TL;DR: Philadelphia restaurants will be able to resume indoor dining Jan. 16 if there is no surge in coronavirus cases over the next week, Mayor Jim Kenney announced Friday. “Can we start to look forward to when life returns to normal?” my colleague Tom Avril asks. The answer is not so simple. He spoke with three researchers who study the spread of infectious disease to explain that frequently misunderstood concept of herd immunity.

— Ellie Silverman (@esilverman11, health@inquirer.com)

What you need to know:

📈 Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine said the new coronavirus cases — more than 10,000 confirmed Friday — were likely caused by holiday infections.

🦠 Pennsylvania released an updated vaccine plan on Friday that officially lays out the priority groups for inoculation against the coronavirus.

🏥 Mass vaccination clinics opened Friday in Philadelphia and New Jersey for eligible groups prioritized for vaccines. Watch this tour of the COVID vaccination site at Pennsylvania Convention Center.

😷 Effective COVID-19 drug treatments remain frustratingly elusive a year into the pandemic.

💰 Tens of thousands of unemployed Pennsylvanians will see a $300 boost in their unemployment check as soon as Tuesday, the commonwealth announced.

📚 Pennsylvania education officials are encouraging school districts to bring elementary school students back to classrooms as soon as this month, drawing backlash from the commonwealth’s largest teachers’ union.

🏀 Seth Curry tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the Sixers to quarantine in a New York hotel.

📰 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.

Philadelphia restaurants will be able to resume indoor dining Jan. 16 if there is no surge in coronavirus cases over the next week, Mayor Jim Kenney announced Friday. City officials had banned indoor dining on Nov. 20 ahead of the holidays as cases rapidly increased. “Assuming we don’t have a spike in COVID-19 cases between now and Jan. 15, we plan to allow limited indoor dining to resume on Jan. 16,” Kenney posted on Twitter.

“Can we start to look forward to when life returns to normal?” my colleague Tom Avril asks. The answer is not so simple. He spoke with three researchers who study the spread of infectious disease to explain that frequently misunderstood concept of herd immunity. Read more here.

Helpful resources

You got this: Preregister for the COVID-19 vaccine

Even though the general public is not eligible yet for the COVID-19 vaccine, and there is no statewide sign-up system, Philly residents can now “pre-commit” to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine and become among the first to know when it’s your turn to get vaccinated, my colleague Grace Dickinson writes. For those living in other areas of the state, the Pennsylvania Department of Health recommends you monitor their website for more information.

🛍️ Where to buy the best self-care products in Philadelphia.

🥡 Stromboli, jerk chicken, arepas. These 9 takeout dishes bring the best international flavors.

🎶 Chris’ Jazz Cafe is doing a weeklong benefit festival to survive until stimulus kicks in.

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.

What we’re paying attention to

  • Although health care is usually more difficult to access in rural areas, some of those regions appear to be leading the nation in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine, NPR reports.
  • Online shopping has boomed during the pandemic — and so has packaging, Vox reports.
  • The maskless, violent mob that stormed the Capitol this week was a ‘textbook potential coronavirus superspreader,’ experts say, according to The Washington Post.

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