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A 19th-century treatment is being used to battle coronavirus infections | Coronavirus Newsletter

Plus, there’s a second health crisis happening

Doctors who have recovered from the COVID-19 coronavirus infection donate plasma in February in China.
Doctors who have recovered from the COVID-19 coronavirus infection donate plasma in February in China.Read moreSTR/AFP / MCT

TL;DR: Plasma, a 19th-century treatment, is being used to battle coronavirus infections and physicians at local hospitals are studying how and if it works. There is also a second health crisis happening, doctors say, of patients with heart attacks or strokes delaying medical care until it is too late. Here are photos of how the coronavirus is affecting lives in the Philadelphia region .

— Ellie Silverman (@esilverman11,

What you need to know

🏖️ Gov. Phil Murphy said no statewide decision has been made on opening New Jersey’s beaches this summer, and has said there are “still weeks to go” before the state begins to reopen its economy. Meanwhile, the Atlantic City Convention Center is now a field hospital. See what it looks like here.

🍞 Delaware County temporarily furloughed 400 workers. Also, the National Guard delivered 15,000 meals to the county. Here are photos.

🏠 New Jersey has charged more than 1,700 for violating stay-at-home orders but just a handful of citations have been issued in Pennsylvania.

😷 Activists fear many more ICE detainees are infected with the coronavirus than limited testing shows.

💊 A study finds more deaths and no benefit from the malaria drug touted by President Donald Trump.

Anthony Fauci describes what it would take for him to walk into a ballpark this summer.

Local coronavirus cases

📈As of Tuesday evening, there are more than 23,600 reported cases in the Philadelphia area. Track the spread here.

  1. PHILADELPHIA: 10,028 confirmed cases

  2. SUBURBAN PA: 8,644 confirmed cases

  3. SOUTH JERSEY: 4,952 confirmed cases

“The idea is as simple as it is elegant,” my colleague Tom Avril writes. After someone recovers from the coronavirus, their plasma (the liquid component of blood) still contains antibodies that the immune system developed to fight off the disease. That plasma can then be donated and administered to people who are sick to help them get better. Treatments like this were used more than a century ago, before there were vaccines to treat measles and other infectious diseases. Read more about the local hospitals trying to see if it works, and the people it may have helped so far. And here is how to donate plasma to help coronavirus patients.

There is a second health crisis happening, doctors say. People who would usually go to the emergency room for symptoms like chest pain and numbness, which could indicate a heart attack or stroke, are not coming in, afraid a trip to the hospital could sicken them with coronavirus. But, if you need medical care, staying home is not a safe option. By the time these patients do come in, they are much harder to treat and dying at higher rates. Read more about what doctors say to do if you are feeling sick.

Helpful resources

  1. There’s so much coronavirus information out there. Here’s how to make sense of it.

  2. Here are 8 principles of social distancing to help figure out what you can and can’t do.

  3. What are the first symptoms of the coronavirus? Pink eye is also a possible early warning sign of coronavirus, eye doctors report.

  4. Not sure what a medical term means? We have definitions for you.

  5. Have another question? Our reporters have tracked down answers.

You got this: Philly stores that deliver groceries, meat, dairy, coffee beans and more

If you aren’t in the mood to stand outside your local grocery store, sometimes waiting in lines that wrap around the block, just to get inside and dodge other shoppers who aren’t quite following social distancing, then we have advice for you. We have a list of delivery options, plenty supporting local businesses and some even guaranteeing next-day delivery. Here’s a list of places to order your produce, dairy, meat/seafood/protein alternatives, pantry items, and coffee.

💰Looking for your $500 coronavirus stimulus check for kids? Here’s what you need to do.

🐶 How to do this now: Visiting a veterinarian during the coronavirus pandemic

🍷What are we drinking during quarantine? Here is a chart of the best-selling alcohol, which includes Fireball shots, sweet wines, and a lot of vodka.

Have a social distancing tip or question to share? Let us know at and your input might be featured in a future edition of this newsletter.

What we’re paying attention to

  1. “Coronavirus entered my father’s nursing home and nobody warned me. I did not get the chance to save him," New York Times reporter Jan Ransom writes for ProPublica.

  2. Seniors were more supportive than any other age group. But now, their net approval of the president has plummeted. The National Journal writes how they are turning on him because of his response to the coronavirus.

  3. Isolation journals. Internet archiving teams. Studies. MIT Technology Review writes how people, from researchers to everyday citizens, are racing to preserve a record of how we lived during the pandemic. “We are looking into the future’s history now. This is a historical event, we are in it, and we are shaping the telling of that story.”

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