Good morning from The Inquirer newsroom.
First: Roughly 19,000 Pa. voters left the Republican party in the aftermath of the false election fraud claims.
Then: COVID-19 has led to a sharp decline in cardiac surgeries.
And: Philly will welcome new neighbors as President Joe Biden plans to resettle more of the world’s most vulnerable people to new homes in the region.
In the aftermath of false election fraud claims, 19,000 Pennsylvanians became former Republicans.
Our analysis of voter registration data showed that a dramatic two-thirds of the voters who have switched parties this year left the GOP. Voters are dropping the Republican Party affiliation at more than double the usual defection rate, and people we talked to say it’s for the same reasons: to protest the false election fraud claims, and growing frustration with Trump and his supporters.
There isn’t usually a Republican flight to become third-party or independent voters like this. In fact, the fluid trend is a stark reversal from previous years in Pennsylvania when voters leaving the Democratic Party notably outnumbered Republicans. But the attack on democracy appears to have changed all that, and those who left the GOP are a part of a larger shift away from the party.
If the recent data indicate anything else, it’s that this strong undercurrent may not be over.
The volume of heart surgeries significantly dropped during the pandemic.
And if, as explained in a recent nationwide analysis, people who feared exposure to COVID-19 avoided cardiac procedures — then it appears this is another tragic story about COVID-19 worsening health matters beyond the virus. Because Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey were hit hard by the virus, they were also hit hard by this.
The numbers collected by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons show that people who did get heart surgery were less likely to survive. The promising news is that hospitals have improved systems for reducing risks for heart patients since the beginning of the pandemic.
Reporter Tom Avril has everything you need to know about the decline in heart surgeries.
What you need to know today
The Philly region is preparing to welcome new neighbors as President Joe Biden plans to resettle more of the world’s most vulnerable people to new homes in the region. They’ve been waiting for this for years.
Iconic leader William “Cody” Anderson, 78, died Saturday, of COVID-19-related complications, his family said. He leaves behind decades of influence on Black radio. This is how he helped catalyze change in Philly.
The country is on the brink of a coronavirus death toll of 500,000.
Meet the first Black director of Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology dedicated to attracting large numbers of museum visitors of color with a modern perspective on ancient history.
Police are seeking a 17-year-old suspect in the fatal bowling alley shooting in Montgomery County.
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🎹 The overdue awakening to women and Black composers has ushered in a whole new age of limitlessness for the music world.
🎶 Penn State’s THON danced above all expectations to raise $10.6 million for pediatric cancer research.
⚾ Odúbel Herrera is looking impressive in spring training. But now comes the true test with the Phillies.
“For someone like me who isn’t getting around as much because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the podcast will be a useful window to help get to know more officers and what they’re talking about,” columnist Jenice Armstrong writes of a Philly police podcast born out of the city’s violence epidemic that could help “demystify the people behind the badge.”
Bad bets with Wall Street cost Montco school districts and a Bucks County hospital millions in taxpayer money, and now they have to pay “termination fees” to get out of the deals, Joseph N. DiStefano writes.
It’s time for Pennsylvania to get a divorce from fracking, the Inquirer Editorial Board, which operates independently from the newsroom, writes.
What we’re reading
This coalition got the most basic services turned back on for a tiny Georgia town in a symbolic court victory against racially repressive municipal policies, and Scalawag magazine has the story.
These Penn students have helped send more than 13,000 “Lockdown Letters” to front-line workers as doctors, nurses and teachers.