Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Answering your questions about coronavirus variants | Morning Newsletter

And, a contested letter to Trump.

    The Morning Newsletter

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

Hello, faithful readers of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter.

First: Explore a deep dive into the current state of the coronavirus, and all the ways it’s still changing and spreading.

Then: President Joe Biden visited Philadelphia yesterday and urged people to fight to protect voting rights amid GOP-led changes to election laws.

And: The story behind a letter from former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain to Donald Trump is being disputed in Washington and Harrisburg.

— Olayemi Falodun (

As the global health crisis continues, officials are tracking the spread of coronavirus variants that may be more contagious and more deadly than the original strain of COVID-19.

These variants happen as the virus evolves as it infects unvaccinated people.

The best defense is vaccination, because the shots remain very effective, even against coronavirus variants.

Officials say all four major variants, especially the alpha and delta strains, are far more infectious and heighten the urgency of increasing vaccination rates.

A Penn researcher warns of a possible infection spike this fall due to “vaccine deserts.”

Reporter Marie McCullough has an overview of the variants and the risks they pose.

  1. Here’s a guide to understanding vaccine booster shots and their possible role in the fight against the coronavirus.

  2. These maps and graphics show how the coronavirus is spreading in the region.

President Joe Biden spoke at the National Constitution Center on Tuesday, strongly advocating the need to champion democracy by protecting voting rights as states throughout the country have voting restriction measures on the table or already enacted.

Biden called GOP-led efforts to restrict the voting laws “un-American” and the nation’s biggest challenge since the Civil War.

The president’s visit comes after State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R., Franklin), a likely gubernatorial candidate, launched his own review of the 2020 election, focusing on the city and two other counties.

Election laws are taking priority locally and nationally due to their potential impact on voters of color and lower-income voters who might be disproportionately affected by the proposed restrictions.

Reporters Julia Terruso and Jonathan Tamari recap Biden’s call to action during his visit to Philadelphia.

Reopening resources

  1. Track the latest data on cases in the region.

  2. Instead of asking someone’s vaccination status, do this.

  3. Here’s what experts feel safe doing — and what they don’t.

  4. How to navigate fear about getting the coronavirus even if you’re vaccinated.

  5. Even thriving is different at this stage in the pandemic. Here’s how people are doing it.

What you need to know today

  1. A recently publicized letter from potential Pennsylvania gubernatorial hopeful Bill McSwain to Donald Trump is at the center of revived election fraud claims. But former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr and current state Attorney General Josh Shapiro say the letter’s central claims don’t hold up.

  2. Some key Republicans in Pennsylvania are doubling down on the Trump-fueled lies and conspiracies that sparked the Capitol insurrection.

  3. State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta is a deft architect of campaign “moments.” But can he make a viable U.S. Senate run out of his underdog campaign?

  4. Philly’s landscape is increasingly appealing to high-end buyers, and that’s one of the reasons behind the area’s luxury housing boom.

  5. The discovery of a cemetery containing human remains from the 1800s at the site of a strip mall in Northern Liberties unearths many unsolved questions.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Don’t forget to take a look at the signs along the way. Thanks for sharing.

Tag your Instagram posts with #OurPhilly, and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature here and give you a shout-out.

That's interesting

🥃 Here’s some history and insight into Pennsylvania’s quirky liquor laws.

🍺 Tap into how a Spring Garden establishment earned the state’s first-ever B Corp certification for a brewery.

🏀 The Team USA men’s basketball squad is off to an 0-2 start in exhibition games ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Columnist Mike Sielski is not surprised.

📋 Developers behind a multibillion-dollar project at the South Philadelphia Navy Yard are also spending $1 billion on a diversity push.


“The biggest reason we depend on quality journalism is because we can’t depend on our elected officials to do what’s right,” writes columnist Will Bunch on the implications of cutting off funding on public media outlets that speak truth to power.

  1. Weighing the pros and cons of holding the Tokyo Olympics amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we tapped two sports journalists to lay it all out.

What we're reading

  1. Video capturing a local memorabilia box dedicated to a popular movie has gone viral. Newsweek has more details on where you can find the “Shrek Box.”

  2. Here’s the case for a battalion of Black women who served in Europe during World War II pushing for congressional honor. The Associated Press unearths their story.

  3. These Black restaurateurs have found success by going away from the traditional brick-and-mortar operations to food trucks, food halls, and ghost kitchens, CNN reports.

  4. You’re never too old to play video games, according to Wired.

Your daily dose of | Stand-up shop

South Jersey native Carolyn Busa is getting into the business of fashion, after spending years getting laughs with her comedy. The 35-year-old open-mic alum, who cultivated a following in Brooklyn before the pandemic-induced lockdown stalled the comedy scene, is now trying her hand at selling secondhand attire. Check out what she’s up to at Peak Secondhand, the clothing thrift store she owns in Merchantville.