TL;DR: Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday pleaded with Pennsylvanians to stay home as officials remain gravely concerned about the steep rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations. He said officials may announce additional mitigation measures in the coming days in an attempt to get a handle on the surge. Yes, some people will develop side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines, but most will be mild or moderate. Here’s what to expect.

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

What you need to know:

❄️ Anthony Fauci and other health experts are warning that holiday gatherings in December could be more harmful to the public for the pandemic than get-togethers that took place over Thanksgiving.

💉 Gov. Phil Murphy estimated that New Jersey will receive anywhere from 300,000 to 500,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of December.

🦠 COVID-19 survivors may develop some immunity, but experts say they still should get the vaccine. Here’s why.

🤒 As the coronavirus continues to ravage Pennsylvania, health officials shared a small silver lining Monday, reporting that flu activity remains low across the commonwealth.

👨‍👧‍👦 Three people, 200 square feet: How one North Philadelphia family is managing homelessness and remote school amid the pandemic.

💻 With COVID-19 cases mounting, two South Jersey school districts — Washington Township and Deptford — announced plans to shift back to remote learning until early January.

📰 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 most 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.

Gov. Wolf says new mitigation measures could be coming

Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday pleaded with Pennsylvanians to stay home and not gather with anyone outside of their households as officials remain gravely concerned about the steep rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations. “Over the course of the past two weeks, Pennsylvania’s situation has gotten much more dire,” he said, noting that officials may announce future mitigation measures “very shortly.” Wolf said he would err on the side of targeted restrictions over broad shutdown orders such as those used in the spring.

COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects. Here’s why that shouldn’t stop you from getting the shots.

Yes, some people will develop side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines. Most will be mild or moderate, disappearing within a day or two. There is no sign of any long-lasting complications. Given the alternative — risk of infection with a virus that, as Philadelphia vaccine pioneer Paul Offit put it, “has brought us to our knees” — physicians say the vaccines are worth a bit of collateral unpleasantness. Here’s what to expect.

Helpful resources

You got this: Holiday kindness

Rasul Bey is 7 years old, has autism, and just got over COVID-19, but that hasn’t stopped him from spreading holiday cheer. Bey used money from his savings, funds from friends and relatives, and recently received a $100 anonymous donation to pick up toys from stores such as Five Below to support his Philadelphia school toy drive. My colleague Jenice Armstrong says his story should inspire us all to help others this year.

🍳 Check out how Philly restaurant owners are using “ghost kitchens” to drum up delivery business during the pandemic.

🖐️ Anyone else feeling tense? A Philly massage therapist shares five techniques to give yourself a massage at home.

🚂 Looking for family fun this week? Check out these twinkly miniature trains outdoors, or stream a performance of The Nutcracker online.

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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