At 11 a.m. Sunday, drummers and performers began their herky-jerky march down 10th Street, firecrackers popping, shopkeepers and onlookers applauding. The air was quickly filled with the acrid odor of gunpowder.
A hefty crowd from across the city turned out for the annual celebration of the Chinese New Year, saying goodbye to the Year of the Pig and welcoming in the Year of the Rat.
There was no discernible worry over the spread of a new strain of coronavirus, a lethal variant of the viruses producing SARS and MERS. Just hours before the start of Philadelphia Chinatown’s Lion Dance parade, federal health officials announced that a third case of coronavirus had been identified in the United States, this one in Orange County, Calif. (By Sunday evening, the U.S. total had risen to five.)
The coronavirus outbreak apparently began in the city of Wuhan in China. Chinese authorities reported 80 deaths by Sunday evening.
Iain and Bridget Riley of Roxborough, who brought their two small children to the parade, were not concerned about the virus, a view that seemed widely held by parade goers.
“I don’t have a concern,” Iain Riley said. “That’s why we have organizations like the CDC and public health agencies that’ll identify the threat.”