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Pa. hospitals say why this COVID-19 is worse | Morning Newsletter

And Doug Emhoff’s friends and family talk about his new ‘groove.’

    The Morning Newsletter

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

Good morning.

First: Right now, this coronavirus wave could be even more overwhelming for Pennsylvania hospitals than the first one.

Second: As the country’s first second gentleman, and first Jewish spouse of a president or vice president, Doug Emhoff is taking his own place in history with a fan base of his own: the #DougHive. Staff writer Amy S. Rosenberg talked to his friends and family about what makes him such an interesting second gentleman. (Slight spoiler: it’s his humor.)

And: We’ve gathered helpful COVID-19 resources with all our latest reporting.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_ashleyhoffman,

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Pennsylvania have surpassed pandemic highs, threatening to overwhelm the state’s hospitals.

For one thing, this second surge is larger. But that’s not the only difference. During the first wave, spread-curbing restrictions were tougher than they are now. And hospitals are up against financial pressures, caution fatigue and holiday gatherings that could only make things worse.

Here’s what we can expect for area hospitals now.

Doug Emhoff will play the supportive role of the first “Second Gentleman” to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. He operated differently in his 16-year marriage to first wife Kerstin Emhoff. Then, the pair shared the spotlight. But this time around, the narrative will be more about Kamala’s job, so he quit his.

And he’s sliding into the traditional role with his sense of humor — and apparently quite naturally, those who know him best say. We talked to his first wife, and Doug’s political spouse spirit guide, Chasten Buttigieg, about getting into his new groove.

“I think he’s going to do it with grace and passion, but there will be a lot of humor in it,” Kerstin told us.

Helpful COVID-19 resources

  1. Check the current coronavirus-related restrictions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

  2. What are the first symptoms of the coronavirus and what are the differences between COVID-19, the flu, a common cold, and allergies?

  3. Can you see your friends and family for Thanksgiving? What about if you are planning to host?

  4. When should you replace your cloth face mask?

  5. Track the spread of COVID-19 infections in the region.

  6. Sign up to get free coronavirus news updates in your inbox three times a week.

What you need to know today

  1. This surge could be devastating, but hope is in sight. Pennsylvania could potentially start receiving a COVID-19 vaccine before the year is out, but ensuring that everyone gets it is another story.

  2. College students are getting tested for COVID-19 before returning home in an attempt to avoid taking the year’s most unwanted guest to the Thanksgiving table.

  3. Jake Corman, the Pa. Senate Republican leader, talked to us about his stance on unsubstantiated voter fraud claims and the winner of the 2020 election.

  4. Some Philly residents are frustrated to see that despite their best efforts to help the environment, recyclables are still getting trashed along with the regular trash.

  5. A new city law cracks down on real-estate wholesalers who some view as exploiting long-disadvantaged neighborhoods where owners underestimate the true value of their property.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

It’s that time of year when the world falls in love and every house you’re near seems to say both Happy Thanksgiving AND Merry Christmas. Thanks for sharing @JordanParenti.

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. 🦃 Emotions are high and the mood can feel low. If you’re thinking about how to talk through your Thanksgiving meal with your family, these conversation prompts can help.

  2. 🎼 Choir instruction doesn’t translate as well as other subjects over a computer. But these imaginative ideas are making that better.

  3. 🎰 Pennsylvania gaming revenue is getting lucky again after a losing streak. Take a closer look at how gambling behavior is shifting in the pandemic.

  4. 🎞️ Make it a Blockbuster night or come close to it by leaving or taking a free DVD at one of the Free Blockbusters boxes that pay tribute to the mammoth video chain.

  5. 🏀 Our 76ers reporter Keith Pompey writes that the team’s new president’s recent moves clear the way for star players Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

  6. 🦅 We break down Sunday’s Eagles game against the Browns.

Stay safe, do stuff

Here is one highlight from our weekly events calendar:

Chestnut Hill’s Circle of Trees at Woodmere Art Museum (Holiday / virtual / free / kid-friendly) The holiday season starts in Chestnut Hill with an online celebration led by Santa, who will read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to online guests and then turn on the holiday lights at Woodmere Art Museum. Registration is required. (Free, Nov. 21, 5 p.m.,, add to calendar)

🔎 Find more of this week’s safe kid-friendly, outdoor, and arts events.


“At its core, Thanksgiving is meant to be a harvest festival. Like all such festivals, it is centered around a bountiful feast that recognizes the mind-boggling power of the natural world to feed and sustain us. Implicit is a not-so-veiled plea to the natural world to please not kill us during the winter.” — Strategy and communications consultant Jonathan Lipman writes about why canceling Thanksgiving is a meaningful way to show your family you love them because, safety first.

  1. Cardiac surgery resident Jason Han writes that the virus has also become overly politicized, diluting the facts in the process.

  2. The nation’s debate on school closures came to the streets when some parents recently protested Montgomery County’s decision to shut school doors due to the coronavirus. Should Montco schools go all virtual? It depends on whom you ask. To examine the conflict, we turned to a Montco teacher, who tested positive for COVID-19 in March, and a parent, who says virtual learning is catastrophic, to engage in a debate.

What we’re reading

  1. Blazing fire pits, heated lamps and wintergarden wonderlands. Eater Philadelphia lists restaurants offering heated patios for the winter.

  2. WHYY covers how, after a concerted effort to restore the Heinz Refuge following a tropical storm in August, it’s back to the way things were before it flooded.

  3. The New York Times ran an opinion piece on how there’s no evidence of election fraud in Philadelphia.

Your Daily Dose of | Grit

Philly high school students are going to get a chance to take lessons they can use in the real world from a household name. In January, psychologist and University of Pennsylvania professor Angela Duckworth will be dropping knowledge with her course Grit Lab: Fostering Passion and Perseverance. They may get to take notes from guests as successful as David Chang and Kerri Walsh Jennings. Expect plenty of teamwork, and you can read on for the application process to the class that has scored rave reviews.