Good morning.

First:: U.S. cases and hospitalizations have surged to all-time highs since the pandemic first gripped us. But although the coronavirus picture is grim, people are still willing to do anything to gather for a typical Thanksgiving this year.

Then: With crowd avoidance top of mind, Black Friday is already courting consumers online. This year, holiday shoppers are being courted even earlier — with Pre-Black Friday deals.

And: What are your Thanksgiving prep plans? Of course, some services will be reduced Thursday. Here’s who is keeping the doors open on Thanksgiving for your last-minute needs, and the businesses you should rule out.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_ashleyhoffman, morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

COVID-19 pandemic is not halting everyone’s Thanksgiving travel plans

Experts have strongly recommended putting the kibosh on the time-honored get-together unless you’re keeping the festivities within your household. But that hasn’t stopped some people from hopping on planes and trains or hitting the open road to get to their relatives. So how many people are expected to fly for Thanksgiving this year?

To be clear, the numbers we do have on Thanksgiving travel patterns are down this year. But plenty of people are still gathering as cases across the country spike. Some travelers tell us they’re confident they can make a trip to celebrate with loved ones safely. Here’s what Thanksgiving-related travel looks like so far this year.

Pre-Black Friday sales remain appealing even during a pandemic

The Friday after Thanksgiving has long been the biggest shopping day of the year, but already, merchants are competing for the attention of early holiday shoppers online with sweepstakes and deals aplenty. Online Black Friday shopping is far from new, but this year, as the pandemic rages, there’s no shortage of people looking for an instant retail therapy high. Here’s how consumer habits have evolved in some surprising ways this year.

Helpful COVID-19 resources

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“There is no way to fight a pandemic or combat climate change if America insists on going it alone.” — Columnist Trudy Rubin writes that the Biden team knows it has to tie foreign policy and policy at home together to put Americans first alongside democratic allies.

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Your Daily Dose of | Compassion

A century-old “iron rug of Persia” symbolized the love a son had for his late father. His father had acquired it in Iran, where he rescued thousands of Assyrian civilians from certain massacre. So when a porch “pirate” stole this sacred relic from his Fishtown stoop, he was understandably crushed. But that wasn’t the end of it. His wife posted a plea on social media that spread on the wings of compassion.