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Coronavirus Philadelphia: Mayor Kenney 'Not Going To Sacrifice People's Lives' In Reopening City Early As Protesters Plan City Hall Rally

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney says he's "not going to sacrifice people's lives" in reopening the city too soon during the COVID-19 pandemic in response to protesters who are planning a rally at City Hall on Friday. The scheduled protest will call on the city to open businesses back up that have been shutdown during the outbreak.

Kenney says the city will reopen when Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley and other medical experts give the go-ahead.

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"As we can see in other places, you're starting to see spikes in Florida, I expect spikes in Georgia, and we do not want to take the position which seems to be emerging from the White House and through people like former Gov. Christie, which was appalling his comments yesterday, we're not going to sacrifice people's lives. There's no such thing as collateral lives. They're all human beings, they're all part of our country, state and city and we're not going to sacrifice anybody intentionally," Kenney said, referring to Christie's comments that "there are going to be deaths no matter what" in reopening the country.

Kenney says there is no set date to reopen the city.

"You can't set a timeline. The timeline is what the virus dictates. We certainly have target things we'd like to see happen, but unless the data indicates that it's safe, then it's not safe," Kenney said.

During Wednesday's press briefing, Dr. Farley said he's been getting many questions about when the city will reopen.

"I can't say because I can't predict the future. We're still learning about this virus, we're still learning about this epidemic. The virus has more surprises in store for us, so we're just going to see how it goes," Farley said.

Farley reported 60 new deaths due to a backlog, bringing the city's death toll to 803. There were an additional 287 cases, raising the total to 16,697.

"Overall still, if you look at our trend on deaths per day, our trend is downward on parallel with the epidemic," Farley said.


The health commissioner says he understands how staying at home is difficult for everybody, but it's showing positive results.

"I can say though, that right now, we are clearly moving in the right direction. Our actions are very much slowing the spread of this virus, our actions are very much saving lives. So, right now, we need to simply keep going what we're doing that's working," Farley said.

Statewide, there are nearly 52,000 coronavirus cases, with the death toll topping 3,100.

CBS3's Natasha Brown contributed to this report.

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