6:10 AM - May 4, 2020
6:10 AM - May 4, 2020

Read the latest Philadelphia area coronavirus coverage here

On April 2, the CEO of Windtree Therapeutics, a biotech and medical-device company, boasted of “tremendous progress” the company made in 2019, capped by a December stock sale that netted the Bucks County firm $23 million.

Just a week later, Windtree applied for an emergency small-business relief loan available as part of the sweeping coronavirus economic rescue package. On April 20, the Warrington-based company, which employs 32 people, won approval for a $546,600 loan, regulatory filings show.

Windtree was among at least 20 publicly traded companies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey that won approval for at least $48.6 million in government-backed loans under the troubled Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to an Inquirer analysis of records filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Plus Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to make an announcement on the fate of the academic year for New Jersey school students. Gov. Tom Wolf already canceled in-person classes for Pennsylvania school students.

9:10 PM - May 3, 2020
9:10 PM - May 3, 2020

In televised town hall, Trump pushes for economic reopening

Anxious to spur an economic recovery without risking lives, President Donald Trump on Sunday insisted that “you can satisfy both" — see some states gradually lift lockdowns while also protecting people from the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 60,000 Americans.

The president, fielding questions from Americans in a virtual town hall from the Lincoln Memorial, acknowledged valid fears on both sides of the issue. Some people are worried about getting sick; others are reeling from lost jobs and livelihoods.

President Donald Trump speaks during a Fox News virtual town hall from the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday.
Evan Vucci / AP
President Donald Trump speaks during a Fox News virtual town hall from the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday.

But while Trump increased his projection for the total U.S. death total to 80,000 or 90,000 — up by more than 20,000 fatalities from what he had suggested just a few weeks ago — he struck a note of urgency to restart the nation’s economy, declaring “we have to reopen our country.

“We have to get it back open safely but as quickly as possible,” Trump said.

Associated Press

8:49 PM - May 3, 2020
8:49 PM - May 3, 2020

In Fishtown, a different kind of ‘clown crawl’

The clowns were a bit sad this year.

With bars in Philadelphia closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, Pat Kelly’s annual “clown crawl” — a bar crawl through Fishtown where attendees dress as clowns — was instead reduced Sunday to a trip to Penn Treaty Park.

A small handful of people drank beers.

“Clown sprawl,” Kelley called it.

Pat Kelly, at left, also known as “Clowney McClownface,” and Ashley McGarry, right, also known as “Funny Bunny,” wave to motorists on Sunday. They were walking to Penn Treaty Park to celebrate the 9th annual “Clown Crawl.” This year because of the coronavirus outbreak their usual bars were closed. Kelly, the founder of the bar crawl, said they wanted to go ahead with the gathering so he called it the “Clown Sprawl’ to play off of distancing guidelines.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Pat Kelly, at left, also known as “Clowney McClownface,” and Ashley McGarry, right, also known as “Funny Bunny,” wave to motorists on Sunday. They were walking to Penn Treaty Park to celebrate the 9th annual “Clown Crawl.” This year because of the coronavirus outbreak their usual bars were closed. Kelly, the founder of the bar crawl, said they wanted to go ahead with the gathering so he called it the “Clown Sprawl’ to play off of distancing guidelines.

Attracting attention from onlookers, Kelly — also known as “Clowney McClownface” — and his fellow clowns, including Ashley “Funny Bunny” McGarry, waved at motorists that drove along Columbia Ave.

Pat Kelly, at left, also known as “Clowney McClownface,” makes a toast at Penn Treaty Park.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Pat Kelly, at left, also known as “Clowney McClownface,” makes a toast at Penn Treaty Park.

The crawl has been taking place for nine years. In the past, dozens of people have shown up.

David Maialetti

7:51 PM - May 3, 2020
7:51 PM - May 3, 2020

At the Jersey Shore, it almost felt like summer, but with coronavirus masks — and some reproach

Day two of dipping New Jersey’s toes into the waters of a few tentative beach and state parks reopenings began with a reproach.

Corson’s Inlet, a state beach at the southern end of Ocean City, would no longer allow beachgoers, only boat-launchers, the parks department announced. A state parks employee guarded the entrance, trying to keep the gnats out of her mask.

Jennifer and John Tomac of Cherry Hill on the beach in Cape May on Sunday.
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Jennifer and John Tomac of Cherry Hill on the beach in Cape May on Sunday.

Too many people crowded into the parking lot on Saturday, including reports of some who snuck back over the border into adjacent Ocean City, where beaches are still closed. In fact, several state parks were declared “overrun” on Saturday, leading to warnings and parking lot shutdowns.

Amy S. Rosenberg

3:53 PM - May 3, 2020
3:53 PM - May 3, 2020

New Jersey reports over 7,800 dead from the coronavirus; More than 126,700 have tested positive

Gov. Phil Murphy reported Sunday another 3,144 people have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the state’s total to 126,744.

Another 137 people have died from the virus, increasing the state’s death toll to 7,871.

