6:51 PM - July 7, 2020
6:51 PM - July 7, 2020

How Philly and Allegheny County infection rates compare

— John Duchneskie

4:45 PM - July 7, 2020
4:45 PM - July 7, 2020

Trump administration notifies United Nations of withdrawal from World Health Organization

The logo and building of the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Martial Trezzina / AP
The logo and building of the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Trump administration has formally notified the United Nations of its withdrawal from the World Health Organization, although the pullout won’t take effect until next year, meaning it could be rescinded under a new administration or if circumstances change.

The withdrawal notification, delivered on Monday, makes good on President Donald Trump’s vow in late May to terminate U.S. participation in the WHO, which he has harshly criticized for its response to the coronavirus pandemic and accused of bowing to Chinese influence. The move was immediately assailed by health officials and critics of the administration.

— Associated Press

4:30 PM - July 7, 2020
4:30 PM - July 7, 2020

— John Duchneskie

2:48 PM - July 7, 2020
2:48 PM - July 7, 2020

3 Phillies coaches and 3 players including Scott Kingery test positive for COVID-19

Phillies Scott Kingery after batting against the Tampa Bay Rays in a spring training game at the Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Thursday, March 12, 2020.
YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Phillies Scott Kingery after batting against the Tampa Bay Rays in a spring training game at the Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

Scott Kingery, Tommy Hunter and Mikie Mahtook have been absent from the first days of summer camp after the three Phillies players tested positive for COVID-19, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said.

Kingery and Hunter tested positive before camp started while Mahtook reported to Philadelphia last week and tested positive during his intake screening. The Phillies are also without three of their 13 major-league coaches: bench coach Rob Thomson, bullpen coach Jim Gott, and catching coach Greg Brodzinski. The three coaches were infected last month during the outbreak at the team’s Clearwater, Fla. facility.

— Matt Breen

2:30 PM - July 7, 2020
2:30 PM - July 7, 2020

Gov. Carney says Delaware doesn’t belong on New Jersey’s travel advisory

Delaware Gov. John Carney meets with staffers during a tour of the State Health Operations Center.
Randall Chase / AP Photo
Delaware Gov. John Carney meets with staffers during a tour of the State Health Operations Center.

Gov. John Carney said he doesn’t think Delaware should be among the 19 states considered coronavirus hot spots by New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.

“I believe we don’t belong in the same category with these other states,” Carney said during his weekly coronavirus press briefing Tuesday.

Delaware was one of three states added to the tri-state travel advisory on Tuesday. That means anyone leaving Delaware and traveling to New Jersey, New York, or Connecticut must self quarantine for 14 days. Individuals traveling to and from a designated state for work are exempt from the advisory.

The quarantine applies to people arriving from states where the rolling seven-day average of new cases is at 10 or more people per 100,000, or 10% of those tested are positive.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Delaware’s positive test rate was just 5.3%, well below the advisory’s 10% threshold. But the state has also reported 12,414 positive cases, pushing the per capita case rate for 100,000 people to 13, which triggered its inclusion in the quarantine.

“We’re not, frankly, in the same ballpark as the other states identified, so I don’t think we should be singled out,” Carney said. “Certainly not by our partners in the region.”

Delaware’s increase in new cases has been driven largely by young people in beach towns in the southern part of the state. Karyl Rattay, the director of the state’s Division of Public Health, said increased testing in Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach over the past week has led to an increase in cases, but has helped limit the scope of the outbreak.

“We were able to identify a number of positive cases in the area and take the mitigation approaches that are necessary to address this situation,” Rattay said.

— Rob Tornoe

1:50 PM - July 7, 2020
1:50 PM - July 7, 2020

Pa. reports 995 new cases, most in a 24-hour period in nearly two months

Pennsylvania reported 995 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the most in a 24-hour period in nearly two months as the state continues to experience a growth in new cases. The one-day spike could be the result of a backlog caused by the holiday weekend, and was partly inflated due to a lag time in reporting from Philadelphia.

