One in five — or about 20% of — Pennsylvania workers have filed for unemployment benefits after many businesses closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Worried about a slowing economy, Republicans have been pushing to reopen businesses, but national polling suggests that an overwhelming majority of Americans would rather continue social distancing until the virus is better under control.

During this time spent apart, going without human touch can be difficult. We have some tips on how to cope along with where to watch Lady Gaga’s “One World” concert this weekend. There’s also a bracket you can vote in that will decide Philly’s best pro athlete of all time.

— Lauren Aguirre (@laurencaguirre,

Unprecedented unemployment leaves Pennsylvanians desperate, infuriated: ‘A state of complete collapse’

One of every five Pennsylvania workers has now filed for assistance as the economic wreckage from the coronavirus cascades across the nation. Last week, 238,537 workers in the state filed new jobless claims. That’s the lowest in four weeks, but a volume that is more than 10 times the number of claims that were received in a typical pre-coronavirus week. Overall, more than 5.2 million Americans filed new unemployment claims last week.

But tens of thousands of workers who have taken a financial hit weren’t eligible under Pennsylvania’s unemployment program. This group includes gig workers, people who had job offers revoked due to the pandemic, and people without enough work history to apply for benefits. That will change soon as part of the federal $2.2 trillion coronavirus economic relief package.

The push to reopen the Pennsylvania economy is part of a national partisan battle

This week, Pennsylvania Republicans pushed to loosen Gov. Tom Wolf’s closure of most businesses. It mirrors a national struggle over when and how to ease economic and social restrictions put in place to fight the coronavirus. Many medical experts have warned that reopening too soon could lead to a resurgence of the virus. The debate has mostly broken along familiar party lines.

President Donald Trump has fixated on opening at least parts of the country by May 1. Pennsylvania’s Democratic senator, Bob Casey, said the decision should not be “based upon the stupid gut instinct of a politician.” Meanwhile, a national poll suggests that voters may have more patience: 81% said Americans should continue to social distance as long as is needed “even if it means continued damage to the economy.” Of Republicans, 72% agreed with continued social distancing.

Missing touch in your life? So are we. Here’s what to do about it.

It’s been weeks since we’ve been able to touch another human being (whom we don’t live with). Losing that kind of contact from family and friends is hard psychologically and physically. The comfort of touch is one of our most natural ways to cope with anxiety. “We are social animals, so touch is incredibly important to us," explained Melissa Hunt, a clinical psychologist and associate director in the department of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

And it matters physically, too. Scientists say a touch releases the powerful bonding hormone oxytocin. Nothing can fully replace human touch, but there are some things you can do to help stimulate the same good feelings. These range from petting your dog or cat to trying yoga or just keeping warm.

What you need to know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

This pretty shot put a smile on my face. I hope it does for everyone else too. Thanks for sharing, @datleib!

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


“The goal of the Pennsylvania crisis plan is to maximize not just the health of individuals, but the entire population – or ‘to do the greatest good for the greatest number.’ It advises allocation of resources in a way that doesn’t just save the greatest number of lives, but saves the greatest number of ‘life-years.’ To do this, hospitals must consider not only short-term life expectancy but long-term life expectancy as well.” writes David Oxman, a Philly intensive care physician and medical ethicist, on how considering pre-existing conditions in a crisis is not discrimination.

What we’re reading

Your Daily Dose of | ‘The Goldbergs’

It should surprise no one who’s ever watched ABC’s The Goldbergs that the real Beverly Goldberg is riding out the coronavirus pandemic with “two ka-jumbo bags of cheese” in her freezer. The show’s creator, Adam F. Goldberg, based the sitcom on his 1980s childhood. And now, his mother has a cookbook that features dishes made famous on the show.

Join us at noon Friday as Ellen Gray interviews Beverly Goldberg on The Inquirer’s Instagram Live at Lunch series. Follow us on Instagram to watch.