Good morning.

First: Now we know more about the potential side-effects people can get from the COVID-19 vaccines.

Then: Here’s what it’s like for a family experiencing homelessness as children try to get a virtual education.

And: Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey set new daily records for coronavirus infections over the weekend. But there’s another COVID-19 consequence: Fatal drug overdoses in Philadelphia are climbing, and may even set a record.

With all of this, here we are keeping our heads turned to the night sky, where you can see Jupiter and Saturn seemingly soaring toward each other.

OK. Let’s get into it.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_ashleyhoffman,

COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects. Here’s why that shouldn’t stop you from getting the shots.

The COVID-19 vaccines are bringing people hope right now. Along with that are questions about the potential side-effects, as with any vaccine.

They range from mild to more serious, and based on the trials, they’re all short-term. Those unpleasant symptoms are normal, and they just mean that the body is responding properly to the vaccination. One thing is sure: The idea that anyone could get COVID from the vaccine is a biological impossibility. We’ll know more about what’s what once the trials come to a close, but so far, it’s looking good.

How common are these potential side effects? How long do they last? Is the speed of the vaccines’ development a cause for concern? Health reporter Tom Avril tells us what to expect.

3 people, 200 square feet: Managing homelessness, remote school, and life in a pandemic

Threats to the population of people experiencing homelessness abound, and they extend far beyond the ones you can ward off with a mask. Education reporter Kristen Graham spends time with a family who turned to a shelter when their Germantown rowhouse got too crowded due to COVID-19.

Restrictions have tightened, and along with it, there’s reduced access to the shelter’s services. Much of what the shelter once offered before the pandemic has been put on hold. It’s not just living conditions: There’s the digital divide, an achievement gap, and exposure to even more risks without the school safety net for young people.

Here, a family shares their compelling story, with a hopeful ending in sight.

Philadelphia may be on the way to a record for fatal drug overdoses in 2020, another COVID-19 consequence

Shelter-in-place orders have brought new attention to the rise in Philadelphia’s overdoses, which tracks with the country’s resurgence as isolation and exhaustion take hold.

Local health officials are now concerned that the city looks as if it could surpass the number of fatalities from 2017, our worst year for deadly overdoses to date. While the complete data picture does take time, overdoses have significantly risen in 2020. A study this week discovered that at the height of stay-at-home orders in May, first responders got double last year’s overdose-related cardiac arrests.

Reporter Aubrey Whelan, who covers addiction and health disparities, has the story on the changes researchers are seeing.

Helpful COVID-19 resources

What you need to know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

We always have next holiday season. This is an enchanting shot of 2019′s holiday activity in full swing. Thanks for sharing @elevated.angles.

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


“Mayor Jim Kenney and Commissioner Danielle Outlaw should show zero tolerance for police brutality in the department. If doing it in the name of justice is not enough, they should do it in the name of public safety.” The Inquirer Editorial Board writes that the Rickia Young exhibit of police brutality is the latest episode showing why there should be no tolerance for brutality in the police department.

What we’re reading

Your Daily Dose of | Forever

This small Philly wedding, with guests arranged by pandemic bubble, was the first normal thing the happy couple had in months. It was full of disco dancing, just like the beginning of the couple’s courtship. How they ended up in Philly is an even better story.