Health officials reported 5,317 residents are hospitalized, with 1,623 in critical care. Over 1,190 are on ventilators.

— Pranshu Verma

3:22 PM - May 3, 2020
3:22 PM - May 3, 2020

Pennsylvania approaches 50,000 positive coronavirus cases; Over 2,400 have died

Another 962 Pennsylvanians have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Sunday, health officials reported. This brings the state’s total of positive cases to 49,267.

An additional 26 people have died from the virus, increasing the state’s death doll to 2,444.

“As we see the number of new COVID-19 cases continuously change across the state that does not mean we can stop practicing social distancing,” Health Secretary Rachel Levine said. “We must continue to stay home to protect ourselves, our families and our community."

The state’s nursing homes account for 10,316 of the state’s positive cases and 1,635 of its deaths.

— Pranshu Verma

2:37 PM - May 3, 2020
2:37 PM - May 3, 2020

Philadelphia tops 15,800 positive coronavirus cases, while 727 have died

Philadelphia reported another 327 people have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Sunday, bringing the city’s total to 15,854.

An additional 22 people have also died from the disease, increasing the city’s death toll to 727. A majority of the city’s fatalities are individuals who resided in long-term care facilities.

A total of 973 coronavirus patients are currently hospitalized in the city, health officials said, with a total of 1,787 in hospitals throughout the region.

Forty-three of the Philadelphia’s positive cases are in the city’s correctional facilities.

— Pranshu Verma

12:39 PM - May 3, 2020
12:39 PM - May 3, 2020

Seven states, including Pa, N.J., and Del., will purchase $5 billion of personal protective equipment as a consortium

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday seven northeastern states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, will band together to purchase $5 billion in personal protective equipment to safeguard against future supply shortages while saving taxpayers money.

“This consortium will help us get the equipment and get it at a better price,” Cuomo said.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, who attended the announcement virtually, said the consortium should also collaborate on expanding testing capacity, and said states will benefit from not having to compete with each other to get supplies.

“By working together," Wolf said, “we can do a lot more than we can do with each of us working on our own.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who also joined remotely, urged regional cooperation in purchasing supplies, as parts of the nation began reopening after weeks under lockdown. Murphy said the consortium of governors should also look to source equipment from the United States to help local businesses.

— Pranshu Verma

11:59 AM - May 3, 2020
11:59 AM - May 3, 2020

Love From Philly virtual-music festival raises funds for industry workers affected by the pandemic and honors those who have died

On Saturday, Love From Philly became a jazz festival.

The weekend-long virtual music fest is a fund-raiser for 30 Amp Circuit, a nonprofit that’s distributing micro-grants to Philadelphia musicians and venue workers whose livelihoods have been impacted by COVID-19.

The fest started Friday with a slate of mostly up-and-coming rock and hip-hop acts. It’s scheduled to continue today at 3 p.m. with bigger names, like The War On Drugs, Freeway, Kurt Vile, and John Oates.

On Saturday, Love From Philly immersed itself in the current scene of a city with a storied tradition, while also paying tribute to those who have been lost.

— Dan DeLuca

10:50 AM - May 3, 2020
10:50 AM - May 3, 2020

State restricts beach use at Corson’s Inlet amid reports of people entering closed Ocean City beaches

New Jersey has declared beach access closed at Corson’s Inlet State Park and said only boaters would be allowed to use the parking area after indications Saturday that park visitors were using it to get to the still-closed beach in Ocean City.

In a post around 8 p.m. Saturday — a day of spectacular beach weather — the state parks department issued an advisory declaring beach access from Corson’s Inlet closed until further notice.

Runners and walkers use the Rt. 52 causeway between Somers Point and Ocean City in March. Ocean City closed its beaches and boardwalk to keep people from spreading the coronavirus.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Runners and walkers use the Rt. 52 causeway between Somers Point and Ocean City in March. Ocean City closed its beaches and boardwalk to keep people from spreading the coronavirus.

“Parking lot access for boat launching only,” the advisory said.

Saturday afternoon, Ocean City’s Office of Emergency Management issued a special statement reminding people that the city’s beaches and boardwalk continued to be closed to all users.

Reports on social media showed people mostly spread out on the beach on beach chairs in Corson’s Inlet but also walking over to the adjacent beaches in Ocean City that were still closed with access blocked from the street.

A spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Protection did not immediately return a message asking for further explanation.

“Quite a few people had used the entrance to go north on to Ocean City’s closed beaches which were inaccessible from the street ends,” noted one poster on the state parks department’s Facebook page. “We came back at 2:45 p.m. ... cars everywhere people with no masks or facial coverings, groups all over, no distancing.”

— Amy S. Rosenberg

9:56 AM - May 3, 2020
9:56 AM - May 3, 2020

Secret data reveal how COVID-19 swept through Philadelphia nursing homes

The first confirmation that the coronavirus had infiltrated a Philadelphia nursing home came on March 20, an unseasonably warm Friday that hit 79 degrees. A test of a resident at the Renaissance Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center for COVID-19 came back positive.

