globe.
People familiar with the Amish community in Pennsylvania say many are taking the coronavirus and subsequent business closures and calls for social distancing very seriously. But other Amish, just like some of their “English” counterparts, are not.
SEPTA is making changes to overnight service on its subway lines.
The transportation authority will pull back service between 1 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. on both the Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines to allow time for additional cleaning beginning Monday. Ridership was “very low” during the overnight hours, SEPTA said.
Drexel University postpones commencement ceremonies
Drexel University has become the latest school to postpone commencement ceremonies due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We want to assure our newest graduates that we will herald their achievements when it is safe and feasible to do so,” Drexel officials said in a message to campus Friday. “Although details of these celebrations are still to be worked out, we hope to hold a university-wide commencement ceremony in early fall and will share details as soon as they are finalized.”
Individual colleges at Drexel may hold virtual ceremonies in the meantime, the school said.
Under pressure from Trump, GM agrees to make ventilators
President Donald Trump said Friday that he had invoked the Defense Production Act that would mandate General Motors to produce thousands of ventilators for critically ill patients amid the growing coronavirus pandemic.
He made the announcement on the heels of reports that federal officials had reached a standstill with GM over the cost of making the ventilators and how long it would take to make them. The White House had been in talks with GM and Ventec about using a GM auto electronics plant in Kokomo, Ind. to make the equipment.
The timeline to sign a contract with GM and Seattle-based ventilator maker Ventec Life Systems had been moving too slow as the outbreak surged, Trump said at a Friday news conference, adding that “we’re not looking to get into a big deal about price."
”We didn’t want to play games with them," he said.
Trump said he had named Peter Navarro, assistant to the president and the director of trade and manufacturing policy, to be the policy coordinator for the Defense Production Act.
The president’s announcement Friday came mere hours after he had criticized General Motors and Ford Motor Co. on Twitter, accusing the American carmakers of delaying the production of life-saving ventilators in the fight against the coronavirus.
Moments later, GM announced official plans to manufacture the FDA-cleared equipment at its plant in Indiana. The Detroit-based company also said it would begin making FDA-approved surgical masks in Michigan.
“General Motors MUST immediately open their stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant in Ohio, or some other plant, and START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!!,” Trump tweeted. “FORD, GET GOING ON VENTILATORS, FAST!!!!!!”
The president said the U.S. produces around 29,000 ventilators annually. Over the next 100 days, he said, his administration would want 100,000 more ventilators.
Treating coronavirus takes serious toll on health care workers’ mental health, study finds
Health care workers already deal with disproportionately high rates of depression — about three times higher than the general public. But the strain of treating coronavirus patients, and the impossible decisions many are being forced to make, will likely worsen the mental health of doctors and nurses, experts say.
According to a study published in JAMA Network Open earlier this week, health care workers in China reported experiencing declining mental health as a result of treating patients with COVID-19. The study measured 1,257 responses to surveys used to asses mental health symptoms and found that approximately 50% of participants experienced depressive symptoms; 45% experienced anxiety; 34% experienced insomnia; and 72% experienced distress.
The Environmental Protection Agency indefinitely relaxed the enforcement of environmental laws Thursday, allowing companies to effectively regulate themselves during the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the sweeping new policy, which has been applied retroactively to March 13, companies won’t face penalties for failing to comply with reporting and monitoring rules on air and water pollution.
The oil and gas industry were among the industries that had sought an advance relaxation of environmental and public health enforcement during the outbreak, according to the Associated Press, citing potential staffing problems.
“This temporary policy is designed to provide enforcement discretion under the current, extraordinary conditions, while ensuring facility operations continue to protect human health and the environment,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.
The move has garnered widespread criticism from environmental groups. Former Obama EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, now the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, called the announcement “an open license to pollute.”
A fourth Montgomery County resident has died from the coronavirus
Montgomery County reported its fourth death Friday, a 95-year-old man from Cheltenham Township who had been hospitalized.
The county also reported 58 new confirmed cases of coronavirus across 30 municipalities, bringing the area’s total to 371, said Valerie Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.
