TL;DR: Despite a planned “ReOpen Philadelphia" protest Friday, Mayor Jim Kenney said the city will reopen when Philadelphia Public Health Commissioner Thomas Farley and other experts tell him it is safe to do so. “We are not going to sacrifice people’s lives,” he said. Another side effect of the coronavirus has been a decrease in cancer screenings. Here is why that worries doctors. See how boarded-up Center City storefronts feature works by Philly artists.
😷 Pennsylvania is starting a program to decontaminate N95 masks for reuse as medical workers continue to face shortages of personal protective equipment.
🛑 Gov. Phil Murphy extended New Jersey’s public health emergency into June. It was set to expire May 7.
📔 Lockdown diaries: During the pandemic, prisoners are locked in their cells 23 hours a day. Here are their stories.
🏥 An elder-care facility locked down to contain COVID-19. Then a resident was found shoeless wandering the street.
🍹 Pennsylvania bars are warned: Selling cocktails-to-go is still illegal.
🏖️ Jersey Shore beaches: Wildwood is also opening its beaches, the boardwalk, and parks Friday, as some other beaches open this weekend, too, and Cape May County towns will permit rentals starting Monday.
📈The coronavirus has swept across the Philadelphia region and cases continue to mount. The Inquirer and Spotlight PA are compiling geographic data on tests conducted, cases confirmed, and deaths caused by the virus. Track the spread here.
There will be a “ReOpen Philadelphia” protest Friday at City Hall with supporters of reopening Philadelphia businesses demanding that Mayor Jim Kenney lay out a plan to ease social-distancing restrictions in the city. In response, Kenney noted at a news conference today that cases rose in Florida after it began relaxing social-distancing measures. Philadelphia will reopen, Kenney said, when Philadelphia Public Health Commissioner Thomas Farley and other experts tell him it is time to do so, and based off data on the coronavirus’ spread in the city, not because of economic pressures. “We are not going to sacrifice people’s lives," he said. "There’s no such thing as collateral lives. They’re all human beings. They’re all part of our country, state and city, and we’re not going to sacrifice anybody intentionally.”
Even though Gov. Tom Wolf recently authorized hospitals to resume elective and non-urgent procedures, there could be delays with a backlog of patients waiting to reschedule procedures like mammograms, colonoscopies, and other routine cancer screenings. Just in March, preventive screenings for cervical, colon, and breast cancer plummeted, according to a report by an electronic medical records company. Austin Chiang, a gastroenterologist in Philadelphia, explained the complications of this to my colleague Sarah Gantz: “On a global scale, it’s a lot of screening procedures being deferred — and maybe some cancers that could develop in this time, as well." Read more here.
Chinatown has been one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods during the coronavirus pandemic, and my colleague Michael Klein reports how the business community there is working to recover. Restaurants there and elsewhere in the city are slowly opening back up, and pivoting to takeout and delivery. Restaurants newly offering takeout or delivery include: Vietnam Restaurant, Lee How Fook, El Vez, Morimoto, Via Locusta, Alpen Rose, Goldie, Dizengoff, Laser Wolf, Le Virtu, Bistrot La Minette, Gabi, Pizzeria Beddia, Suraya, Creed’s, among others. Read more here.
😷 You should wear a mask in hallways and other common spaces of apartment buildings, experts say.
🌆 Is it safe to open my windows right now?
👠👔 Did you have a quarantine prom? Are you having one? Tell us about it.
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