TL;DR: After noticing a lot of younger Philadelphians not wearing masks over the weekend, Mayor Jim Kenney told people to “just put on the damn mask." New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has described people who defy the stay-at-home order and social distancing guidelines as “knuckleheads.” Here’s the psychology behind why it’s hard for people to accept a pandemic. And see photos of the new normal, as Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

— Ellie Silverman (@esilverman11,

What you need to know

🏨 Philly’s coronavirus quarantine hotel for those with nowhere else to go is having trouble meeting their needs, residents and staffers say.

📓 New Jersey schools will be closed for the rest of the academic year.

💰 Pennsylvania and New Jersey public companies received millions in PPP loans meant for small businesses.

📱 As COVID-19 spreads behind bars at Fort Dix, inmates are turning to contraband cellphones, and social media for help.

🍽️ Philly-area restaurant owners are planning a “hard reset” for reopening during pandemic.

🇺🇸 For the first time, the Supreme Court is providing live audio of oral arguments. Justices are hearing cases remotely for the next two weeks.

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.

‘Just put on the damn mask’ and don’t be a 'knucklehead:’ Mayor Kenney and Gov. Murphy encourage residents to keep up social distancing

After noticing a lot of younger Philadelphians not wearing masks over the weekend, Mayor Jim Kenney today told people to “just put on the damn mask.” Gov. Phil Murphy has described people who defy the stay-at-home order and social-distancing guidelines as “knuckleheads,” calling someone who doesn’t follow the rules “a stupid bumbling inept person.” These leaders have taken to using this plain, direct language in urging people to take the coronavirus threat seriously so the rate of new cases can keep slowing.

The psychology behind why it’s hard for us to accept a pandemic

There has been overcrowding at beaches and parks, people going out without masks, gatherings to watch the Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds fly over Philadelphia, even with a stay-at-home order in place. It’s hard for people to accept there is a pandemic, an invisible threat that could kill them and their loved ones. And despite the public health models, charts, predictions, and daily press conferences with officials urging residents to stay home, people just are not good at estimating what will happen next, Tim Shipley, a psychology professor at Temple University, told my colleague Bethany Ao. Read more here about the psychology behind this.

Helpful resources

You got this: Everything you need to know about wearing a mask

A lot of readers have asked how to wear masks better, more comfortably, and if they are needed in all situations. Here are answers to questions like how to find, make, and buy a mask, if you need to wear them while exercising outdoors, when to know it is time to wash them, how to make sure your glasses don’t fog up, and if little kids also need to wear masks. Read more here.

💰 Didn’t get a small business loan to stay open? Here are other options for help.

📸 See photos of the clown crawl spreading into a sprawl at local park.

🌮 “Taco Tuesday” is Cinco de Mayo. Here’s where to get tacos.

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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