Good morning, good people. Here are today’s top stories:

First: Less than half of Philadelphia’s 65-and-older population has been vaccinated, and officials fear some could be left behind as eligibility expands.

Then: Nearly 50 companies laid off or furloughed at least 4,400 workers in the state despite receiving a total of more than $70 million in PPP loans.

And: Stereotypes of larger Black men still persist at the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd.

— Tommy Rowan (@tommyrowan,

As expanded eligibility looms, Philadelphia races to vaccinate more than half its senior population.

Most of Philadelphia’s senior citizens have not yet received their COVID-19 vaccinations, despite being eligible for nearly a month and as the city prepares to vaccinate its entire adult population.

Reporters Laura McCrystal and Jason Laughlin found that only about 45% of senior citizens who are 65 and older have received at least one vaccine dose. And for seniors who are 75 and older, and who have been eligible for the vaccine since January, it’s not much better: only 48% have received their shots.

Read on for the full story on seniors who still need their shots.

And here’s more on vaccine rollout efforts:

  • In Camden, one of the nation’s poorest cities, community leaders are fighting to vaccinate the city’s mostly Black and Latino residents, who have suffered from a disproportionate number of coronavirus cases over the last year.

  • All of Pennsylvania’s 39,000 prisoners and 16,000 workers will soon be offered the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

  • Pennsylvania estimates that 700,000 to one million frontline workers — including public transit employees, clergy, postal service employees, and people who work in manufacturing — became eligible Monday for the vaccine. The state’s 1C group joins April 12, and appointments will open to all people 16 and older April 19.

These employers got $70M in federal coronavirus bailout money and still laid off 4,400 Pa. workers

The PPP loans, which were part of the first $2.2 trillion federal coronavirus bailout, were touted by federal lawmakers as a job-saving program for small businesses crushed by the pandemic. The money was intended to help companies pay their employees’ salaries and benefits.

But reporter Juliana Feliciano Reyes found that dozens of Pennsylvania employers that received loans last April and May laid off thousands of workers during the pandemic, either before or after receiving the loan. These workers include airport restaurant servers, lawyers, and subcontracted Amazon delivery drivers.

Read on for the full report on the stimulus-funded companies that laid off workers.

Helpful COVID-19 Resources

What you need to know today

  • In the conversations around victims of police brutality, pointing to a victim’s size to justify or disregard the violence has become a feature, not a bug. Prominent examples include Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, and Michael Brown. But why is size so often mentioned in these cases?

  • Philadelphia’s mass vaccination clinic at the Convention Center, run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is scheduled to end its eight-week pilot April 26. However, a U.S. senator and three members of Congress are urging the White House to keep it open.

  • The Philadelphia School District plans to spend millions on summer programming that will be open to every public school student in the city.

  • Federal and local law enforcement officials expressed outrage at the skyrocketing level of violence in the city and unveiled a new plan to combat the scourge.

  • A man accused of using racist language and assaulting a 64-year-old man of Asian descent in Chinatown this week will face charges under Pennsylvania’s hate-crime law.

  • An ex-Drexel University student, who has been jailed since 2019 for lying about his contact with anti-American insurgents in Yemen, will be released from custody and immediately deported.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

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That’s interesting

  • 🏟️ It’s been 50 years since the Phillies opened Veterans Stadium, which brought all four pro teams to South Philadelphia and transformed the corner of Broad Street and Pattison Avenue into a destination. But South Philly wasn’t always the favored site.

  • 🐶 Here’s a roundup of some parks, hikes, and other activities for dog owners to check out as the weather warms up.

  • ⚽ A decade after calling Philadelphia home, Estelle Johnson is on the big stage, playing with Gotham FC of the National Women’s Soccer League.

  • ⚓ Local architect James Corner, who spearheaded the redevelopment of Race Street Pier on Old City’s Delaware River waterfront, has been selected to lead the next phase of planning at the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia.

  • ☀️ Sheinelle Jones is bringing the Today show to Philadelphia on Monday.

  • 🇫🇷 A new center for French-speaking newcomers in Philadelphia? Mais oui!


“Right now, Congress and the Biden administration seem on the brink of the biggest rollback of corporate power since Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, even if the moves have support from only Democrats so far,” writes columnist Will Bunch, who questions whether this really is the moment for curbing corporate power.

  • The Shakespearean drama that just erupted in the Mideast kingdom of Jordan, which involved King Abdullah’s conflict with his younger brother Prince Hamzah, could destabilize a kingdom crucial to Israel and the United States, writes columnist Trudy Rubin.

  • Journalist Natalie Pompilio’s father died from COVID-19 one year ago. And since her story became sadly common, she says she can’t understand why so many people want to rush back to “normal.”

What we’re reading

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