Philadelphia reported the first coronavirus death in the city. This isn’t the first death in Pennsylvania, and the number of cases keeps rising. Meanwhile, an agreement was reached in Washington on the coronavirus stimulus bill. We break down what’s in it.

Also, today would have been Opening Day for the Phillies, but luck may be on their side when the season starts. If you need a distraction from the lack of sports or if they just aren’t your thing, I have some good books you can pass the time with.

Philadelphia has reported its first death due to the coronavirus. The patient was a male in his 50s who had an underlying medical condition, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said. The man was hospitalized briefly before he died. Eleven people in the state have died due to the virus.

There’s also a continued rise in the number of confirmed cases, up to 342 by Wednesday afternoon. Many of those are in young people. The best way to slow the spread of the virus is by social distancing. Philly Mayor Jim Kenney also reemphasized the importance of the city’s stay-at home order, which has no set end date.

“The unfortunate reality is that there will likely be more deaths as the number of cases grows, which is why our stay-at-home order is essential,” Kenney said. “This virus is very real and very deadly.”

Unemployment claims in Pennsylvania have skyrocketed, but help could soon be on the way to individuals, businesses and state and local governments impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. There are a lot of details in the $2 trillion bill, but here are some highlights:

  • Most Americans would receive one-time checks from the federal government. The checks would range from $500 to $2,400.
  • Unemployment assistance would increase by $600 a week and include freelancers, independent contractors and furloughed employees.
  • Pennsylvania would receive about $5 billion in aid.

For the Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale, a pandemic isn’t going to stop them from rehearsing. The boys’ ensembles are having nine virtual meetings through Zoom every week. Their sister organization, the Philadelphia Girls Choir, is running roughly 14 among its four ensembles. They’re preparing for concerts that will come after the coronavirus pandemic ends, so there’s a lot to memorize.

Choirs and orchestras around the world are holding virtual concerts, but these virtual rehearsals are a little different. The singers still have to go over the songs measure by measure, part by part. And they can’t even hear each other sing. It’s hard to sync the different feeds on a video call into unison, so they mostly sing alone, on mute.

That’s interesting

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What you need to know today


“We could have moved more quickly to help families access school-issued laptops and free Internet offered by Comcast. The problem is, the [School District of Philadelphia] hasn’t seemed to trust us to do our jobs at the very moment our kids need us most.” — writes Leah Rosenbloom, a high-school teacher in Philly, on the district’s plans to send laptops to students in need.

What we’re reading 📚

We often highlight articles from around the web here, but today, I’d like to to recommend some books to check out. If you’re looking to limit screen time, curling up with a good book is a great way to go. Here’s my current read, a short read, and a long read for you to check out.

  • ⏳ currently reading: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. This is a self-help book, focused on how to think about and budget your time. The philosophy is about focusing on only what’s truly important, truly excelling at those things, and forgetting the rest. It’s a great counterpoint to all the tips floating around about being productive while we’re inside.
  • 🦅 short read: Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. One of my all-time favorites, this is a fantasy novel about shapeshifters. The main character can turn into a hawk. If you’re into royalty, political conflict, or romance, you’ll probably like it. You can definitely finish this in a day. It’s the beginning of a series, but this one is short enough for you to get a taste.
  • 🪐 long read: Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey. Now’s the time to dive into a detailed science fiction book. This one is set centuries in the future in our solar system. There’s a lot of tension between the independent governments of Mars and Earth, but that’s just the setting for the main mystery plot. This book is huge and has a long series after it. But if you don’t want to read it, you can watch the series adaptation, The Expanse, on Amazon Prime.

Want even more books? Here’s where we keep our reviews.

Your Daily Dose of | We The People

Meet Laura Adie. She portrays groundbreaking women from history, but she made history herself. She was the first woman of the Living History Crew on the Olympia, the world’s oldest steel warship still floating. She was inspired to help share history when she discovered that the first woman who enlisted in the Navy did so in Philadelphia. “Seeing how regular, everyday people lived their lives in reaction to the bigger events in the world like wars, elections, and plagues, that’s what interests me,” she said.