TL;DR: All Pennsylvania counties — including Philadelphia and its suburbs — will move to the first phase of the state’s reopening plan by June 5, Gov. Tom Wolf said Friday. At that point, most businesses will be able to reopen, with restrictions. Also, ethicists consider whether anti-lockdown protesters should waive their medical care.

— Andrew Seidman (@AndrewSeidman,

What you need to know:

😷Pennsylvania has been combining results from two different types of coronavirus tests, an approach that experts say can paint a skewed picture of COVID-19 infection rates, cases, and testing capacity.

💰Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate in April skyrocketed to a record 15.1%, according to data released Friday. In New Jersey, the unemployment rate surged to 15.3%.

👐New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday he is signing an executive order that will allow outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people, up from the previous limit of 10.

💰New Jersey is potentially facing a shortfall of nearly $10 billion through the end of June 2021, the state treasurer said.

☎️Calls to Pennsylvania’s child-abuse hotline have plunged. But that doesn’t mean fewer children are being abused, experts say.

🐭With many restaurants closed, the CDC warned of a potential increase in “unusual or aggressive rodent behavior” in cities as rats search for new sources of food.

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.

Two months after Pennsylvania ordered residents to stay home and most businesses to close, the state is inching closer toward reopening. Forty-nine of the state’s 67 counties have already reached the “yellow” phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan. Another eight counties will reach that stage May 29, Wolf said Friday. And Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton, Montgomery, and Philadelphia will follow on June 5.

In the yellow stage, most businesses can reopen, but restrictions on large gatherings remain, and restaurants, gyms, salons, movie theaters, and malls stay closed. The development came shortly after Democratic lawmakers from the Philadelphia area increased pressure on Wolf to loosen restrictions.

Imagine a loved one who has followed all the rules contracted COVID-19 and couldn’t get proper medical treatment because a bunch of anti-lockdown protesters ended up on ventilators. A group of bioethicists, including two from Penn Medicine, wrote an essay arguing that protesters who defy social-distancing guidelines and refuse to wear masks should sign documents saying they won’t accept scarce medical care if they get sick. “You don’t just get to go around screaming `Freedom!' all day and do what you want,” one of the ethicists told The Inquirer’s Stacey Burling.

Helpful resources

You got this: Make the most of Memorial Day

Here’s our guide to kicking off the start of summer while staying safe and practicing social distancing. You shouldn’t invite friends over, but there are other ways to celebrate.

👐 The CDC tweaked its guidance to reflect that coronavirus spreads mainly between people, not via contaminated surfaces. Here’s why it’s so hard to be sure about surfaces and coronavirus.

🌊It’s worth thinking twice about whether to go to the Shore. But if you do, here’s what you need to know about wearing a mask on the beach.

☀️Do saltwater and sunshine at the Shore kill the coronavirus? Here’s what science says.

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.

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