Philly Coronavirus News: Jim Gardner Interviews Mike Pence About Philly Concerns

Plus, Philadelphians are still not social distancing enough.

Jim Gardner interviews Mike Pence about the Philadelphia coronavirus crisis

Jim Gardner interviews Vice President Mike Pence about Philadelphia coronavirus outbreak. (Screenshots courtesy 6ABC)

A roundup of Philly coronavirus news.

Mike Pence Addresses Philly Coronavirus Concerns in Jim Gardner Interview

On Wednesday, we told you that the White House was “concerned” about the coronavirus in Philadelphia. White House coronavirus official Deborah Birx appeared on Good Morning America early on Wednesday morning. She said that the White House was particularly concerned about the numbers and trends in places like Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C.

Now, love him or hate him, Vice President Mike Pence has addressed those concerns about Philadelphia’s coronavirus problem in an interview with legendary 6ABC anchor Jim Gardner.

“We’re beginning to see cases emerge,” Pence told Gardner. “And our experts have noted that the Philadelphia area just is at the very beginning to being to trend in a direction that we want the people of Philadelphia to know now more than ever it’s important to… put into practice those principles of social distancing, personal hygiene that will ensure that the greater Philadelphia area does not have to endure what some other major metropolitan areas have endured.”

After Pence raised the idea of “reopening America” and “reopening the economy,” Gardner pressed him. “Are we just setting the stage for another mass outbreak?” asked Gardner, pointing out that the federal government still has no clear plan for mass testing.

“Well, as the president has said, we want to reopen the economy in Pennsylvania and all across America, when we can do so responsibly,” Pence told Gardner. “Testing will be an important part of that but I think you make a very good point that our objective this summer, Jim, is to be at a place that we can go from what the experts called diagnostic testing, which is what we’re doing today, as trying to identify people that have the coronavirus, to what’s called surveillance testing. And we have every confidence that with the incredible response that we’ve gotten from laboratories and manufacturers, that we’ll be making all of those tests.”

You can watch Jim Gardner’s full interview with Mike Pence below:

Some Philadelphians Still Don’t Seem to Get the Concept of Social Distancing During Coronavirus

We spent a couple of hours driving around various neighborhoods in Philadelphia on Thursday. And we have to say, what we saw concerned us.

We went by West Philly parks and water ice stands (which are open, why?). We drove along South Philly sidewalks and through the fringes of Center City. And we saw example after example of Philadelphia not social distancing.

shoppers not social distancing in the italian market in philadelphia during the coronavirus outbreak

Shoppers not practicing social distancing in the Italian Market during the Philadelphia coronavirus outbreak on Thursday, April 10th. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Associated Press photographer Matt Rourke took the above snapshot in the Italian Market on Thursday. It is pretty indicative of what we witnessed. (We’ve blurred immediately identifiable faces.)

Oh, don’t get us wrong. Most people are staying inside during the Philadelphia coronavirus outbreak, and that’s great. And, if we had to guess, most people who do step outside are social distancing. And that’s wonderful.

Mayor Jim Kenney sounds hopeful and optimistic in this inspiring open letter to Philadelphia that he released early on Friday. And we’d like to agree with him.

But every time we see a group like this one in the Italian Market — and, again, scenes like this are in no short supply in Philly — we worry that Philly is going to go the way of New York City. Because the concept of social distancing just doesn’t seem to “click” for some people. And it only takes some to reverse the good work we’ve been doing.

Get it together, Philly… before it’s October and you’re wondering why Eagles season hasn’t started yet.

Philly’s African American Population Hit Harder With Coronavirus

Philly Mag columnist Ernest Owens wrote an opinion column on Wednesday, in which he explained why Philly’s black community would be more affected by the coronavirus than other communities. At the time, we didn’t have the official demographic data yet. Well, now we do.

On Thursday, Philadelphia health officials released that data, which shows higher coronavirus rates among Philly’s black community, mirroring the trends in other major metropolitan areas.

“Like other health problems, we may see that this virus affects people who have other disadvantages more,” Philadelphia coronavirus czar (a.k.a. our health commissioner) Thomas Farley said on Thursday.

Briefly Noted

Because marks in stores need to be artistic, Mural Arts steps up

Speaking of art, Philly establishes $3.5-million COVID-19 fund for arts and culture programs

One winner in all this: the marijuana industry