TL;DR: Another respiratory virus could make 2020 even worse: the flu. While more people feel safe going out, some are choosing to stay isolated to protect their vulnerable family members. And, Temple University faces a protest against its reopening plans.

— Lauren Aguirre (@laurencaguirre, health@inquirer.com)

What you need to know:

🧪 Are antigen tests the answer to Pennsylvania’s coronavirus testing delays? Maybe. Here are the pros and cons.

🍃 Is it allergies or COVID-19? More people might be asking themselves this question as ragweed season gets an early start.

🍎 Many private schools are planning to open in person while public schools are stuck online.

🩺 Virtual learning has made an impact on medical students, from virtual dissections to extra stress from being alone.

😷 A large outdoor gathering of new Villanova students on campus gained attention nationwide for a lack of students practicing social distancing or wearing masks.

🎻 The Philadelphia Orchestra is getting back on stage, but it will return as a smaller version with virtual concerts.

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.

The coronavirus pandemic already poses a risk to the public and has changed a lot of our expectations for this year. But another respiratory disease could create even more problems: influenza. This virus puts thousands of Americans in the hospital every year. And in a year with an influx of pandemic patients, there might not be enough room.

For many in the region and across the country, this summer has been the start of a “new normal” in public — with social distancing, masks, and frequent hand washing. But some people are still living in the red phase. Caregivers are staying at home to avoid accidentally infecting vulnerable loved ones. “We have to look at everyone as a potential threat to our son,” said Christina Young, who is still isolated in her Cherry Hill home.

Helpful resources

You got this: You probably don’t need to clean your AC condenser

Here’s a chore you can probably skip: cleaning your air conditioning condenser. The common wisdom is cleaning this outdoor unit will make your AC work better, but science says otherwise. A scientific study was conducted by David Yuill to test this assumption — and found that it often doesn’t make much of a difference. So, go ahead and knock this one off your to-do list.

👐 After many months spent inside, you might be feeling lonely. We have a few ways to get the comfort of touch when you can’t be around others.

🏰 Hey parents, here are a few ideas for low-key outings to entertain your kids, including a couple farms and a castle.

🎭 Does it count as theater if the internet is where it happens? Yep. Here’s how to find productions online.

Have a social distancing tip or question to share? Let us know at health@inquirer.com and your input might be featured in a future edition of this newsletter.

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