A 19-year-old from Delaware County was supposed to be starting his sophomore year of college last month, but a vaping-related illness had him in the hospital instead. Nationally, a string of lung illnesses potentially associated with vaping is rattling the medical and public health communities because no one can quite determine what connects the cases.

Also, when colleges are faced with emergency situations, they have different protocols about sending alerts to their communities. It can be a tricky balancing act between speed and accuracy.

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Colleges face a balancing act. Officials must work as quickly as possible when alerting students and staff of an emergency, but those first crucial moments often don’t allow them time to verify reports. They’re also aware that an outburst of messages could unnecessarily cause panic.

Federal regulations don’t specify a timeline for when alerts should be sent out. But, there are things colleges can do to make sure that communication is clear and consistent, according to experts.

Last year, a group of Pennsylvania voters won their challenge to the state’s gerrymandered congressional map. And earlier this week, North Carolina had pretty much the same thing happen, using the Pennsylvania case as a model to challenge partisan gerrymandering there.

This is especially significant after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in late June that federal courts couldn’t touch the issue, so any challenges regarding gerrymandering would have to be handled by state courts.

Kevin Boclair was supposed to start his sophomore year of college at the end of August. Instead, he was in a hospital room after coughing so much and so hard that he blew tiny holes in his lungs and his chest filled with air. The 19-year-old told his doctor that he had been vaping the equivalent of a half-pack of cigarettes a day for over a year.

A string of cases with severe lung illnesses that are potentially connected with vaping has rattled the medical and public health communities, especially because a majority of the patients are young adults or teens who are otherwise healthy. But, so far, the CDC has been unable to identify a specific product or substance to link the cases.

What you need to know today

  • Hurricane Dorian is poised to slam into the Carolinas after scraping by the Florida and Georgia coasts.
  • During an all-day hearing yesterday, a bankruptcy judge seemed eager to approve the sale of Hahnemann Hospital’s medical resident training program for $55 million over the objection of federal regulators. His ruling is expected today.
  • The GOP at-large race for Philadelphia City Council is heating up due to Republican infighting, old-school patronage politics, the #MeToo movement, and populist rhetoric.
  • Researchers found that black Muslims in Philadelphia face a double disadvantage when it comes to housing, because of both race and religion. And Philly is unique among American cities because a majority of its Muslim residents are black.
  • The number of low-income children who are served after-school food in New Jersey is rising, according to a report. The boost is an effect of a campaign to battle childhood hunger by providing after-school suppers and snacks. Even so, only 6% of students who qualify take advantage of the programs.
  • Unions representing low-wage workers are joining together to build their own political clout, setting up a sort of showdown with the building trade unions.
  • Patients in the U.S. and Canada get prescribed opioids far more often for relatively low-risk surgeries than their counterparts in Sweden, according to a a new study.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

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That’s Interesting


Business deals with gun control
Signe Wilkinson
Business deals with gun control

“Very simply, what happens in China and the U.S. doesn’t stay in China and the U.S. And once economic growth declines in a major economy, let alone the four largest, the entire global economy feels the chill. And that is happening now, especially when it comes to manufacturing.” — Joel Naroff, the founder of a strategic economic consulting firm, writes for The Inquirer about the first casualty of the trade war and what might come next.

  • Philadelphia’s city offices should be run more like businesses, The Inquirer Editorial Board writes. Following its own cashless store ban is one place to start.
  • A consequence of the Trump Administration’s immigration plan: spreading the flu, writes Robert Field, a professor of law and public health at Drexel.

What we’re reading

Your Daily Dose of | The UpSide

So-called metal “detectorists” get hooked up with people who have lost rings or other metal items through an online directory. What they end up finding could tell the story of a lifetime.