In the weeks since, the coronavirus has torn through almost all of Philadelphia’s long-term care facilities, infecting at least 1,800 seniors, according to city records obtained exclusively by The Inquirer.

This first-ever picture of the havoc, how it spread, where and which homes were hit first and hardest is based on data the city inadvertently made available online that charted test results of residents at those homes from the start of the pandemic through April 23.

The consequences have been catastrophic: At least nine Philadelphia nursing homes had 50 or more cases by then. As of Saturday, 374 nursing home residents have died of the virus, accounting for more than half of Philadelphia’s COVID-19 deaths.

— Sean Collins Walsh, Dylan Purcell, Harold Brubaker

8:39 AM - May 3, 2020
8:39 AM - May 3, 2020

N.J. park officials note state parks overrun amid warm weekend weather

As warm weekend weather and shutdown fatigue combined to draw scores of people out of their homes Saturday, New Jersey park officials warned that a number of state parks were overrun and urged residents to go elsewhere Sunday.

People enjoy the good weather while keeping their distance from one another at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., Saturday.
Seth Wenig / AP
People enjoy the good weather while keeping their distance from one another at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., Saturday.

“REMEMBER, COVID-19 IS NOT GONE," Department of Environmental Protection officials said in a statement Sunday. “In order to KEEP PARKS OPEN and all visitors a safe distance from one another visit close to home, mask up, and make your stay short.”

Officials noted the following state parks were swarmed with visitors Saturday: Barnegat Lighthouse State Park; Bulls Island Recreation Area; Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park; Hacklebarney State Park; Round Valley Recreation Area; Wharton State Forest; Wawayanda State Park; Worthington State Forest.

Gov. Phil Murphy had said he would be watching “very closely" how park attendees behave over the weekend at the state’s parks, and would revise his reopening order if he felt it was going to worsen the spread of the coronavirus in the state.

— Pranshu Verma

8:28 AM - May 3, 2020
8:28 AM - May 3, 2020

Gas prices increase for the first time since February, though not in Pa. and N.J.

For the first time in 10 weeks, the national average price for a gallon of regular-unleaded gas showed a daily increase, rising to $1.77, from $1.76, from Friday to Saturday, according to AAA.

An Inquirer analysis of cell-phone data showed that people have been traveling more in recent weeks, and the automobile club noted that the Energy Information Administration reported an uptick in gas demand.

However, the national average price still is $1.10 cheaper than it was this time last year.

In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, prices were unchanged from Friday. The Pennsylvania price-per-gallon, $2.05, was down 2 cents from last week’s, and New Jersey’s $2.01 was a penny cheaper.

— Anthony R. Wood

8:16 AM - May 3, 2020
8:16 AM - May 3, 2020

Schools brace for budget cuts as the coronavirus wreaks havoc on the economy

The Upper Darby School District was hoping to invest next year in its elementary schools, with a plan to hire more reading specialists and guidance counselors for its youngest students.

That was before the coronavirus. Now the Delaware County district is scaling back those plans while it prepares for a blow to its budget.

"To know all the hard work we’ve done might be wiped away … is difficult,” said Superintendent Dan McGarry.

Districts like Upper Darby have spent years rebuilding from the Great Recession, which hit school budgets a decade ago. To make ends meet in Philadelphia, for instance, administrators slashed programs and laid off thousands of employees, including teachers, school nurses, aides, and every guidance counselor, secretary, and assistant principal in the system. Elsewhere, extracurriculars were cut and programs lost; class sizes swelled and support programs were gutted. Some districts have still not fully recovered.

The coming economic storm could ultimately be worse, experts say.

— Maddie Hanna, Kristen Graham

8:16 AM - May 3, 2020
8:16 AM - May 3, 2020

Glorious weather offers respite from the pandemic; reopening plans continue as cases and deaths grow

The spectacular blue skies and warmth almost made Saturday feel like part of a normal spring, a respite from the mean reality of the coronavirus as gardeners dug into backyard plots, hikers trod woodland trails, and golfers teed off on newly reopened courses.

Friends Tibor Kobolak and John Ahn hit the links at the Riverton Country Club in South Jersey, as happy as if it were Christmas morning. “I felt like I was a 10-year-old kid,” Kobolak said, his voice muffled by a protective mask.

Pennsylvania authorities prepared to ease restrictions in 24 counties this week, allowing many businesses to resume in-person operations and freeing residents to leave their homes, provided they take precautions.

At the same time, the slow, welcome seep of normality put the disparities of the crisis on full display, as people rejoiced in the sun even as coronavirus cases and deaths grew in the Philadelphia region and elsewhere, and health authorities bayed like the ancient Cassandra, cursed to know the future but not to be believed.

The one certainty of speedy reopening, experts say, is the virus will spread and sicken more people.

— Jeff Gammage, Laura McCrystal, Vinny Vella

5:00 AM - May 3, 2020
5:00 AM - May 3, 2020

Today’s Front Page

The Philadelphia Inquirer front page on May 3
The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia Inquirer front page on May 3