The newly diagnosed individuals range in age from 12 to 85 years old. Three municipalities reported their first cases. One of the new individuals is hospitalized, 39 are recovering at home, and 18 individuals’ conditions are unknown, Arkoosh said.
She said that people who want to be tested at the county sites must now register for an appointment beginning at 8 a.m. the morning of the test. Previously, appointments could be made the night before.
Arkoosh, who is a physician with a background in public health, stressed that because the county has a limited number of tests available, people with mild symptoms and no underlying conditions do not need to be tested.
Why the CEO of Comcast and his family gifted $5M for computers to help Philly kids learn during coronavirus school closures
When Comcast CEO Brian Roberts read that Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. had said the school system would need to purchase millions of dollars worth of technology to make large-scale learning during the pandemic possible for Philadelphia’s children Roberts, his wife Aileen and their three adult children began talking about the possibility of covering some of the cost.
On Thursday, the family gifted $5 million to the Fund for the Philadelphia School District, the school system’s charitable arm, to help pay for 50,000 Chromebooks for students in the Philadelphia school district.
Philadelphia-area hospitals brace for the coronavirus surge: 'We are no more than 2 weeks behind N.Y.’
The health care system is evaluating ways to expand its stock of ICU beds, ventilators and protective gear in the wake of a surge in COVID-19 patients.
As U.S. coronavirus case numbers explode, testing is still a bottleneck, and there is a dire shortage of everything from low-tech face masks to high-tech ventilators. In New York City, a doctor at a hospital with 13 deaths in one day told the New York Times just days ago that the situation was “apocalyptic.”
Philadelphia area hospitals are now preparing for “the surge.” That’s a medical term referring not just to the deluge of patients, but also to how hospitals plan to do the near-impossible: provide adequate care without adequate resources.
“We anticipate we are no more than two weeks behind New York City,” P.J. Brennan, chief medical officer of the massive University of Pennsylvania Health System, said on Thursday. “Cases are doubling every two to three days. We had 46 confirmed cases last night. You do the math.”
Pennsylvania ‘stay-at-home’ order extended to 9 more counties
Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday said he is expanding his stay-at-home order to another nine counties, bringing the total of counties under some form of lockdown to 19.
Wolf said the new counties where residents are being asked to limit their movements are Berks, Butler, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Luzerne, Pike, Wayne, Westmoreland, and York. The order takes effect 8:00 p.m. Friday, and will remain in place until April 6.
Counties already under a stay-at-home order are: Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, and Philadelphia.
Wolf has said he’s taking a “measured” approach to the order, which directs residents to leave their homes only for essential items, such as groceries and medicine. He has said he is not, as of now, considering extending the order statewide.
He called on retired doctors and nurse, as well as medical students and EMTs, to volunteer their service through the state. By mid-April, officials expect to see a high demand for critical care beds, state health director Judith M. Persichilli said.
Bucks County will know in a matter of days if social distancing is working
Bucks County officials said they should know in a matter of days whether social distancing measures are working to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
On Friday, the county saw a slight decrease in the number of new confirmed cases — 16 new cases as opposed to 18 a day earlier, health director David Damsker said. However, when determining whether social distancing is working, Damsker said a better indicator is how many of the cases come from families or households where other individuals have the coronavirus. So far, he said, most of the county’s 144 cases fall into that category.
A second Bucks County emergency responder has tested positive, but officials declined to provide additional details, including where and for what department he or she works. The Middletown Township police officer who tested positive last week is “recovering well” at home,” Damsker said.
Of the county’s 144 cases, 10 have resulted in hospitalization, with four people in critical condition and six people in serious but not critical condition.
On the economic front, the county saw a 200% increase in unemployment this week. To help residents, officials have moved the deadline for paying property taxes without a late fee from July 1 to July 31.
Franklin Institute lays off all part-time workers and 36% of staff
Closed indefinitely from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Franklin Institute Thursday laid off all of its part-time staff and 36% of its full-time staff across all departments, according to officials at the institute on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
In an unsigned statement, the institute said the large cuts were made to help ensure financial stability.
