TL;DR: As President Donald Trump has pressed ahead with several rallies in Pennsylvania, dozens of local physicians have urged him to cancel such large gatherings, citing data analyses that found COVID-19 cases spiked in counties around the country after Trump rallies were held there. Several recent polls have found that only about half of Americans now want a COVID-19 vaccine. This raises an important question: What does the science of communication say about how to discuss a new vaccine for a new disease with a wary public?

— Kelly O’Shea (@kelloshea, health@inquirer.com)

What you need to know:

👃 Researchers have identified loss of sense of smell as one of the earliest COVID-19 symptoms, which is why Philly’s Monell Chemical Senses Center is creating a sniff test for early screening.

💉 New Jersey officials began unveiling a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan Monday. Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said once a vaccine has been approved, the goal will be to vaccinate 70% of the adult population within six months.

📈 Pennsylvania is still seeing a “fall resurgence,” with more than 1,400 new COVID-19 cases reported Monday, Secretary of Health Rachel Levine said. Increases are being seen across age groups, especially school-age children and those age 50 and under.

🛑 Newark, N.J., is instituting a nightly curfew on most business beginning Tuesday, in an attempt to curb rising COVID-19 infections in the Garden State’s largest city. The curfew will remain in place until at least Nov. 10.

🦉 Temple University announced Monday it would delay the start of the spring semester for undergraduate and graduate students by eight days and cancel spring break.

🏈 As coronavirus cases fall at Penn State University, the campus is preparing for its first home football game this Saturday, worrying local officials.

📰 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.

Philly-area doctors press for Trump to cancel events, citing COVID-19 increases after rallies

As President Donald Trump has pressed ahead with several rallies in Pennsylvania, dozens of local physicians have urged him to cancel such large gatherings to decrease the risk of COVID-19 case spikes. Seventy-five doctors led by the Committee to Protect Medicare, a health-care advocacy group, first signed a letter last week asking Trump to cancel a rally in Erie. On Monday, Max Cooper, an emergency physician in Chester and CTP’s state lead, hosted a Zoom press conference again asking the president to cancel his Pennsylvania rallies. The physicians cited a recent USA Today data analysis that showed COVID-19 cases rose at a faster rate after Trump rallies in at least five counties across the country, including Lackawanna and Dauphin counties in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, a state Department of Health spokesperson said there’s no way to “determine definitively” if an individual event, like a campaign rally, has caused an outbreak of cases.

Once a COVID-19 vaccine is here, there will be a new challenge: Convincing people it’s safe

Several recent polls have found that only about half of Americans now want a COVID-19 shot, as battles between science and politics have weakened trust in government agencies that evaluate vaccines. So how should public health officials discuss a new vaccine for a new disease with a wary public? People who study medical communication said the top priority will be restoring faith in the science of vaccine development. Experts said it also matters greatly who promotes the vaccine, as people believe a “trusted messenger,” such as Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Helpful resources

You got this: A day trip with the kids

The Philadelphia area has no shortage of kid-focused outings and destinations, whether that means a low-key outdoor experience or a full-on amusement-park trip. My colleague Nick Vadala has rounded up 11 kid-friendly day trips, all within about 100 miles of Center City, ranging from hikes and horticulture to amusement parks and museums (all of which are taking COVID-19 precautions).

👻 Oh, boo, a Halloween without trick-or-treating. Here are some fun Philly family alternatives.

💰 My colleague Erin Arvedlund asked Suze Orman to share her post-pandemic finance tips. Here’s what you need to know.

🍷 Miss having drinks with your friends? Read these tips for hosting your own virtual wine tasting.

Have a social distancing tip or question to share? Let us know at health@inquirer.com and your input might be featured in a future edition of this newsletter.

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