The Pennsylvania unemployment system is fielding tens of thousands of calls a week as more than 1.6 million workers in the state have lost their jobs during the pandemic. The economic outlook is pushing parts of the country to loosen social distancing restrictions, but a new model shows that even the best case scenario for coronavirus-related deaths is worse than what President Donald Trump has said.

We also have what you need to know before playing at New Jersey’s and Pennsylvania’s newly reopened golf courses, and how a Bucks County garden center pleasantly surprised one of its customers.

More than 1.6 million Pennsylvanians have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, and the surge of claims is overwhelming the unemployment compensation system. Delays in payments and communication glitches have triggered an uptick in complaints. One worker received notification that he wasn’t eligible for benefits well past the deadline to contest the decision. If you’ve been denied unemployment, here are some steps you can take.

The coronavirus is hitting Pennsylvania’s economy hard from all sides, including city budgets. To make up for a $649 million budget shortfall, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney wants to hike taxes on property, parking, and nonresident wages. This revised 2021 city budget also includes a hiring freeze and salary reductions for nonunion employees, and city pools won’t open this summer. City Council will have the ability to make its own changes and adjustments to the budget before approving it.

The number of coronavirus deaths and the economic impact of the pandemic will vary widely depending on how quickly the economy reopens, according to a new model. The Penn Wharton Budget Model analysis has even the best-case scenario exceeding the fatalities predicted by President Donald Trump.

The Penn Wharton Budget Model is a free online tool that examines the impact of social, government, and economic decisions and policies. Friday’s report includes projected cases of the coronavirus, the number of deaths, and the potential impact of reopening the economy on gross domestic product. The report examines almost every state, and shows that economic recovery depends less on government policy and more on people’s behavior.

In New Jersey, nearly 7,000 people have died from the coronavirus. The state barred funeral homes from holding open-casket ceremonies last week. At her Mount Holly funeral home, Alison Perinchief had to tell a grieving daughter that she could not say goodbye to her mom, nor honor her mother’s last wishes, like wearing a particular dress.

Camden County funeral home owner LeRoy Wooster said he has accepted more than 150 bodies for cremation from North Jersey in the last month — in addition to nearly 500 bodies his three cremation units processed. “In my 35 years, I have never seen such an influx of death ever in my life,” he said. “We have been working seven days a week, 12-hour days."

What you need to know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

I’ve been enjoying nature photos lately, and this shot is beautiful. Thanks for sharing, @veryhungrytraveller!

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


Rob Tornoe's coronavirus cartoon for Friday, May 1.
Rob Tornoe / Staff
Rob Tornoe's coronavirus cartoon for Friday, May 1.

“The health-care worker should never end up in this spot. Even when I accidentally stuck myself with a dirty needle from an infected patient in 1987 — and had to wait six months for a negative HIV test — I never felt as abandoned as our clinicians are now, and I never wanted to be anywhere else.” writes Andrew I. Smolar, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, on working at a hospital during the AIDS crisis.

What you’re watching

Today’s recommendation is from John Hilferty. John has been a big fan of the Netflix show Élite for a few years. He describes the show as a combination of Gossip Girl and Big Little Lies, but it’s set in Spain. “It’s one of those shows from which I can never look away,” he says.

Thanks for sharing, John. I’ve been looking for something new to watch. Diving into a show can be a good escape. Recently, I binged another Netflix show called The Society, which is about a group of teens building their own new society after being stranded. It had me hooked from the start.

What are you watching or reading? Send your recommendations to

Your Daily Dose of | The Upside

Sam Toney never kept count of exactly how many foster homes he lived in while growing up. After he aged out of the foster-care system, there were times when he didn’t have any home at all, unless a car is considered suitable housing. At 24, he enrolled in college at New Jersey City University and played basketball like he did in high school. He became a star. He recently received the 2019-20 NCAA Men’s Most Courageous Award by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.