Many remaining staffers will take pay cuts ranging up to 30% — with those at the top of the scale facing the largest reductions. Those making less than $50,000 a year will not face any salary reduction.
House passes emergency $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package
The House easily passed a massive $2.2 trillion stimulus package intended to help businesses and workers cope with the economic impacts of the coronavirus epidemic.
The bill passed by voice vote Friday afternoon, with many lawmakers absent due to travel concerns, shelter-in-place rules, or because they are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 encounters.
The Senate passed the legislation with a 96-0 vote early Thursday morning, which among other things includes direct payments to most Americans and a $600 increase in unemployment benefits for impacted individuals for at least four months.
President Trump is expected to quickly sign the legislation into law, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said he expects direct payments of $1,200 to most individuals and $2,400 to most married couples to be in bank accounts by mid-April.
Philly could use Temple University’s Liacouras Center for coronavirus hospital overflow
Philadelphia has reached an agreement with Temple University to use the Liacouras Center and other facilities at the college for overflow hospital space if needed.
“Materials and supplies will be moving into the Liacouras Center over the next few days," Kenney said.
Kenney said he hopes that the city will not have to use the Temple facility, which could hold as many as 250 patients, but it will be there if needed.
The arrangement includes the Liacouras Center, its parking garage and the student pavilion, an indoor athletic and practice space that is one block north on Broad Street, said Ray Betzner, a Temple University spokesperson. The center would be used for the hospital, and the pavilion for storage.
Like in New York, the space will be used to move non-coronavirus patients into and free up space in the hospitals, he said. The Army Corps of Engineers will set up the facility and it will be run by military medical personnel, he said.
The agreement was worked out in the last 24 hours, he said. The city and Federal Emergency Management Agency approached the university. Temple President Richard M. Englert was eager to comply, Betzner said.
“Temple University is part of the city and this is a fight that everyone in the city needs to enter,” Betzner said. “And Temple was happy to be a part of it.”
Temple owns the center, but it is operated by Comcast Spectacor, which also is part of the agreement.
The city hopes that FEMA will help staff the facility with health care workers, he said, but officials are looking into other options if that does not come through.
Kenney said the city is not paying Temple anything for the use of the facilities. “We’re very Temple proud,” he said.
Philadelphia is continuing to search for other facilities in addition to the Liacouras Center and the Holiday Inn Express at 13th and Walnut, which will be used as a quarantine site. The Holiday Inn has already hosted some city employees, and will be fully operational this weekend, Abernathy said.
Other cities plan to use convention centers as hospital overflow space, including the Javits Center in New York and the Atlantic City Convention Center.
John McNichol, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, said they continue to have conversations with the city regarding the use of the space, but no decisions have been made.
“Our focus is on getting back to business as soon as possible so we can save jobs,” he said.
In terms of being used as a hospital overflow space, McNichol said: “We’re trying to be as nimble as possible. Right now there’s no plan to use the Convention Center for that purpose.”
Wolf: Pennsylvania schools must make ‘good faith efforts’ to continue education during coronavirus closures
Pennsylvania schools must make “good faith efforts” to continue educating students during the ongoing closures, under a law signed by Gov. Tom Wolf Friday.
While Pennsylvania has not required school districts to provide instruction, the new law requires districts to post “continuity of education” plans on their websites and submit the plans to the state Department of Education. The requirement also applies to charter schools.
Developing those plans is “the biggest challenge in front of” school districts right now, said Mark DiRocco, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators. He said school leaders are considering if they are “going to move ahead and teach new content and material,” or focus on review and enrichment activities.
Pennsylvania’s schools are closed at least until April 6, though school leaders have been preparing for the shutdown to last longer as the coronavirus outbreak continues.
Pope Francis to offer special blessings via livestream
As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, Pope Francis will offer prayers and a special blessing today in an unprecedented service before an empty square outside St. Peter’s Basilica.
The Pope’s extraordinary Urbi et Orbi (“from the city to world”) blessing — usually only imparted at Christmas and Easter — will be live-streamed at 1 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. Rome time) and beamed across the world.
