New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled a three-stage plan yesterday to reopen the state’s economy. Meanwhile, a South Jersey gym reopened against Murphy’s orders, prompting support from dozens of demonstrators. In Pennsylvania, 12 more counties will be allowed to start to reopen later this week, but Delaware County is reporting the highest rates of coronavirus cases in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Atilis Gym in Bellmawr reopened yesterday morning, defying Gov. Phil Murphy’s coronavirus shutdown orders and drawing a crowd of supporters, and police officers issuing a warning and wishing them a good day. The gym’s owners were later issued a citation. Here’s what the crowd looked like.
“If you show up at that gym again tomorrow there’s going to be a different reality than showing today,” Murphy said at his daily news briefing. “These aren’t just words. We’ve got to enforce this. But I also don’t want to start World War III.”
Bill Bolds spent 25 years working narcotics in the Philadelphia Police Department. But in late March, he was fighting something that he never could have prepared for: COVID-19. In a bed that was too small for his six-foot-eight, 300-pound frame, Bolds was one of the first Philly cops to fall ill, one of the first coronavirus patients admitted to Penn’s hospital, and one of the first to go on a ventilator. By then, he was looking at a 20% chance of survival, my colleague Mike Newall reports.
After being in an induced coma for 20 days, Bolds woke up to a shutdown city, but one that his fellow officers still patrol. His story, Newall writes, is “a tale of the realities of policing in the time of the coronavirus — and a hopeful glimpse of the intersection of two front lines of the pandemic: the cops policing amid a deadly virus, and the doctors and nurses trying to keep them healthy.”
As 12 more counties prepare to this week enter the “yellow” stage of Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to lift coronavirus restrictions, Philadelphia and its surrounding counties are far from reaching the plan’s needed benchmark.
Delaware County has the highest 14-day per capita rate of residents with COVID-19 of counties in the Philadelphia region, according to state data. That figure has stayed pretty steady for about a month, while Philadelphia’s rate, for example, has dropped.
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“The forgotten heroes of this time are those that find themselves thrust into positions of risk that they never saw coming. No amount of mental acrobatics could have led a bus driver or a grocery store clerk to foresee the role they are playing now. Yet they and many others find themselves now more essential to societal function than any other worker." — writes Hatem Abdallah, a medical student at Penn, about the COVID-19 heroes that aren’t health-care workers.