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Inside the A.C. casinos where some still gamble with COVID-19 | Morning Newsletter

How ready are nursing homes for the vaccines?

Good morning.

First: Even if nightlife is not the same in Atlantic City, casinos are still open with restrictions in place — and some people are willing to gamble with the coronavirus. Reporter Amy Rosenberg has a fascinating look at the bets being placed by all involved.

Second: Nursing home operators believe that long-term care facilities and their workers need the vaccine yesterday. They could get it before the month is over, but there are quite a few big questions to answer first.

And: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued a dire plea on Monday for people to take more precautions to guard against the coronavirus as cases and hospitalizations continue to surge.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_ashleyhoffman,

On a typical Atlantic City night, gamblers used to throng shoulder to shoulder, elbowing each other to get to the tables to place their bets.

The action dragged on through the night, but these days, the party ends at an almost laughable hour. Casinos are still open for business for those in leopard masks who are there to roll the dice despite the coronavirus. It’s different draws that bring them all there, and they’re wired to take risks anyway.

Nursing home residents are expected to be among the first people in line to receive the vaccine by the end of December. Whether everyone will buy into it is another question. The operators of long-term care providers are ready to roll up their sleeves, but resistance from the residents is expected. That’s just one of many hurdles that remain while the plan is still up in the air. Rolling out this program for real is going to require swift action from the people who want to make it happen. Here’s what is concerning people.

Helpful COVID-19 resources

  1. Check the current coronavirus-related restrictions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

  2. Are you seeing people again after having COVID-19? Read our checklist first.

  3. Can you travel this winter? Should you? Is it safe to travel? By plane? By car?

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

  5. Everything you need to know about buying, washing, replacing, and wearing face masks.

  6. Track the spread of COVID-19 infections in the region.

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

What you need to know today

  1. Since Dec. 1, more than 95,000 people in Pennsylvania have been diagnosed with COVID-19. There are signs that hospitals are straining and could soon crack.

  2. Pennsylvania shortchanged its poorest school districts in its latest distribution of federal relief funding, according to a new report. Here’s how the process actually ended up giving poorer districts less funding than their more affluent counterparts.

  3. Philadelphia’s court system came under fire during yesterday’s City Council hearing for inaction after a report the court commissioned found a “culture of nepotism, mistrust and racial tension.”

  4. Pennsylvania’s top military affairs official abruptly retired over the weekend amid ongoing investigations into dozens of coronavirus deaths at the state-run veterans home in Chester County we’ve reported on, as well as allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation at a National Guard station in Montgomery County.

  5. Joe Biden will become just the second Catholic U.S. president (after John F. Kennedy) when he assumes office next month. But former Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput added more fuel to an ongoing debate among Catholic leaders in the U.S. on how they feel about that.

  6. Dick Allen, the former Phillies slugger, died yesterday at 78. The 1964 Rookie of the Year “captured the hearts of a generation of fans with his powerful home runs that often left Connie Mack Stadium.” My colleague Matt Breen has the obit and we heard from one biographer about why Allen was “Philadelphia’s Jackie Robinson.”

  7. Our Eagles writer Les Bowen remembers late Daily News and Inquirer sports columnist John Smallwood, 55, for his gregarious, friendly manner and his calm, measured writing style.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Brenda Lee sang it best. Thanks for letting us rock around the tree with you @fleming.phillyphotog.

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. 💆‍♀️ If this year is just rubbing you the wrong way, wouldn’t it be nice to have a pro rub you all the right ways? Should you get a massage? Let’s talk about the risk-benefit scenario first. Or is a five-star spa treatment right at your fingertips? Uncork the tension by treating yourself to a self-massage. You can do it. Master “micro-movements” with these five techniques from a massage therapist.

  2. 🦅 Doug Pederson said he was “not prepared” to announce the Eagles’ starting quarterback against the Saints. Here’s what could happen by tomorrow.

  3. 🍺 Philly’s newest cidery, Young American Hard Cider, opens in Germantown for people who want to sit on the fire pit-heated patio for homemade hand pies and dry ciders.

  4. 🏫 This month, a newly formed New York-based group is planning to begin work building apartments at a site once eyed by an electrical workers’ union charter school. The new owners paid $3.8 million for this property.

  5. 🥡 Nearly half of Pennsylvania restaurants believe they’ll be out of business by next summer if they don’t get more help, a recent survey says.


“Santa isn’t transactional in my house. We listen and act with kindness because we are part of a community, not because Santa won’t bring gifts if we have a bad day. Telling my kid that there’s a pixie nanny cam that transmits directly to the North Pole feels too 1984. I prefer to wait a few more years and then explain that it’s actually Google that monitors all of our behavior.” — Fishtown mother Courtney writes that it’s time to stop putting Elf on the Shelf on any shelf, or anywhere in your home.

  1. Drexel University associate professor Jordan M. Hyatt writes that if we’re going to stop community spread of COVID-19, we have to vaccinate the incarcerated first.

  2. We turned to two experts to debate the question of whether President-elect Joe Biden should cancel student loan debt. A policy analyst writes that forcing strangers to wipe away the financial burdens of others is wrong. A University of Pennsylvania scholar writes that student loans should be forgiven because it’s a racial justice issue.

What we’re reading

  1. Philly Mag interviewed weathercasting icon Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz about finally doing away with the long-range winter forecasts he’s been doing since 1997. And it’s for two reasons.

  2. Think you’re so good at Philly’s holiday traditions? Billy Penn’s quiz will put you to the test.

  3. Personal growth is all the rage. Counterpoint: VICE asks what if you stopped trying to be the best version of yourself?

Your Daily Dose of | Lunch

Here is Step Up to the Plate, a program helping with food insecurity and keeping kitchen staff busy at work during the pandemic. The organization is as prepared as any of us can be for this unprecedented moment. It’s feeding lunch to those battling food insecurity in different locations throughout the city. Think El Merkury pupusas, Thai Jai Dee pad thai, PaperMill banh mis, Tamalex tortas, and CityView pizza. The group has provided about 400,000 meals in eight months.