TL;DR: It has been confusing to see local schools take very different approaches to teaching, with some staying in person and others reverting to all-virtual learning, as coronavirus cases surge across the region, parents and staff told my colleagues Maddie Hanna and Kristen A. Graham. Read more here. And amid the spike, people attended Halloween parties, worked out at gyms, and dined indoors at restaurants — all at the increasing risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus. Here’s why, according to psychologists.

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

What you need to know:

📈 Pennsylvania reported more than 6,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time Wednesday, one day after announcing new restrictions to combat the spread of the virus.

❌ New gathering limits are in effect in New Jersey, prohibiting indoor events with more than 10 people. The limit on outdoor events will be lowered to 100 next week.

🦠 Pennsylvania state Rep. Jordan Harris, a Democrat and the House minority whip who represents the 186th legislative district in Philadelphia, announced on Wednesday he has tested positive for COVID-19.

🎄 Six-week shutdown could mean a “year without Christmas” for Philly businesses.

😷 A second coronavirus vaccine tops 90% effectiveness, and Moderna says its vaccine is easier to store. Plus, the FDA allowed the first rapid virus test that gives results at home.

🏥 Mental-health-related visits to the ER increased for children during the pandemic, a CDC study found.

🍽️ Philly’s restaurant industry workers are worried: “I have maybe three months where I’ll be OK financially.”

📰 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.

As coronavirus cases surge across the region, it has been confusing it has been to see local schools taking very different approaches to teaching, with some staying in person and others reverting to all-virtual learning, parents and staff told my colleagues Maddie Hanna and Kristen A. Graham. A snapshot of the region’s different approach includes: Montgomery County ordering all K-12 schools closed for in-person instruction for two weeks starting Monday; the city of Philadelphia closing high schools, though not schools serving younger students, through Jan. 1; and Bucks County Health Director David Damsker maintaining that “school is the safest place for kids to be.” Read more here.

Despite officials warning of cases spiking, people attended Halloween parties, worked out at gyms, and dined indoors at restaurants — all at the increasing risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus. Melissa Auerbach, an assistant professor in psychology at Temple University explained to my colleague Bethany Ao that people are taking these risks in favor of socialization because they are fatigued. “People have limited mental resources for self control,” said Auerbach, who studies stress and health risk behaviors. “We have all of these factors depleting self control, like the recession, the pandemic, and not being able to socialize like we used to. All this is very outside of our wheelhouse in terms of how we normally deal with self regulation and self control of behaviors.” Read more here.

Helpful resources

You got this: Replace your fabric face masks

“If your masks are beginning to feel as old as this pandemic, it’s probably time to get yourself some new ones,” my colleague Grace Dickinson writes. Here is a guide on how to tell if your mask needs to be replaced.

🦃 2020 sucks, but Thanksgiving doesn’t. Tell us what you’re grateful for.

🎄 There will be no Comcast Holiday Spectacular this year, not even outside.

🧑‍🍳 These 21 cookbooks make perfect holiday gifts.

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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