Of the new cases, 204 came from Allegheny County, which is home to Pittsburgh and in recent weeks has experienced a surge in cases linked to young people crowding at bars and restaurants.

Overall, 91,299 Pennsylvanians have tested positive for the virus, with the number of cases among younger adults increasing over the past few weeks. In Southeastern Pennsylvania, about 15 percent of cases so far in July have occurred among young people between the ages of 19 to 24, up from just 5% in April, according to the Department of Health.

Pennsylvania also reported 33 new deaths, increasing the state’s death toll to at least 6,787 people.

— Rob Tornoe

1:24 PM - July 7, 2020
1:24 PM - July 7, 2020

Philly continues to see stable rate of new infections, despite increases elsewhere

Edward Poznek of Philadelphia, plays at the Mini Golf in the Franklin Square Park in Philadelphia, Pa. Monday, July 6, 2020. Franklin Square re-open the park to the public, including the Philly Mini Golf, Parx Liberty Carousel, both playgrounds, and SquareBurger
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Edward Poznek of Philadelphia, plays at the Mini Golf in the Franklin Square Park in Philadelphia, Pa. Monday, July 6, 2020. Franklin Square re-open the park to the public, including the Philly Mini Golf, Parx Liberty Carousel, both playgrounds, and SquareBurger

Philadelphia continues to see a stable rate of new confirmed coronavirus cases despite rapid growth in other parts of the country, Public Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said Tuesday.

The city reported 91 new confirmed infections on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases among Philly residents since the pandemic began to 26,901.

Philadelphia has seen about 110 new cases per day for the past week, which is similar to the previous week’s average, he said.

“I want to keep it that way. That’s why we’ve responded as we have to try to prevent a second wave here,” Farley said, noting that the city is still prohibiting indoor dining and bars.

Although the rate of new cases is not rising in the city overall, it has gone up for those under 40 years old. The rate is stable for those between 40 and 50, and has decreased for those above 50, he said.

Because older people are more vulnerable to serious illness when infected, the death toll from the virus in Philly has slowed significantly. The city reported zero new deaths Tuesday, and only 20 in the last week and a half. At the peak of the pandemic, 246 Philadelphians died in a single week.

“It’s good that the confirmed cases in [the older] age group are decreasing, but we’re still concerned that the younger people who may not themselves get ill can pass it on,” Farley said.

— Sean Walsh

12:09 PM - July 7, 2020
12:09 PM - July 7, 2020

N.J. Motor Vehicle Commission tells drivers to wait ‘a week or more’ due to long lines

People wait outside the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission in Runnemede, N.J. on July 7, 2020. It is the first day the MVC was open to the public since the coronavirus pandemic. Many in line said they were waiting for more than several hours.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
People wait outside the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission in Runnemede, N.J. on July 7, 2020. It is the first day the MVC was open to the public since the coronavirus pandemic. Many in line said they were waiting for more than several hours.

New Jersey residents experienced long lines at state Motor Vehicle Commission agencies when they reopened Tuesday morning after having been closed since March.

The MVC’s website warned residents that “lines are very long,” and requested people consider “waiting a week or more” before visiting their local agency.

“While we understand the frustration of our customers in this extremely challenging and difficult time, our employees are doing the best they can to keep everyone safe and work as efficiently as possible,” MVC Chief Administrator Sue Fulton said in a statement.

Fulton suggested residents check NJMVC.gov before they go to an agency and wait in line, because a number of transactions can be handled online.

Social media was flooded complaints about long waits across the state. Police in Lodi, Bergen County, announced the MVC was closing Tuesday morning due to the “overwhelming capacity.”

In Camden, people were spotted sitting in lawn chairs in a long line that snaked around the parking lot of the local MVC building. In South Brunswick, Middlesex County, police warned residents that cars waiting to get into the MVC parking lot were backed up for half a mile down Route 130, more than a three hour wait.

A line of people wrapped around the MVC building in Lakewood, Ocean County, which was also forced to close due to capacity limits.