The moment of prayer is expected to last about an hour.You can watch the Pope’s service here:
Republican forces full vote on coronavirus stimulus bill
Rep. Thomas Massie (R., Ky.) followed through on his threat to force a full floor vote in the House on the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill Friday. House leaders had hoped to pass the bill by a voice vote, which would have prevented vulnerable members from traveling to Washington, D.C.
There is wide, bipartisan support for the legislation, so Massie’s move is only expected to delay the bill’s passage in the House.
Philadelphia reports two more coronavirus-related deaths
Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said Philadelphia has two new deaths due to the coronavirus.
One is confirmed, the other is presumed, Farley said.
Both were women in their 70s, he said, and one was a nursing home resident.
The city now has 637 confirmed cases. The city announced earlier this week that the first city resident known to have died of the coronavirus was a male patient in his 50s with an underlying medical condition.
Gov. Wolf signs bill moving Pa. primary election to June 2
June 2 is shaping up to be the Super Tuesday of postponed primaries. Pennsylvania will join 11 states and the District of Columbia in voting that day, after rescheduling its primary due to the coronavirus.
Gov. Wolf on Friday signed a bill passed through the Pennsylvania legislature to move the primary back six weeks to allow enough time for people to register to vote by mail, for polling locations to shift, and to give election officials time to prepare for an election taking place in unprecedented circumstances.
The law also authorizes county election officials to close and consolidate polling places without the usual court approval. (Officials had asked for that flexibility, as they’ve lost polling places and poll workers due to concerns over the coronavirus.)
With Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland and D.C. also voting June 2, it’s been dubbed the Acela Primary.
While the moves are unlikely to derail former Vice President Joe Biden from winning the Democratic nomination, it does mean he’ll need more time to clinch it. Meanwhile, the delay could hurt some candidates running for the state legislature who have limited campaign resources they now need to stretch.
For election officials, it’s a welcome extension to prepare for an election that keeps voters and poll workers safe.
House leaders hoping to vote on $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package at noon
House leaders will attempt to pass the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill by voice vote at noon, but their plans might be upended by Rep. Thomas Massie (R., Ky.), who has said he plans to object and force a full floor vote.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had hoped to pass the measure without a full floor vote to protect vulnerable members of Congress, some of whom are home in states mandating stay-at-home rules. If Massie or any other member objects, a quorum of 216 lawmakers would be required to vote on the legislation.
Several lawmakers from the region, including Rep. Donald Norcross (D., N.J.) and Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R., N.J.), were present on the House floor Friday morning. Pennsylvania Rep Chrissy Houlahan (D., Pa.) drove to Washington, D.C. on Thursday afternoon in case her vote was needed.
One local member of congress who won’t take part in a vote is Rep. Andy Kim (D., N.J.), who is in his last day of self-quarantine after coming into contact with a colleague who tested positive for coronavirus.
It’s unclear if Massie will follow through on this threat, which has been condemned by politicians from both parties. That includes President Trump, who called for Republicans to throw the Kentucky congressman “out of the Republican Party!”
Update, 12:28 p.m.: Rep. Thomas Massie (R., Ky.) followed through on his threat to force a full floor vote in the House on the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill Friday. House leaders had hoped to pass the bill by a voice vote, which would have prevented vulnerable members from traveling to Washington, D.C.
Owner of 7 Philly radio stations instituting pay-cuts in face of coronavirus economic setbacks
Beasley Media Group is instituting company-wide pay cuts and reducing the hours of some employees as the radio company grapples with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Beasley — which owns seven stations in Philadelphia, including 93.3 WMMR and 97.5 The Fanatic — is cutting wages 10% for salaried full-time employees, and reducing hours for full-time hourly workers by 10%. The cuts go into effect April 1 and will continue through the end of June.
Most hosts are salaried, meaning they will continue to host their daily shows as usual.
“While it is not something we want to do, it is necessary in the long-term as we continue to move forward to get to the other side of the current economic situation,” CEO Caroline Beasley wrote, adding she will be forgoing 20% of her compensation through the end of the second quarter.
Megabus suspends service in and out of hard-hit New York City
Megabus has suspended service in and out of New York City, America’s largest coronavirus outbreak hotspot, through at least April 9, the company said in a message on its website.
