TL;DR: Essential workers have continued to do their jobs even in the face of the coronavirus’ rising death toll. But many of them feel unsafe and underappreciated. And as researchers seek to develop coronavirus vaccines, they face a host of unanswered questions about immunity.

— Chris Palmer (@cs_palmer,

What you need to know:

🛑 Officials from two central Pennsylvania counties notified Gov. Tom Wolf that they will defy his guidance and move into the “yellow phase” of reopening starting May 15.

🏖️ Beaches in Ocean City, Sea Isle City, and Upper Township were opened this weekend for exercise and activities like surfing and fishing.

🏥 Pennsylvania’s coronavirus death toll reached 3,707 Sunday as the state reported 19 more deaths.

👐 In New Jersey, the coronavirus death toll climbed Sunday by 140 people to 9,255 overall.

Local coronavirus cases

📈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.

As the death toll from the pandemic has grown in Philadelphia, workers have continued bagging our groceries, answering our calls, driving our buses, caring for our vulnerable, guarding our prisons, cleaning our floors, delivering our packages, and securing our buildings. Many of these workers are women and people of color earning low and working-class wages.

My colleauges Jessica Calefati, Juliana Feliciano Reyes, and Barbara Laker spoke to more than a dozen people in essential roles. Many said they don’t feel protected or appreciated.

No one can say for sure yet how quickly people might be immune from the coronavirus if they’ve had it and recovered. The question isn’t just important on its own: How the immune system responds to the coronavirus will provide clues for how it might react to a vaccine.

My colleague Tom Avril explains how the complicated questions regarding immunity will have profound impacts on our future.

Helpful resources

Mother's Day collage of chefs whose restaurants are inspired by their mothers and grandmothers.
Mother's Day collage of chefs whose restaurants are inspired by their mothers and grandmothers.

It was a Mother’s Day like no other on Sunday, with Zoom calls and flower deliveries taking the place of big family gatherings. But it’s never too late to continue honing your kitchen skills for the next time you can treat mom to brunch or dinner. Here are four recipes that some of the city’s best chefs say were inspired by their own mothers and grandmothers.

📺 Another week of no school? These smart, fun livestreams for kids will help you muddle through.

🏃 Can runners spew viruses farther than 6 feet? Scientists suggest avoiding the ‘slipstream.’

🎾 Tennis is a socially distant game by design, so why doesn’t Philly reopen its tennis courts?

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

  • As the coronavirus continues to batter the U.S. economy, the Trump administration is growing weary of the cost of the stimulus packages, the Washington Post reports.
  • Apps that track your potential exposure to coronavirus are starting to boom. The MIT Technology Review built a database reviewing each one’s level of transparency, data collection methods, and policies.
  • Netflix not reducing your anxiety? Wired offers ideas for how to stay calm as the pandemic drags on.

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