Health officials were already worried that Pennsylvania and New Jersey wouldn’t have enough ventilators to treat the most severe COVID-19 patients, but it’s actually worse than they expected. Also, we explore how teachers are working with their schools closed, and how districts in the region are trying to address technology gaps.

Let’s also check out wine delivery and listen to some more fun podcasts to try to escape from the world.

Schools across the region are closed due to the coronavirus, but New Jersey kindergarten teacher Jill Hammel is still keeping up with her class. She’s using technology to teach remotely by posting assignments online every morning. She also chats with students via FaceTime. For some, tech and the internet work to keep instruction going.

But these options aren’t available to everyone. In Philly, few students have access to laptops, and schools are now planning to distribute computers so they can continue to learn. In rural Pennsylvania, educators are struggling with the prolonged closures. “We have areas where there’s no internet or even cell service,” said Amanda Hetrick, superintendent of the Forest Area School District. And mailing out assignments for distance learning would be costly, she said

For weeks, health officials have worried that Pennsylvania and New Jersey won’t have enough ventilators to try to save the most critical COVID-19 patients. But the situation is actually worse than they anticipated. Pennsylvania has 1,000 fewer ventilators than expected, state Health Department officials said. According to a study, at the peak of the virus’ spread, Pennsylvania could need three times as many while New Jersey has less than half of what could be needed.

Pennsylvania’s tally is “a concerningly low number,” said Jeremy M. Kahn, professor of critical care medicine and health policy and management at the University of Pittsburgh. “It’s a frighteningly low number.”


That’s interesting

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Graffiti Pier is a beloved spot in Philly, and this is a great shot of it. Thanks for sharing, @anthony.difilippo!

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!

What you need to know today


“I firmly believe it’s up to all of us to do our part in helping fill our country’s plates. So again, to all, I say, please purchase only what you need and leave the rest for your neighbor; and if you happen to find yourself with a surplus of canned goods and other nonperishables, consider donating it to your local food bank.” — writes grocery store executive Nicholas Bertram on why shoppers should stop panic-buying food.

  • Has the coronavirus shown that remote work is the future? Thats the debate in the latest Pro/Con, by Evette Dionne, editor-in-chief of Bitch Media, and Daniel Little, a Philly-based representative of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada.
  • Flattening the coronavirus curve goes way beyond science, writes Dr. Drew Harris, a population health and health policy analyst at Thomas Jefferson University and a member of The Inquirer’s Health Advisory Panel.

What we are ... listening to 🎧

Last week, you got some podcast recommendations from my colleague Ray Boyd. I thought I’d share some I like to listen to. Today, we’re focusing on fun and escaping from your daily life, while maybe learning a little something.

Here’s what to check out if you’re into ...

  • 🚀 science fiction: I’m a sci fi nerd myself, and so I love Flash Forward. With each episode, you’re taken into a possible future ranging from potentially realistic (facial recognition cameras everywhere) to wild and zany (space pirates steal the moon). Then, host Rose Eveleth brings you back and talks to experts about how that fictional future would actually work. This podcast really gets you thinking.
  • 🎵 music: There’s nothing wrong with loving mainstream pop. Switched on Pop embodies this idea. Musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding break down pop songs to figure out exactly why the big hits stick in your head. I’ve learned a lot about how music works from listening to this show.
  • 📐 design: Whenever I’m looking for calm, I always turn to 99% Invisible. This pod dives into the design behind things we overlook in everyday life, including everything from the McMansion phenomenon to the backpass law in soccer. My heart rate always significantly drops when I hear the calm and inviting voice of host Roman Mars.

Your Daily Dose of | Curious Philly

Street sign at Vine and 11th Streets with the Liberty Bell icon.
DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer
Street sign at Vine and 11th Streets with the Liberty Bell icon.

Some Philly street signs — like the one above — have an icon of the Liberty Bell. These are on streets in Center City near the Liberty Bell itself, but there are also street signs that feature the icon near Philadelphia Mills mall along Knights Road. Why are they there? Curious Philly found the answer. Turns out it has to do with the name of the street itself rather than where the street is located.