TL;DR: New restrictions on New Jersey bars and restaurants will go into place Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced, as well as limitations on travel for indoor youth sports teams. Murphy said the restrictions were “surgical steps” aimed at mitigating the coronavirus’ spread without resorting to the severe lockdown of the spring. Citing early data, Pfizer Inc. said Monday that its coronavirus vaccine reduces the risk of COVID-19 illness by more than 90%, far exceeding original projections of 60%.
What you need to know:
😷 President-elect Joe Biden pledged Monday that his administration will make rapid testing “much more widely available,” expand contact tracing efforts, and end the politicization of mask wearing.
📈 As Pennsylvania continues to see its highest daily coronavirus case counts since the pandemic began, Health Secretary Rachel Levine said the commonwealth doesn’t plan to shut down schools.
🧑⚕️Biden has named two Philadelphia-area physicians to a coronavirus task force: Ezekiel Emanuel, a University of Pennsylvania oncologist and medical ethics expert, and Julie Morita, the executive vice president of the Princeton-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
🙌 Were you part of a post-election protest or celebration this weekend? Philadelphia health officials recommend you quarantine for 14 days and get tested.
💰 These little-known CARES Act tax breaks could save small businesses a bundle this year.
🧓🏽 The pandemic has sharply reduced the number of nursing home residents and experts say it could take years for the industry to rebound.
📰 What’s going on in your county or neighborhood? We organized recent coverage of the coronavirus pandemic by local counties and Philly neighborhoods mentioned in the stories to make it easier for you to find the info you care about.
Local coronavirus cases
📈The coronavirus has swept across the Philadelphia region and cases continue to mount. The Inquirer and Spotlight PA are compiling geographic data on tests conducted, cases confirmed, and deaths caused by the virus. Track the spread here.
Citing a continued surge of cases that have grown by more than 2,000 daily since last week, Gov. Phil Murphy announced new restrictions on New Jersey bars and restaurants that will go into place Thursday, as well as limitations on travel for indoor youth sports teams. Restaurants will be barred from indoor service between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. The restrictions will also apply to casinos — which can maintain gaming operations but must stop serving food during those hours — and banquet halls that host weddings or other events. Murphy said the restrictions were “surgical steps” aimed at mitigating the coronavirus' spread without resorting to the severe lockdown steps taken in the spring.
Citing early data, Pfizer Inc. said Monday that its coronavirus vaccine reduces the risk of COVID-19 illness by more than 90%, far exceeding original projections of 60%. While the numbers are promising, more detail is needed to see how well the vaccine will help prevent severe disease, said infectious-disease specialists who were not involved with the research. Another hurdle: the drug must be stored at a temperature well below zero, which could mean that widespread distribution will be a challenge. The company said that by the third week of November, it expected to seek FDA approval to distribute the vaccine on an emergency basis.
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The coronavirus is mainly transmitted through the air. Here’s how to tell if your ventilation is OK.
How does the virus affect your entire body?
Here’s what to know about traveling safely during the pandemic.
You got this: Fix a strained relationship
The presidential election revealed that, despite the hardships that defined 2020, many Americans are far from united. How do we share our world, our cubicles, our homes — and in some cases even our bedrooms — with people who we may disagree with so vehemently? Experts say it will take honesty, transparency and forgiveness. And it won’t be easy. Read more here.
🖼️ My colleague Stephan Salisbury recommends a trip to the Philadelphia Art Museum to view the “Gross Clinic” and other medical paintings anew amid COVID-19.
🥖 The pandemic has officially shuttered Res Ipsa Cafe, but a retail location of Lost Bread Co. will open in its place.
🎄 Pack away the Halloween decorations and check out these family-friendly early-bird Christmas displays in South Jersey.
Have a social distancing tip or question to share? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and your input might be featured in a future edition of this newsletter.
What we’re paying attention to
Thanksgiving will soon empty college campuses and experts worry that some of the thousands of departing students will be “little ticking time bombs” of COVID-19, the New York Times reports.
Health experts want to prioritize people of color for a COVID-19 vaccine. But how should it be done, Stat asks.
Kaiser Health News has the story of how the search for a drug to treat a snakebite might lead to a COVID-19 treatment, too.
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