Don’t let this early chill fool you. We’re looking at temperatures in the 70s with partly sunny skies. Finally. 🙌🏾

After months of working on a plan, the city says it will restart its wastewater COVID-19 testing program, in an effort to supplement testing data.

And speaking of COVID-19, our columnist Marcus Hayes opines on the news of Sixers swingman Matisse Thybulle’s reticence to get fully vaccinated. 🔒

😷 Finally, ahead of a return to indoor mask-wearing in Philly next week, here’s a look at what you need to know.

If you see this 🔒 in today’s newsletter, that means we’re highlighting our exclusive journalism. You need to be a subscriber to read these stories.

— Kerith Gabriel (@sprtswtr, morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

Here’s why Philly wants to test your poop

For months, the city’s public health department has been trying to set up a wastewater surveillance system as an early warning signal for coronavirus outbreaks. As home testing becomes more popular and diagnostic testing less accessible to the uninsured, wastewater numbers are an important supplement to increasingly imperfect testing data.

Philadelphia was early on the scene with a pilot program in May 2020 but has gone about a year without studying its wastewater, even as the technique became more popular elsewhere. It hopes to restart the program in a few weeks.

Here’s the thing when it comes to testing wastewater. The data it provides aren’t just an earlier indicator — they could also be a more comprehensive one. And when done hyper-locally, can also be a way to monitor specific populations without subjecting them to routine testing.

Recent research has shown that wastewater has the potential to help estimate the “true” number of cases in a community. Perhaps this is why the state health department is setting up a statewide program using $4 million in federal funding.

Philadelphia has fallen behind, but “this game is a long way from being over,” said Howard Nadworny, an infectious disease doctor who heads Erie County’s wastewater surveillance system. “We are at great risk in public health of getting more blind … maybe even similar to what happened in the beginning of 2020.”

Our reporter Kasturi Pananjady delivers this data-driven look at why wastewater may become the key to Philly getting a more accurate picture of COVID-19.

Unpacking Matisse Thybulle’s COVID-19 can of worms

The NBA world (and our own comments section) have been buzzing over the news that Sixers swingman Matisse Thybulle will be out for Games 3 and 4 of the team’s first-round playoff matchup against the Toronto Raptors due to his incomplete vaccination status not allowing him to enter Canada.

If you’re unaware, Thybulle took the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine but decided against the second and subsequent doses. He said he grew up with Chinese medicine and naturopathic doctors – and that he learned that a fully vaccinated person can still pass COVID-19 to others. (The CDC recommends that everyone receive all vaccine doses and booster shots to slow the spread of COVID.)

Yesterday, Philly became the first major city to reinstate an indoor mask mandate which will take effect on April 18 as COVID cases rise. We have an explainer of what that all means and what you need to know entering Philly establishments.

As for Thybulle, our columnist Marcus Hayes delivers his thoughts. 🔒

Do you think Thybulle’s reasons are valid? Send a reply to morningnewsletter@inquirer.com and let’s have a conversation.

What you should know today

🧠 Philly Trivia Time 🧠

The African American Museum in Philadelphia is hosting an exhibit inspired by The Negro Motorist Green Book, a guidebook used by Black Americans from 1936 to 1967 to find hotels and other establishments where they would not face racial hostility. Today’s question: Do you know how many Philly-based sites from the Green Book still stand? Take a guess and find the answer here.

a. 5

b. 6

c. 7

d. 8

What we’re…

🧒🏻 Planning: To do one or more of the following with the kids this week.

🤦 Wondering: Who are all these people who didn’t think having a dog was a long-term commitment?

☝🏽 Advising: The actions that small businesses can take – starting now – to lower their taxes for this year.

🧩 Unscramble the Anagram 🧩

Philly’s only undefeated professional sports head coach in 2022. 🐍

NICJ RUMIT

Think you know? Send your guess our way at morningnewsletter@inquirer.com. We’ll give a shoutout to a reader at random who answers correctly. Today’s shoutout goes to Teresa Daugherty of Philadelphia, who correctly guessed KEVIN BACON as Monday’s answer.

Photo of the day

Here’s hoping The Inquirer made you all kings and queens of watercooler conversation today. 👑