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A critical time for contact tracing | Morning Newsletter

And, know your local Black baseball history.

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

Hello, readers of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter.

First: It’s a critical time for contact tracing.

Then: We’re bringing you the whole story of Philly’s historic Fairmount Park League.

And: Not everyone eligible to receive the child tax credit is getting it.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_AshleyHoffman,

Contact tracing, the practice of asking patients whom they’ve been in touch with in order to determine a virus’ spread — is an important tool in understanding and curbing the coronavirus’ continued growth.

It generally involves calling people who have tested positive for the coronavirus, identifying anyone they might have exposed, and then reaching out to those people to alert them — and tell them to quarantine or monitor for symptoms. As the virus spread rapidly last year, it was impossible for health departments to trace all cases. But now, as rates have dropped in the Philly region, contact tracing is a powerful tool again. Look no farther than tiny Delaware, which has wielded it especially well, reaching a higher percentage of people recently than neighboring Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

With the delta variant spreading quickly, and already bringing on surges in undervaccinated areas of the country, officials across the Philly region are saying comprehensive contact tracing is essential in this critical time.

Read on for Erin McCarthy’s report on this critical time for contact tracing.

“Founded before Major League Baseball had desegregated, an all-Black alternative to what had been an all-white institution, the Fairmount Park League has seen much of its history — a kind of oral tradition handed down through anecdotes and word of mouth and rarely documented — peter out and its relevance to the modern sports scene fray like an old thread.”

So begins columnist Mike Sielski’s piece on how Philly’s Fairmount Park League and a piece of Black baseball history, along with it, are disappearing.

In the glory days, it had as many as 20 teams, most or all of them based in neighborhoods sprinkled throughout the city, and the community pride on the line in every game. Now there’s little to no record of it at all, except for the memories this story seeks to capture.

Read on for what makes the Fairmount Park League so significant.

Reopening resources

🆕 Do I need a COVID-19 vaccine booster to protect myself from delta and other variants?

Track the latest data on COVID-19 cases in the region.

Don’t ask for someone’s vaccination status, do this.

Here’s what experts feel safe doing — and what they don’t.

How to navigate fear about getting the coronavirus, even if you’re vaccinated.

What you need to know today

  1. Hailed as a game-changer that could significantly cut childhood poverty, the child tax credit arrived last week. Not everyone eligible for child tax credit is receiving it.

  2. Shrouds of smoke from wildfires in the Pacific Northwest are congesting the Philly region’s skies again — and much of the country.

  3. The Phillies’ anti-vaccine issue is much more than a personal choice. It’s a cultural phenomenon that starts at the very top, and doesn’t end with No. 1 pitcher Aaron Nola. About half of the players on the roster have refused the vaccine, two sources associated with the ownership and management of the team have said.

  4. In a shift of a previously clear position, now Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says he’s open to some stricter ID rules, including requiring ID for mail voting.

  5. Our photographers captured community members who gathered during Eid Al-Adha.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

A great scene. Thanks for sharing.

Tag your Instagram posts with #OurPhilly, and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature here and give you a shout-out.

That's interesting

🏘️ Four proposed developments would add more than 1,300 homes and more than 50,000 square feet of retail space in Callowhill. This push would square with Philly’s efforts to do better to connect with the neighborhood that I-95 and the Vine Street Expressway have cut off for decades.

🏅 The Tokyo Olympics will be the first for legalized sports betting across the country, and basketball and golf are likely to be heavy draws. So why are the bookies so nervous?

🧽 This is how you can organize a block cleanup in Philly.


“We’re on track to set a record this year with more than 304 homicides and 1,264 shootings already recorded. And yet, here we are, coyly and cowardly debating the meaning and impact of declaring an emergency an emergency.” Mayor Kenney’s refusal to declare gun violence an emergency is an act of cowardice, columnist Helen Ubiñas writes.

  1. “It’s called the circle of life. Although it feels as if hip-hop should be immune to aging, it’s not,” columnist Elizabeth Wellington writes that Biz Markie’s death reminds us the hip-hop generation is getting older, and there’s a new closing time.

  2. President Joe Biden is making the right call on leaving Afghanistan, columnist Will Bunch writes.

What we’re reading

  1. The Norwegian women’s beach handball team has been fined for not playing in bikinis, while male players are out here in tank tops and shorts, NBC reports.

  2. Thomas Barrack, a longtime friend of Donald Trump’s, was arrested yesterday on charges that he acted as an agent of a foreign government, NPR reports

Your daily dose of | Sand Man

Adam Sandler, the actor behind the “stay young as long as you can” meme and the “this is how I win” meme, had a tryout for basketball players (and movie hopefuls alike) who all wanted to do both of those things by becoming extras for his new movie.