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Pa., N.J. COVID-19 rates are the highest since spring | Morning Newsletter

And, Biden visited Gettysburg for a speech focused on unity.

    The Morning Newsletter

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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,

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.

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

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.

What you need to know today

  1. President Trump’s campaign was in court yesterday challenging Philadelphia’s new satellite election officers. The campaign argued that its representatives should be able to observe what happens inside the locations. City officials say the new officers are not actually polling locations, so official poll watchers aren’t permitted under state law.

  2. Some fear the already alarming number of closed child-care centers in Pennsylvania could get worse.

  3. Until mind-sets are addressed, until the culture of violence is addressed, all the things that have been going on prior to this pandemic … we’re going to end up in the same place,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said about the city’s surge in gun violence.

  4. American Airlines was one of Philadelphia’s 10 largest employers before the pandemic. Now, about 1,200 employees based here will be laid off, including hundreds of flight attendants.

  5. Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence will debate tonight in Utah. Here’s all the info on how to watch and stream the event.

  6. Delta, a hurricane headed for the Gulf Coast, grew explosively yesterday, my colleague Anthony R. Wood reports. Its winds reached 140 mph and it might become even stronger. It could reach the Louisiana or Mississippi coast this week.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

@_marcphilly_ was up bright and early to get this shot. Thanks for sharing.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout-out!

That’s interesting

  1. 🏠 One thing advocates think could help with the affordable housing gap is a bill in Pennsylvania that could create a version of the federal housing tax credit program.

  2. 🍷 A computer outage is preventing Pennsylvania bars and restaurants from ordering wine and spirits online.

  3. 😡 If the political posts on your Facebook feed are straining your real-life relationships, you’re not alone, my colleague Erin McCarthy reports.

  4. 🗳️ If you encounter any problems while you’re voting, let us know about it through our election tipline.

  5. 🎸 Guitar rock legend Eddie Van Halen died yesterday at the age of 65.

  6. ⚾ Could a Cherry Hill native be the best candidate to be the Phillies' new GM?


“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.

  1. Sen. Pat Toomey and ex-Gov. Ed Rendell write for The Inquirer about the need for term limits.

  2. Eve Carlton, who is an essential worker as a security officer, writes about the HEROES Act that has yet to pass the Senate.

What we’re reading

  1. Eater Philly is curious about how much you’re tipping at restaurants right now.

  2. And, also on the dining front, NPR has a story about the city’s move to replace parking spots with places for outdoor dining.

  3. One of my favorite weeks of the year just ended as a winner was crowned in Fat Bear Week, “an annual tournament celebrating the success of the bears at Brooks River in Katmai National Park” in Alaska. You can check out the park’s Twitter page for pictures and videos of this year’s competitors.

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.