— Rob Tornoe

11:45 AM - July 7, 2020
11:45 AM - July 7, 2020

Brazil’s president tests positive after downplaying COVID-19 for months

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for the coronavirus, he announced on Brazilian TV Tuesday.

Bolsonaro, 65, had ignored the severity of the coronavirus for months, reportedly referring to it as a “little flu” and resisting lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus.

Brazil is second only to the United States in terms of the number of coronavirus cases and deaths. As of Tuesday morning, Brazil has reported more than 1.6 million coronavirus cases and at least 65,487 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The New York Times reported Bolsonaro attended a luncheon Saturday hosted by U.S. Ambassador Todd Chapman to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.

— Rob Tornoe

10:50 AM - July 7, 2020
10:50 AM - July 7, 2020

Delaware among the three states added to New Jersey’s travel quarantine

Toll plaza for the Delaware Memorial Bridge.
Delaware River and Bay Authority
Toll plaza for the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

Delaware and two other states have been added to New Jersey’s travel quarantine, aimed at preventing people from traveling to and from states with a high level of community spread of the coronavirus.

That means anyone traveling from Delaware into New Jersey is asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. A spokesperson for Gov. Phil Murphy said individuals traveling to and from a designated state for work are exempt from the advisory.

The quarantine applies to people arriving to New Jersey, New York, or Connecticut from states where the rolling seven-day average of new cases is at 10 or more people per 100,000, or 10% of those tested are positive.

New Jersey also added Kansas and Oklahoma, bringing the number of states impacted by the advisory to 19.

“Several outbreaks across New Jersey are directly tied to travel from COVID-19 hotspots nationwide,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement. “In order to responsibly continue down our road back to restart and recovery, we must remain vigilant in our collective effort to beat the virus and reduce the rate of transmission. I urge those arriving from one of these nineteen states to self-quarantine and get a COVID-19 test to prevent additional flareups across the state and ensure the health and safety of their fellow New Jerseyans.”

As of Tuesday, the travel advisory now applies to people coming from: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.

— Rob Tornoe

9:45 AM - July 7, 2020
9:45 AM - July 7, 2020

Where positive test rates are highest in Philadelphia

9:30 AM - July 7, 2020
9:30 AM - July 7, 2020

Philly won’t shut off water to residents unable to pay

Philadelphia has announced a moratorium of water shutoffs for customers unable to pay through August 31.
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Philadelphia has announced a moratorium of water shutoffs for customers unable to pay through August 31.

Philadelphia water customers unable to pay their bills due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic won’t have to worry about their water being shut off for the next few months.

The Philadelphia Water Department and Water Revenue Bureau announced Tuesday a moratorium on water shutoffs through Aug. 31.

The city also has a tiered assistant program that allows some customers to obtain discounted water rates and have their past-due balances removed due to a job loss or special hardship, including unexpected medical bills or the loss of a family member.

“If you can’t pay a water bill because of the pandemic, please get in touch to see how we can help,” Commissioner Randy Hayman said in a statement. “If you can pay, please do so. Water bills are our only way to fund critical investments that ensure Philadelphia has safe, clean water.”

— Rob Tornoe

7:45 AM - July 7, 2020
7:45 AM - July 7, 2020

Cape May County issues warning about cases in several Shore towns

Beach goers pack the shoreline in Ocean City on July 4. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the Fourth of July weekend brought large crowds to beaches and boardwalks along the South Jersey coast.
JEFF FUSCO / For the Inquirer
Beach goers pack the shoreline in Ocean City on July 4. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the Fourth of July weekend brought large crowds to beaches and boardwalks along the South Jersey coast.

Cape May County has issued a rare warning to beachgoers about an uptick in positive coronavirus cases in the area. Officials pointed to four Shore towns in particular — Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Avalon, and Wildwood.

According to the county’s health department, the increase is mainly due to a jump in the number of out-of-state positives cases, mostly detected among young people between the ages of 15 and 25. Overall, Cape May County has reported 788 positive coronavirus cases, and at least 69 residents have died.

