President Donald Trump took a dismissive tone toward the dangers of COVID-19 after receiving a raft of coronavirus treatments available to few but him. “Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life,” he told Americans. But the battles waged by Philadelphia’s physicians and patients tell a different story.

And it’s election crunch time. All eyes are on what analysts are calling the “tipping point state” of Pennsylvania, which could decide it all. And a mass rejection of mail-in ballots after many voters applied more than once is only adding to the confusion.

OK, let’s get into it.

People in vehicles and those who arrived on foot wait to receive a COVID-19 test at a barrier-free location outside the Pinn Memorial Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke / AP
People in vehicles and those who arrived on foot wait to receive a COVID-19 test at a barrier-free location outside the Pinn Memorial Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Trump’s unprecedented course of treatment for coronavirus included an experimental regimen that is out of reach for most Americans. And doctors and patients in the region believe that his recovery story speaks to how unequal America’s health-care system is.

They talked to us about increasing medical costs, uninsured patients, and the medical attention gap.

“Normal people do not get a helicopter to the hospital; normal people do not have 20 doctors for one patient,” said Anne Sutherland, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Rutgers University Hospital.

That’s 372,000 rejected requests, to be exact. And 90% of them were denied as duplicates, likely because applicants didn’t remember checking a box during the primaries. It turns out that this is a common oversight. We identified hundreds of voters who submitted three or more duplicate requests. The key thing to note is that all of them can still vote. But the mass rejection only adds to the confusion for voters already on edge.

Our Michael Klein can walk you through the city’s official guidelines for winterizing restaurants ahead of the cold-ish season. And when it comes to weather, it’s looking as if we’re in for another walk on the mild side, according to early calls among the major forecasting services.

What you need to know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

We love this brightly colored mural brightening our feeds. Thanks for capturing @aimeebsiegel!

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

Opinions

Masks and Halloween
Daryl Cagle
Masks and Halloween

What we’re reading

  • Eater Philadelphia asks owners of once-vibrant bars how they’re staring down an uncertain future by doing such things as bringing back a drag show or selling baked mac-and-cheese.
  • The Pocono Record crunched some numbers on the question of whether Trump delivered on his steel and coal campaign promises for Pennsylvania in 2016.
  • From Aladdin’s magic carpet to a box of wine, Buzzfeed gathered 43 unexpected DIY Halloween costume ideas.

Your Daily Dose of | Flower Flashing

You may have stumbled upon ballot drop boxes bursting with flowers throughout the city. Besides delighting passersby with their arrival, the bountiful floral displays flowing near mailboxes are there for a reason. Florists have teamed up for the nonpartisan floral installation event with United by Blooms to bring more cheer to a less-than-rosy picture of voting right now. You can check them out through today.