Hi everyone! I’m Ellie Silverman, a reporter on the Inquirer’s breaking news team. We’re revamping our nightly coronavirus newsletter to give you a deeper look at how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting your lives. We’ll have the stats for you on the number of cases in the region, the latest news about testing, medical breakthroughs, and government orders, and a few stories that will take your mind off of the outbreak.
I’m always looking for story ideas (literally), so feel free to reach out with any questions or tips. Our coverage is all facts, no panic, and free to access. Make sure you check Inquirer.com/coronavirus for the latest news and please feel free to tell your family and friends to sign up.
TL;DR: Gov. Tom Wolf wants you to stay home if you live in one of seven Pennsylvania counties. I’ll tell you what that means and whom it impacts. He also announced statewide school closures that (for now) last into April. In medical developments, the race to find a vaccine is moving quickly but still seems to be more than a year away. And, in major international news, the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo are looking like they’ll be postponed.
Recent developments / what you need to know:
📈There have been hundreds of reported coronavirus cases in the Philadelphia region. Track the spread here.
🏠 Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered people to stay at home if they live in Philadelphia, Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Monroe, or Montgomery Counties.
🎒Wolf also announced all Pennsylvania K-12 schools will remain closed at least through April 6. New Jersey schools are closed indefinitely.
🗳️ Pennsylvania is poised to move the state’s primary election from April 28 to June 2.
🏅A member of the International Olympic Committee says the the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are expected to be postponed due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
Local coronavirus cases
As of Monday afternoon, here’s how many cases have been confirmed in the Philadelphia area:
PHILADELPHIA: 128 confirmed cases (up from 96 on March 22)
SUBURBAN PA: 266 confirmed cases (up from 212 on March 22)
SOUTH JERSEY: 82 confirmed cases (up from 58 on March 22)
The counties hardest hit by the spread of the new coronavirus will soon be facing more severe restrictions. Gov. Tom Wolf’s stay-at-home order requires you to stay inside, unless you need to make an essential trip, like going to the grocery store or seeking medical help.
The order, which goes into effect at 8 p.m. and last two weeks, applies to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties in the southeast, Monroe County in the northeast, and Allegheny County in Western Pennsylvania.
This comes a day after Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney issued a similar order for the city’s 1.6 million residents and just days after Wolf ordered all but “life-sustaining” businesses in Pennsylvania to shut down.
“Before we can recover, Wolf said Monday, “we must survive.”
Scientists are racing to develop a vaccine for the new coronavirus, but even at their most rapid pace, the end result could be a year and a half away.
Though this may seem like an extremely long time to all of us who are not scientists, my colleague Tom Avril reports that 18 months would actually be the fastest development of a vaccine yet. It usually takes years, even decades, to design a vaccine, prove that it’s safe and that it works and, create a manufacturing facility to mass produce the vaccine.
And a vaccine isn’t the only thing the medical community is racing for. An intensive care doctor wrote for The Inquirer about desperately needing more vital medical technology such as ventilators. Also, the families of Philadelphia’s health-care workers are facing painful choices and anxiety as their relatives become the first responders to the outbreak.
Let’s take a quick break
🐶Thanks to you, more homeless animals are being saved around Philly than ever.
🏒 Who runs the Flyers? These women are behind Gritty’s voice and the Rage Room.
🥊 We asked people to watch the same movie this weekend, Rocky, and talk about why they loved it, or in some cases didn’t. Here’s what they said.
Social distancing tip of the day: Enjoy parks, while staying apart
Going on a walk or getting some exercise is allowed under the stay-at-home order. Our architecture columnist Inga Saffron writes about the importance of parks and how they can be a place where “we can demonstrate our social connectedness only by coming together in the same place — at least six feet apart.”
Have a social distancing tip or question to share? Let us know at email@example.com and your input might be featured in a future edition of this newsletter.
What we’re paying attention to
Don’t believe everything you hear. You may be reading rumors on social media about the new coronavirus, so here are some guidelines from Mother Jones on avoiding misinformation.
The Atlantic writes about how this pandemic spread across the United States and how it could have been avoided.
The Amplify Nursing podcast from Penn Nursing that includes a discussion of the coronavirus that, among other things, covers what we should expect in the days and weeks to come.
It’s not all horrible
If you’re a senior citizen, immunocompromised, or have an underlying medical condition, you may not feel safe to leave your home to get groceries. Eighteen-year-old Jasleen Gill wants to help.
My colleague Erin McCarthy wrote about Jasleen’s Corona Relief Squad, where she, her 11-year-old brother Ranvir and a few other volunteers, run their own free delivery service to help those who are especially vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We should practice social distancing, but now is also the time to come out and help," Gill said. “We as the younger generation have to take care of the older generation."
What can help protect you from the coronavirus?
What are the first symptoms of the coronavirus?
If you think you have the coronavirus, what should you do?
Not sure what a medical term means? We have definitions for you.
Have another question? Our reporters have tracked down answers.
📸 Curious about what Philly looks like right now? Our photographers are capturing the outbreak with breathtaking photography.