Are Those New Philly COVID Masks Actually Any Good?

"Well, it's a nice souvenir either way," Billy Penn editor Danya Henninger told Philly health commissioner Thomas Farley on Thursday.

billy penn editor danya henninger and philadelphia health commissioner thomas farley debate the value of the philly covid mask

Billy Penn editor Danya Henninger and Philadelphia health commissioner Thomas Farley debate the value of the Philly COVID mask. (Images via City of Philadelphia)

A roundup of Philly news. This article may be updated at any time as new information becomes available.

Those New Philly COVID Masks Are Cool and All, But Are They Actually Any Good?

A couple of weeks ago, the City of Philadelphia announced new COVID masks bearing slogans like “Love Your Neighbor: Wear a Mask” and “Philly Never Backs Down: Mask Up.” They cost $7.99 with 15 percent of proceeds going to the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium. But are these new Philly COVID masks actually, you know, any good?

That’s what Billy Penn editor Danya Henninger wanted to know on Thursday during a press conference with Mayor Jim Kenney and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley.

Henninger held up her mask — she opted for “Philly Never Backs Down: Mask Up” — and admitted it was “cool” but pointed out that the mask isn’t very thick. I’ve handled one as well, and it did seem pretty flimsy compared to a lot of the masks out there these days.

“You can see light through them and everything,” Henninger noted, later reminding Farley that he suggested to reporters that if you can see your hand through your mask when you hold it up to the light, it’s not thick enough. “I have a couple I was going to give to people. But should I not give them to people?”

Farley defended the Philly COVID masks, saying that they are “dense enough” and “adequate.” And he clarified his position on the see-through test, explaining that what he was really warning people about were masks that had tiny but visible holes in them.

Henninger seemed unconvinced.

“It’s a nice souvenir either way,” she told Farley, smirking.

Pro-Tip: Don’t Encourage Your Students to Get COVID

It’s back to school season in one way or another. And one professor is learning the hard way a lesson I never would have thought a professor would have to learn. And that lesson is: Don’t tell your students to go hang out in a local bar so they can get COVID. And if you are going to tell them to get COVID, you certainly don’t want to do it on video.

“The sooner you guys get it, the better,” Kutztown University professor Victor Massad told his students via Zoom.

Lehigh Valley Live has the full story of Massad’s comment and the inevitable fallout from it here.

Marc Lamont Hill’s Bookstore-Cafe Uncle Bobbie’s Hit Yet Again

Uncle Bobbie’s Cafe has had one hell of a summer — and not in a good way. The bookstore/cafe, owned by Philly scholar, activist and author Marc Lamont Hill, has been repeatedly burglarized and vandalized. And it just happened again.

Here’s the unedited crime alert from the Philadelphia Police Department:

On Thursday, August 27th, 2020, at approximately 11:03 P.M., the 14th District responded to a radio call “burglary in progress at 54XX Germantown Avenue. Upon the officers arrival, they observed a side window of Uncle Bobby’s Coffee Shop located at 54XX Germantown Avenue smashed and point of sale equipment on the sidewalk. The owner arrived and allowed the officers into the business. the cash register was stolen but there was no cash inside the register. Additionally, a vehicle brake rotor was found inside. The scene was held, no arrest made. This investigation is active and ongoing with the Northwest Detective Division.

Offender: Unknown Black male, wearing light pants and a blue tank top with white trim.

Anybody with information can call 215-686-TIPS. Uncle Bobbie’s GoFundMe page, started at the beginning of the pandemic, has seen an influx of donations since the news broke.

And Briefly Noted…