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Saying goodbye to 2020, Philly style | Morning Newsletter

And, meet the doctors left behind in the race to vaccinate health-care workers.

Good morning. It’s time to usher 2020 out the door. Weather-wise, we’re in for another rainy holiday weekend with dual storms that could potentially dampen any rogue Mummer shenanigans unless a functional umbrella is part of the costume.

First: In the Philly region, the New Year’s Eve blowout may be shrinking to fit the contours of our homes, but the party will go on. Here’s how people will leave 2020 behind and toast 2021 with great ceremony.

Second: Some doctors, nurses, and others who interact with COVID-19 patients are getting left behind in the race to get health-care workers vaccinated.

And: Those new COVID-19 mutations might not spread as fast as you fear.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_ashleyhoffman,

Last year at this time, people gathered to rule the night of wild possibility, bracing for disappointment but dreaming that anything could happen on the eve of a fresh year.

Tonight, we can no longer occupy the same mythical space — or that shoulder-to-shoulder party space. But that doesn’t mean Philly isn’t marking the occasion with hope. Some people in the region are improvising new rituals, like the woman doing an over-the-top light display to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne.” Others are going for some old tricks, like the one to bring financial luck.

This is how the Philly region is still celebrating tonight.

The majority of the vaccine doses have gone to hospitals.

But for the roughly 450,000 private physicians who do plenty of hands-on care for COVID-19 patients, there hasn’t been a clear plan. The state issued its first guidance for physicians not affiliated with hospital systems in response to criticism calling out “a two-tiered healthcare provider immunization system for COVID-19 – those who have large economic bargaining power and those who do not.”

Some doctors tell us their experiences have led them to believe the rollout has been disorganized and potentially unfair.

Helpful COVID-19 Resources

  1. We have answers to the most common COVID-19 vaccine questions in our updated FAQ.

  2. Here are the latest coronavirus case numbers as COVID-19 continues to spread across the region.

  3. On New Year’s Eve, here’s your pandemic safety guide to the holidays with information on what’s safe to go ahead with and what to steer clear of.

  4. What to know before you visit someone who’s recovered from COVID-19.

  5. Is it safe to travel this winter? If you are, here’s a guide to how to stay safer away from home wherever you stay and however you get there.

  6. What are the first symptoms of the coronavirus and what are the differences in COVID-19, the flu, a common cold, and allergies?

  7. Sign up to get free coronavirus news updates in your inbox three times a week.

What you need to know today

  1. This is why the new COVID-19 mutations might not spread as fast as you fear. We make it all easy to understand in this Q&A.

  2. New Jersey will let indoor sports resume this weekend as the governor sees signs COVID cases in the state are stabilizing.

  3. After the 2020 election, a number of Pa. Republicans are thinking about squashing the same absentee voting rules they backed just a year ago.

  4. A man who spent 28 years in prison for a murder he did not commit has been exonerated. In one of the largest wrongful-conviction settlements in history, the city will pay him $9.8 million as he begins the next phase of his life.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Saturated colors like this bubblegum-pink skate series on the gram will be our friend this season. Thanks for sharing, @doublec_imagery.

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!

That’s interesting

  1. 🏆 After speaking with local community leaders and residents, we put together a list to highlight the significant accomplishments of 11 Latinos in 2020. Ahead of our continuous coverage of the work of Latinos in the region next year, this list recognizes the impact of these standout community members.

  2. 🏡 The transformation of this ranch-style house into the perfect cabin spanned 30 years. Here’s where they started.

  3. 💰 Are your current skills exactly what a higher-paying job entails? As part of our Future of Work series, we report on a tool that can help job applicants level up their salary with an online database matching people’s skills with a more lucrative role.

  4. 🎆 You can still partake in New Year’s traditions virtually at the speed of your choice. There’s even one with a 400-pound marshmallow Peeps Chick or a bologna drop. Here’s what’s happening to Pennsylvania’s weird New Year’s Eve ball drops this year.


“If there was any year to abandon our quest of New Year’s resolution perfection, it’s this one. Why? Because given the collective trauma and uncertainty we all experienced through 2020, the last thing we should do is kick off the year with anxiety.” — Columnist Elizabeth Wellington writes that we should slow our roll on those New Year’s resolutions. While contemplating future plans is out, there are little changes you can make that won’t set you up to fail.

  1. Cardiac surgery resident Jason Han and ECMO program director at Penn Jacob Gutsche write that the ventilator is not enough for some COVID-19 patients, but this precarious lifesaving option can perform miracles.

  2. We convened a group of people who know a thing or two about how to make a Philly small business thrive. These are their suggestions for a small business’ best shot at long-term survival right now.

What we’re reading

  1. Have you met a Philly guy with a striking resemblance to another guy in a portrait of a 15th-century monk? The work of art got the full Philly treatment in these memes gathered by Billy Penn, every one a masterpiece.

  2. That indelible cultural behemoth of the American landscape The Simpsons features a Springfield house that the toon family affords on Homer’s income alone. The Atlantic looks into whether that standard of living is even attainable today.

  3. Tipping extra on Venmo and PayPal is a thing. Here’s how people in Bucks County are throwing some much-needed support behind their favorite restaurants, the Bucks County Courier Times reports.

Let’s get some air.

As if by command, loss can redirect you to soar to new heights. That was the case for Nicholas Patino when losing his father in a motorcycle accident before his 13th birthday led him to escape on a pogo stick. “The pogo stick saved me,” he told us. And it’s been his ticket to exhibitions from China to the Seychelles islands where he performs his tricks.

But he’s set his sights on a new move that will scare some people once he has spawn of his own some day. “I am specifically maintaining my pogo skills to create one moment in the future to be able to backflip in front of my (future) kid, mostly just to freak out the other parents at their birthday party.”

You won’t want to look away as he propels himself high in the air. That’s when he gets fancy. Let him take you higher in the video.