The move was made “in an abundance of caution” and aimed at supporting the federal government’s recommendation that anyone who traveled from New York City self-quarantine for at least two weeks, the company said. All Megabus passengers who have trips booked to and from New York City will receive an email with instructions for how to reschedule.
The announcement came shortly after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said Thursday he was considering suspending bus service between New York and Philadelphia, but had not yet made a decision.
“Regularly scheduled bus services that are coming in from states where there’s a problem, that does pose an issue that we have to address,” Wolf said. “We’re doing that. Right now, I don’t have an answer.”
Other major bus companies including Greyhound and Peter Pan still have service available between Philadelphia and New York City, though both have cut back on trips throughout the Northeast as sales and ridership have plummeted.
Amtrak also still offers trips between the two cities, though it canceled nonstop Acela service between Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and New York City about three weeks ago.
A second person has died from the coronavirus in Delaware.
An 86-year-old man, who was a resident of a long-term-care facility for low-income seniors in Newark died Thursday night, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health. Six other residents of that facility, the Little Sisters of the Poor Jeanne Jugan Residence, have also tested positive.
A 66-year-old man from Sussex County died earlier Thursday while hospitalized out of state. As of Friday morning, there were 143 confirmed coronavirus cases in Delaware, and 15 people had been hospitalized.
Update: 2 women who warned about younger people getting COVID-19 report they are recovering
Most people do recover from the coronavirus, more than 127,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, which keeps track of the virus and its spread. Corianne Goldstein, a 32-year-old New Jersey woman who was hospitalized after contracting the virus, is on her way to being one of them.
Goldstein, of Matawan, was released from Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel earlier this week and is at home continuing to recover.
“It’s nice to be back with my husband and my dogs, having somebody to be next to me for the rest of this journey,” said Goldstein, a Rowan University graduate and marketing professional.
Earlier this month, Goldstein broke out in chills and fever, then started coughing and having difficulty breathing. She went to the emergency room on March 17, was diagnosed with double pneumonia and tested positive for the virus. She was discharged Wednesday as the hospital became more crowded, she said.
She’s still tired and short of breath, she said, and doctors told her it could take four to six weeks for her to fully recover. Her lung doctor also told her she had some damage to her lungs that will have to be addressed later, she said. “The virus might be gone but the results of what it did to me are not,” she said.
Also recovering is Elena Blanc, 31, a graduate of the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts, who lives in Brooklyn. She was not hospitalized. Her primary care doctor told her the illness was likely COVID-19. But because of test shortages, and because she doesn’t have underlying conditions that would make her more susceptible to bad outcomes, she was told she would not be tested unless symptoms worsened.
“My fever finally went away and my breathing and cough are much better,” Blanc, a full-time graduate student in the economics department at the New School for Social Research, said by email. “It definitely feels like my lung capacity is still less than before and I’m getting tired more easily than normal, but otherwise my symptoms are more or less resolved.”
Maverick GOP congressman threatening to delay House vote on $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package
House leaders’ plan for swift action on a $2.2 trillion coronavirus economic rescue package ran into complications Friday as a maverick conservative threatened to delay passage until most lawmakers return to Washington for a vote.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., who's opposed to the massive bill, set the House on edge by threatening to try to force a roll call vote. Party leaders had hoped to pass the measure by voice vote without lawmakers having to take the risk of travelling to Washington.
Massie took to Twitter to suggest he’d require a quorum of lawmakers — some 216 lawmakers — to be present and voting. Massie didn’t respond to a reporter’s requests for comment.
While the coronavirus pandemic has postponed or canceled nearly every major sporting event, the NFL Draft reportedly will go on as scheduled April 23-25.
In a memo obtained by ESPN, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said there will be significant changes to the event, including canceling the public spectacle planned outside the Bellagio hotel and casino in Las Vegas.
Instead, the NFL has nixed all public events and won’t be bringing top prospects and their families to the event. The draft will be conducted and televised “in a way that reflects current conditions,” Goodell wrote, and told teams to prepare to run their draft operations from a location outside their team facilities.
