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Coronavirus cases continue to rise in the Philly area | Morning Newsletter

And, how Philly churches get sanctuary fatigue from housing migrants.

    The Morning Newsletter

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

Happy Friday! Today, I’ll be using this space to happily introduce my new colleague. Here’s a little note from her:

Hello there. I’m Ashley Hoffman, and from here on out, I’ll be writing plenty of our morning newsletters to get you what you need to start your day — the best of our journalism. I can’t wait to get to know your reading habits and preferences. And not to worry. You’ll still hear from Josh Rosenblat and Lauren Aguirre, who will be in the mix and lurking in your inbox.

— Lauren Aguirre and Ashley Hoffman (@laurencaguirre, @_AshleyHoffman,

Call it sanctuary fatigue: Desperate migrants, churches, and supporters joyfully join in an alliance to shelter undocumented immigrants, only to find about a year later that they’re all tired, stressed, and frustrated. It’s different in every situation, but in two of the four sanctuary cases in Philadelphia since late 2016, immigrant families ended up leaving one church for another.

“The reality of sanctuary, once the TV cameras leave, once you settle into it, it’s very hard,” said Peter Pedemonti, codirector of New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia. “You’ve lost your job, you’ve lost your freedom, you’re in a church every single day.”

In the Philadelphia area, new coronavirus cases are rising. On Thursday, both Pennsylvania and New Jersey saw the highest number of reported cases in one day since May. Pennsylvania reported 1,376 new cases, while New Jersey reported 1,301. And those surpassed already high numbers from earlier in the week. New Jersey officials said they fear the state is on the cusp of a second wave, while Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said he was “very concerned” about the virus' new trajectory in the commonwealth.

Remember you can follow updates related to COVID-19 at We’re tracking case numbers in the area too at

Lawmakers are making one final push to fix what county officials across the state say is the number-one issue standing in the way of a timely vote count: when ballots can actually start being counted. Currently, Pennsylvania law prevents any ballots from being processed until Election Day, Nov. 3. This holds true even as mail ballots are returned well before then.

Because of the required wait, it could take many days after the election to finalize an accurate tally. County commissioners have pleaded for months for more flexibility to begin the process in advance.

What you need to know today

  1. The recent theft of a laptop and several USB drives from a Philadelphia elections equipment warehouse appears to be a random crime that was not motivated by the 2020 election, District Attorney Larry Krasner confirmed Thursday.

  2. President Donald Trump said he won’t participate in the next presidential debate after it went virtual due to his COVID-19 diagnosis. So, Joe Biden will be hosting a town hall in Philly instead.

  3. Jill Biden said that women in the Philly suburbs where she grew up “may determine the entire election.” Here’s what else happened during her visit to Delaware County.

  4. What was up with all the sirens in Philly last night? There was a citywide fire drill as part of Fire Prevention Week.

  5. Pennsylvania utilities will be allowed to resume shutoffs for nonpaying customers in November, but the poorest customers will be protected.

  6. Eight SEPTA employees across the authority have died as a result of COVID-19 complications. For the next three months, a new wall honoring SEPTA’s frontline workers will be on display at Suburban Station.

  7. A police shooting that killed a suspected gunman and injured another at a popular arts festival in Trenton two years ago was justified, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office announced after a lengthy investigation.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Hope this picture brings a smile to your Friday! Thanks for sharing this cutie, @boristhemainlinepig!

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. 💅 A Par Funding owner who runs a nail salon has reported she’s worth almost $800 million. She says she has a jet, a Porsche, and a Mercedes, to name a few things.

  2. ️🗳️ Meet the doctor dedicated to making sure Americans with dementia can vote.

  3. 📖 A rusty ballot box and a poll list from the 1800s are just some of the relics on display in a museum exhibit that explores the untold stories of women and free people of color who voted in New Jersey before their rights were stripped away.

  4. 🥘 16 out of 19 of the restaurants owned by one of the most far-reaching independent restaurateurs, Stephen Starr, are now open. After closing the Philly restaurant that put him on the map, he tells us why he’s still cautiously optimistic

  5. ♻️ It was a tough road to create the first-ever water bottle that can completely break down, cap, label, and all.

  6. 🕯️ From a socially distanced hay maze to a twilight tour through the Betsy Ross House, these are the best things to do in Philadelphia this week. And see our calendar with all the latest best events.


“So today, tomorrow, and every day that calls for it, speak up. Don’t apologize, and say it straight. I am speaking. She is speaking. We are speaking.” — writes Helen Ubiñas that Kamala Harris’ “I’m speaking” debate moment shows how people should fight disrespectful interruptions by amplifying women’s voices.

  1. Will Bunch writes that the GOP and the Trump campaign’s efforts boil down to one awful word.

  2. The pandemic gives us the chance to tackle inequities when it comes to access to green spaces head on, writes Jonathan Kaledin, former regional counsel of the Nature Conservancy.

What we’re reading

  1. WHYY profiled Philly business owners, who explained how community sharing is helping African businesses stay afloat during the pandemic.

  2. Drexel University is now offering an official degree in esports. Philly has more.

  3. Fully driverless cars will be on the road in Arizona soon. Here’s how it works, from the Arizona Republic.

Your Daily Dose of | The Upside

When the pandemic struck New Jersey, Barney Corrigan wanted to do something to serve the public. So, he built a small food pantry on his lawn in Gloucester County and asked people to donate. Eventually, he received so many donations, he had to move the operation to his garage to fit them all.