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Delta defense | Morning Newsletter

And, let’s talk about Yorktown.

    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, dedicated readers of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter.

First: This is what the region can do to defend against the delta variant.

Then: Yorktown was supposed to be Philly’s Black suburb. Now development is converging on the neighborhood, architecture critic Inga Saffron writes.

And: Tropical Storm Elsa moves out of the Philly region, leaving minor flooding in its wake.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_AshleyHoffman,

With the fast-spreading delta coronavirus variant not yet prevalent in the Mid-Atlantic, according to CDC tracking, Pennsylvania and New Jersey essentially have a window of time to ramp up vaccinations to defend against this strain.

Just how narrow a window it is might depend on one thing: The speed of the spread. In New Jersey, the share of analyzed cases in which delta was detected has risen sharply in recent weeks, per health officials. In Pennsylvania, the variant was identified in 3.4% of cases sampled in June, according to CDC data. In all likelihood, there are more cases than the federal data can tell us, but compared with other states, Pennsylvania still has had a smaller number. And while the variant is present in Philadelphia, the city has not yet seen an overall increase in cases that would signal delta is prevalent.

That makes this window of opportunity all the more crucial. Getting the vaccination is the “most obvious and important” thing people concerned about the delta variant can do, said Mark O’Neill, a Pennsylvania Department of Health spokesperson.

Keep reading for reporters Erin McCarthy and Justine McDaniel’s full report on how experts say our region can stave off a spike or new restriction rollouts that are happening in other places right now.

Philadelphia’s Yorktown and West Poplar neighborhoods are just four subway stops north of City Hall, but you could be forgiven for thinking they were in the suburbs. Both developments, which were marketed to members of the city’s Black middle class, were built during the period when Philadelphia was rapidly losing residents. The houses are organized around a network of cul-de-sacs and all have front lawns and driveways. But now everything has changed. The city is is gaining back that lost population and housing development is booming.

Architecture critic Inga Saffron writes that as the city’s construction frenzy reaches these suburban-style neighborhoods, it has created a reckoning over two competing visions of density.

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. After New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressed rising rates of gun violence this week by declaring a state of emergency, advocates and elected officials are asking Mayor Jim Kenney to apply the same urgency here.

  2. After fostering controversy in the spring by awarding to Temple University a WIC program that had been run for decades by a North Philadelphia agency, the state has now ignited a firestorm with a significant cut in the transition time. In fact, advocates fear it could put potentially endanger the recipients.

  3. For the 65,000 Philly students who get free SEPTA rides to school, a major change is coming. Weekly TransPasses are out. Contactless “Student Fare Cards” are in.

  4. Penn vets found that a disease called GME in dogs might resemble multiple sclerosis in humans, and may even open the door to better treatments for dogs and tools to better understand MS in people.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Hit play on Steppenwolf. 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

📪 Did someone say put this viral Philly-born mailbox dancing its little heart out in November in the Smithsonian? They heard you.

⚾ The region is positively bursting with promising young baseball talent, and we know why.

🖼️ Goods and works of art handmade by Latino artists and craft makers on tap for a weekend exhibit? I’m there.

🇦🇺 It’s time to get serious about what it means to fly beach flags.


“The investments of the pension funds are a critical tool for Philadelphia to have a positive impact on the market. The Philadelphia Board of Pensions has been on the front line of a few social causes. Exploring what’s next for fossil fuels is a natural fit,” The Inquirer Editorial Board, which operates separately from the newsroom, writes about the possibility for fossil fuel divestment.

  1. Our ability to end human suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic hinges on protecting everyone, including children. We need all hands on deck to advise all parents to get their kids vaccinated right now, Drs. Andy Tan and Angela Shen write about why the “wait and see” approach is dangerous.

  2. “There should be no mercy for the high-def hucksters in political office or the media so eager to exploit a crisis for personal gain, with no regard to who gets sick or dies,” columnist Will Bunch writes about the bizarre political philosophy of America’s unvaccinated.

What we're reading

  1. Philly Mag is taking a sweet, sticky trip down the memory lane of Philly’s ice cream history.

  2. The Root previews the Naomi Osaka three-part documentary hitting Netflix soon as a “glimpse behind the veil.”

  3. The New York Times has a story full of a lot of stuff you had no idea about when it came to the making of the courtroom-warrior masterpiece Legally Blonde.

Your daily dose of | Fashion, they’re doing it over here.

It’s called fashion. Have you heard of it? Philly fashion could flourish at last now if we were to roll out of bibbed, hooded daybed clothing and into some new threads. If those in the position to shop got behind local businesses, the region’s fashion could explode. Is it time to emerge from your DIY veiled Billy Porter hat? Columnist Elizabeth Wellington has a business case to make.