PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Here at home, there are rising concerns about the Wuhan coronavirus. Philadelphia officials are hoping to give residents, as well as restaurants and businesses, a boost of confidence and support.
“We have confidence that everybody’s safe coming to Chinatown,” Mayor Jim Kenney said.
As a major show of support for residents and businesses in Chinatown, Kenney and other city officials had lunch at the Ocean Harbor Restaurant on Thursday afternoon.
They’re hoping to quell rising fears about the coronavirus.
“We don’t want people overreacting to this international situation. We’re under control here in Philadelphia and around the country, and we don’t want people to stop coming to Chinatown and patronizing these businesses,” Kenney said.
Although there have been no confirmed cases of the virus in Philadelphia to date, restaurant and business owners in Chinatown say they’re feeling the brunt of the concern surrounding the international health issue, which began in Wuhan, China.
Many say they’re losing business amid its global spread.
“We’re trying to balance the coverage, which is somewhat hysterical. We want to make it less hysterical and more normal and we don’t want to see them hurt,” Kenney said.
“The coronavirus is not spreading in Philadelphia right now. There is a global public health risk, but we’re not seeing it in Philadelphia right now,” City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.
Health officials say they have mechanisms and procedures in place should any cases arise.
“Countries that have strong public health organizations like the United States have been able to contain the spread of the virus. At the health department, we have a team of people working full time to identify any cases that occur in Philadelphia and to make sure they’re not spreading it to others,” Farley said.
Health officials in Wisconsin confirmed the state’s first case of coronavirus on Wednesday, raising the total number of cases in the U.S. to 12.