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Why this month is a test for the pandemic | Morning Newsletter

And, how a Cheltenham native is helping war widows in Afghanistan.

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

Good morning, everybody. You’re reading the Inquirer Morning Newsletter, and here’s what you need to know this Friday morning. We’re looking at why September might test the region as the pandemic continues and how a Cheltenham native’s nonprofit will continue to help Afghan war widows. You should also know that two Penn scientists received an award for their research that helped lay the foundation for the COVID-19 vaccines.

We really do want to hear from you. Reply to this email to let us know what you think about this newsletter, and what you need to stay informed about the region.

— Lauren Aguirre (@laurencaguirre,

COVID-19 cases in the Philly area are leveling off, but health experts are “bracing for an uptick” heading into the fall. September will be a test for how the region will do against the highly transmissible delta variant, as students return to classrooms and college campuses.

While the rate of vaccinations are also modestly increasing, fall and winter also come with dropping temperatures and more indoor gatherings. National experts have long expressed concerns about what these seasons could bring.

Reporter Erin McCarthy shows how the region is preparing for the fall as the pandemic continues.

The fall of Afghanistan does not mean the end of Susan Retik’s charity, Beyond the 11th. She says women there who have been widowed by war need more help, not less. And that’s what she intends to do. Keep helping.

After the 9/11 attacks and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, she was troubled by the inequity between her situation and those of Afghan women. Her husband, David, was aboard American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to hit the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. When her husband was killed, the American public offered huge support to her as a “9/11 widow.” The Afghan women were destitute.

So, she cofounded Beyond the 11th in 2003 to help. This is how she plans to keep helping Afghan war widows.

Reopening resources

  1. Here’s our latest list of restaurants, large performance venues, universities, and gyms in the Philly region where you need to show proof of vaccination.

  2. Should you laminate your vaccination card? What if you lose it? Here are the dos and don’ts.

  3. Here’s what you need to know about medical exemptions.

  4. It could be time to upgrade your face gear. Which masks work best?

What you need to know today

  1. Two scientists at the University of Pennsylvania won a $3 million Breakthrough Prize for their RNA research that enabled the creation of the COVID-19 vaccines. They made a series of pivotal discoveries starting in 2005.

  2. President Joe Biden announced new federal vaccine mandates on Thursday that will affect as many as 100 million Americans.

  3. At the Flight 93 memorial near Shanksville, visitors from across the state shared their personal memories of 9/11. These are their reflections.

  4. The 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks is Saturday. Here’s where you can commemorate the day in the Philly region.

  5. The surge in COVID-19 cases is slowing in Philly, and the city’s mask mandate won’t be lifted.

  6. Big Daddy Graham has died at 68. He was a fun-loving Philly radio icon and longtime 94.1 WIP sports talker.

  7. Tens of thousands of jobless workers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey lost their unemployment benefits as federal aid expired this week, according to some estimates. The extra benefits added $300 a week to unemployment payments.

  8. The federal unemployment benefits have ended, but there are assistance programs that can still help. Here’s a breakdown of what’s available.

  9. The top Republican in the Pennsylvania Senate sued Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration over its new mask mandate for Pennsylvania schools. The lawsuit is backed by a Trump-aligned group that challenged the 2020 election results.

  10. Pennsylvania Republicans started their “forensic investigation” of the 2020 election, but it’s still unclear what that means.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

I love fall too, and the changing seasons in Philly. Check out all four seasons in Manayunk on Instagram. Thanks for sharing!

Tag your Instagram posts with #OurPhilly, and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature here and give you a shout-out.

That's interesting

🐶 When pet owners experience homelessness, this organization houses them and their beloved animals.

🦅 Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is committed to analytics. Here’s a look at how it could influence coach Nick Sirianni as the team heads toward its first game of the season this weekend.

👟 Jordans are the most searched sneaker in Pennsylvania. What makes the shoe so popular in the Keystone State?

🎨 The “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” wasn’t as awful as reporter Stephanie Farr feared, or awful at all. Here’s how it went.


“People who deny the reality of COVID are depriving everyone of the ‘normal’ freedoms we used to enjoy, by prolonging the pandemic and slowing our safe return to the lives we led before the pandemic,” writes Wyncote resident Alison McCook on why the summer of COVID denial should be over.

  1. “Waste-to-energy” is a bad deal for Chester and other polluted communities, writes Mathy Stanislaus, who served as the U.S. EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Land and Emergency Management during the Obama administration.

  2. Do crime-tracking apps help or harm communities? Two Philadelphians debate controversial smartphone apps like Citizen in the latest Pro/Con.

  3. How Philadelphia adapts to its increasing population and growing pains will be the story of the next decade, The Inquirer Editorial Board writes.

What we're reading

  1. Men dominate tattoo parlors all across the country. But in one of the oldest shops in Philly, more women are inking the art. Billy Penn has more.

  2. People who evacuated from New Orleans to North Texas in the wake of Hurricane Ida are returning home to uncertainty, the Dallas Morning News reports.

  3. The NFL had a secret COVID-19 plan. Here’s why the league didn’t need it, from the Los Angeles Times.

Photo of the Day

Philly had a rainy Thursday, but Friday looks as if it’ll be clear and sunny.