In case it wasn’t obvious from the coronavirus outbreak in the White House, the coronavirus pandemic is far from over. Locally, infection rates in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have now climbed back to levels not seen since late spring. Don’t put all the blame on college students returning to school, though. My colleagues analyzed the data and found that some counties without colleges or universities are experiencing a newly rising spread of the virus, too.

— Josh Rosenblat (@joshrosenblat,

Pa. and N.J. report COVID-19 infection rates not seen since late spring

While college students in the region have driven some coronavirus infection increases, my colleagues analyzed data and found that the newly rising spread is also in some counties without universities. And, as cold weather nears, community transmission wouldn’t be a surprise, according to public health experts.

“Since the end of August, the average number of new coronavirus cases reported each day nearly doubled in Pennsylvania and almost tripled in New Jersey. Compared with a month ago, average new cases a day have jumped by more than 400 in Pennsylvania, surpassing 1,000 per day last week, and increased by nearly 340 in New Jersey to more than 650,” my colleagues Justine McDaniel and Jason Laughlin write.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania has loosened its restrictions on gatherings, meaning that some fans could start to return to sports stadiums. The Union, for example, are prepping to welcome fans back to their stadium in Chester but don’t have a date set yet.

Biden in Gettysburg: ‘Once again, we are a house divided’

In a speech yesterday, Joe Biden made a speech calling for national unity and bipartisan cooperation. At the Civil War’s most famous battlefield in Gettsyburg, he positioned the 2020 election as a “battle for the soul of the nation.”

With Election Day now fewer than four weeks away, the latest Pennsylvania polls show that Biden has maintained his lead over Trump in the state

College students in Pennsylvania face new barriers to vote in a pandemic

In a typical election year, the 250 college campuses in Pennsylvania would be seeing a flurry of political activism. But this year, the pandemic has forced campaigns and political groups to completely revamp their youth voter strategy, my colleagues Anna Orso and Susan Snyder report.

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“What I saw in both districts was, like so much else in this crazy year, a confusing if also welcome scene: Kids and adults wearing masks without flinching. A crowd at less than half capacity. Everyone marching through a New Normal that does not feel normal, even though the numbness of this terrible year makes today feel slightly better than yesterday, and last week, and the month before that.” — columnist Maria Panaritis writes about the imperfect start of hybrid schooling in some suburban Philly school districts.

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Your Daily Dose of | Baking

A year ago, Yael Cooperman and Ran Betite moved to Philadelphia from Tel Aviv. Since then almost all of their plans (aside from the birth of their second child) have been either delayed, disrupted, or paused, my colleague Kevin Riordan writes. During the pandemic, Betite began making sourdough bread, and he kept making more and more and more. Now Betite has launched Metuka Freshly Baked, where he and Cooperman offer bread, babka, challah, muffins, and more online and at local markets.