Goodell also warned potential critics of the league’s decision that “public discussion of issues relating to the Draft serves no useful purpose and is grounds for disciplinary action.”
Businesses tied to Gov. Tom Wolf, top Pa. senator close after questions about how they qualified as ‘life-sustaining’
Thousands of businesses in Pennsylvania have closed under Gov. Tom Wolf’s unprecedented statewide shutdown to help slow the spread of coronavirus, but not the company that the Democratic governor once owned, or the business now owned by the Senate’s most powerful member.
On Thursday, Wolf’s office said it had rescinded a waiver that had been issued to the governor’s former business, a kitchen and bath cabinet supply company in Central Pennsylvania, after Spotlight PA and PA Post inquired about how it qualified as “life-sustaining."
Likewise, The Dan Smith Candy Company, owned by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson) — which makes and sells candies, chocolates and other specialty items at stores in the northern part of the state — also closed its doors after inquiries from the news organizations.
Nursing homes fear accepting patients who may have coronavirus exposure in hospitals
Sidney Greenberger runs a New Jersey-based company that operates eight nursing homes in Pennsylvania and six in New Jersey.
His buildings are filled with those most likely to die if infected with the coronavirus — the elderly and those with lots of chronic health problems. He finds the prospect “terrifying” and says the virus could make nursing homes a “death trap” for his residents.
“I’m scared s—less, and that’s the honest truth," he said.
Colleges stand to lose millions because of the coronavirus
Temple University refunded millions of dollars to students who were forced to leave their dorms and return home to finish the semester online.
There’s also money gone from canceled campus events and a loss of sports-related revenue. Many other questions swirl: Will the coronavirus affect summer and fall terms? Will students feel safe to enroll? Will their families, who may face job loss, be able to pay? Will the campus be able to open? Will it have to shut again for a second virus wave?
Temple said it couldn’t estimate how much money it has lost already — or could lose in coming months. Pennsylvania State University president Eric Barron said during a virtual town hall his school also faces a loss of millions. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which oversees 14 universities, is projecting a $100 million revenue shortfall.
American Airlines flight attendant based in Philadelphia dies after testing positive for COVID-19
A 65-year-old American Airlines flight attendant based in Philadelphia died this week after testing positive for COVID-19.
Paul Frishkorn started as a flight attendant in 1997, the airline said in a statement late Thursday night.
“Over the years he built a reputation as a consummate professional who was honored as one of American’s Flight Service Champions twice for his excellent service to our customers,” the airline said.
“Our hearts go out to Paul’s loved ones, many of whom work for American," the company saud. "We are working directly with them to ensure they are cared for during this extraordinarily difficult time. He will be missed by the customers he cared for and everyone at American who worked with him.”
Frishkorn reportedly had other health issues that made him susceptible to complications from COVID-19.
“Paul was 65 years old and the first American team member to lose his life after contracting the illness,” the Association of Flight Professional Attendants said in an online memoriam.
“Our industry, our airline and all of us have been affected by COVID-19 in different ways. But until now, we hadn’t lost one of our own. This loss hits home in a very different, personal way from the headlines,” the union said.
American Airlines, the dominant carrier at Philadelphia International Airport, has been economically devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, as has the airline industry globally.
Morning Roundup: Pa. officials look for supplies and space amid coronavirus ‘war,’ New Jersey pronounced major disaster area
As preparations — and a race against time — continued for the anticipated strain of the coronavirus on hospitals, New Jersey was declared a major disaster area by President Donald Trump, and officials across Pennsylvania scrambled Thursday to find hospital space and much-needed supplies to care for the growing number of ill people.
The New Jersey health commissioner warned that the state was nearing the patient surge officials have been trying to combat, and ordered three major hospitals across the state to help mount field hospitals in the coming weeks. The state put in another order for supplies from the federal government, seeking 4.5 million N95 masks and 2,500 ventilators.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania officials said they were “scouring the state and the country” to find any medical supplies available for purchase, and Gov. Tom Wolf said the state needs more beds and ventilators “as soon as possible.”