TL;DR: As cases surge, David Rubin, director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia PolicyLab, is recommending that schools across the region teach students virtually. Though most infections of children and teachers seem to be happening outside of the classroom, he said, there is “increasing evidence” that the virus is being transmitted in local schools. Read more here. A Penn scientist came up with the chemistry that now “forms the backbone of two vaccines for COVID-19, including the one for which dramatic early results were announced this week.” Read more here about the scientist’s work, and the promises of the vaccine.

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

What you need to know:

📈 Delaware is considering new restrictions, including curfews, to curb the rise of COVID-19 infections.

🦠 New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal is quarantining at home after a member of his staff tested positive for COVID-19, a communications aide said Wednesday.

😷 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared that masks also protect wearers from COVID-19, joining scientific consensus.

🎶 Boot & Saddle in South Philly is closing permanently due to the pandemic.

🎃 Penn State University is seeing an uptick in cases tied to Halloween celebrations.

🏥 “This is not the time to go outside your bubble,” the leader of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium says.

📰 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 reported 761 confirmed cases of the virus on Wednesday, the second-highest daily count reported since the beginning of the pandemic, second only to Tuesday’s number of 879 cases. As cases surge, David Rubin, director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia PolicyLab, is recommending that schools across the region hold classes virtually. Though most infections of children and teachers seem to be happening outside of the classroom, he said, there is “increasing evidence” that the virus is being transmitted in local schools. Read more here.

Drew Weissman first worked for Anthony Fauci at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases before coming to the University of Pennsylvania in 1997. While working there with then-Penn colleague Katalin Karikó 15 years ag,o the two came up with the chemistry that now “forms the backbone of two vaccines for COVID-19, including the one for which dramatic early results were announced this week." Read more here about Weissman’s work, and the promises of the vaccine.

Helpful resources

You got this: Dating during the pandemic

“Bad dates are always disappointing. But the stakes are higher now,” my colleague Grace Dickinson writes. “In the current pandemic, you risk contracting COVID-19 from someone you’ll never see again.” These are the questions you should ask before going on a date to assess your risk, according to experts.

😷 Yes, you can get the flu and the coronavirus at the same time.

🩺 A South Philly rowhouse is becoming a free primary care clinic with a specialty in equity.

🦃 Where to find Thanksgiving dinner.

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

  • Ticketmaster is developing a plan that uses smart phone data to check if a fan tested negative for the coronavirus within a 24-to-72-hour window before a concert, or had been vaccinated, Billboard reports.
  • Hospitals will need to buy ultra-cold freezers to store a COVID-19 vaccine, whenever it is approved. STAT reports that rural hospitals won’t be able to afford it.
  • Trump administration officials are promising to fairly and swiftly distribute the first COVID-19 treatment, but the Washington Post reports on the limited supply and logistical difficulties ahead.

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