“The best way to prevent COVID-19 is by avoiding being exposed, which is why we are urging everyone to practice social distancing,” county health officer Kevin Thomas said in a statement. “We are doing our part in trying to reduce the incidence of COVID-19 cases, but we need our residents and visitors to take action and do their part as well, this is a team effort.”

— Rob Tornoe

7:30 AM - July 7, 2020
7:30 AM - July 7, 2020

Wolf says mask mandate in Pa. could last until there is a coronavirus vaccine

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf adjust his mask in Philadelphia on June 1.
YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf adjust his mask in Philadelphia on June 1.

If you live in Pennsylvania, prepare for the likelihood you’ll be wearing face masks until the beginning of 2021, if not longer.

Speaking at an event at the PSECU Child Care Center Playground on Monday, Wolf suggested the state’s mask mandate will remain in effect until a coronavirus vaccine is publicly available. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said publicly the soonest to expect such a vaccine is the beginning of 2021.

“I’m sort of thinking this is until we get a vaccine, but I don’t have any real formal goal there,” Wolf told reporters, according to PennLive.

Wolf said the recent spike in coronavirus cases in Allegheny County has been traced back to people not wearing masks in public places, such as bars and restaurants. Multiple studies clearly show masks reduce the rate of transmission of COVID-19.

“Study after study indicates the effectiveness of mask-wearing to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and to keep the curve of cases flattened,” Wolf said in a statement. “That’s why we are requiring masks when in public. It is the most simple, effective way to protect yourself and others during our ongoing efforts to mitigate COVID-19.”

Secretary of Health Rachel Levine signed the order on July 1, which mandates that masks be worn in all public places — both indoors and outdoors — where people cannot maintain a proper social distance from others.

— Rob Tornoe

7:15 AM - July 7, 2020
7:15 AM - July 7, 2020

Philly to resume car booting operations

Handicap parking signs are photographed on the corner of Spruce and 9th street in Philadelphia.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
Handicap parking signs are photographed on the corner of Spruce and 9th street in Philadelphia.

In another step toward the return to normalcy, the Philadelphia Parking Authority will resume booting operations on vehicles on Monday, July 13.

A vehicle may be booted if it has more than three unpaid parking, red light camera, or speed camera violations, according to executive director Scott Petri.

“We hope that people take advantage of the options available to avoid being booted,” Petri said in a statement Monday. “We encourage anyone who is unsure about their status to contact us.”

The move is the second part of a phased approach that began on June 8 with the return of meter enforcement. The PPA stopped enforcing meters, kiosks, and residential time limits back on March 17, but continued enforcing certain safety violations, like double parking and blocking crosswalks or loading zones.

— Rob Tornoe

*Correction: An earlier version of this item gave the incorrect number of violations that would lead to a car being booted.

7:00 AM - July 7, 2020
7:00 AM - July 7, 2020

Coronavirus transmission rate in N.J. reaches highest since early May

People walk past stuffed animals on the boardwalk in Wildwood, N.J., on Friday, July 3, 2020. Hot weather and the Fourth of July weekend brought crowds to the Jersey Shore despite the coronavirus pandemic.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
People walk past stuffed animals on the boardwalk in Wildwood, N.J., on Friday, July 3, 2020. Hot weather and the Fourth of July weekend brought crowds to the Jersey Shore despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus transmission rate in New Jersey has risen to its highest in 10 weeks, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday: Every new case of the coronavirus in the state is now leading to at least one other case.

“As we took the steps to reopen, we knew we were taking on some more risk,” Murphy said. “And that’s probably a partial contributor to the increased rate of transmission.”

Murphy said his state has learned of new outbreaks that are linked to people who have traveled out of state to hot spots. One that has impacted Sussex and Warren Counties, for example, stemmed from people who went to a wedding in South Carolina. The state police also had to break up a crowd of 500 people in Burlington City over the weekend who were partying and dancing inside a restaurant and in its parking lot.

“That sort of stuff indoors, that can’t happen,” Murphy said. “That’s exactly why Arizona and Florida and Texas and other places are exploding.”

— Justine McDaniel, Allison Steele, and Ellie Rushing