Welcome to Wednesday. The other morning, my son asked when he could stop wearing his mask at school. In a rush, I replied, “When the coronavirus is over, buddy.” He asked, “When is that gonna be?”

I ushered him into his carpool before I could answer.

But my kid’s question is one we’re all wondering. When or what constitutes a reasonable level of safety to put this pandemic in the rearview mirror? It’s the topic of today’s top story, alongside yesterday’s election results from around the region.

Let us know what you think of today’s email by sending me one back.

— Kerith Gabriel (@sprtswtr, morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

When will the pandemic be over? Here’s how you’ll know

While life has resumed some semblance of normalcy in many ways, the signs and lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic remain a constant reminder.

How will we know when it can be treated like the common flu? The road to normal — however that is defined — runs through vaccines.

“The focus should remain on vaccinating as many people as possible,” says Marcus Schabacker, president and CEO of ECRI, a Plymouth Meeting-based nonprofit that evaluates the safety and quality of health care.

Other experts told our reporters Tom Avril, Jason Laughlin, and Laura McCrystal just how low infection rates would have to fall, the possibility of more mutations, and what role, if any, the flu could play this winter.

It’s a story offering insight into a lot of COVID questions we all ask.

The best way to describe Tuesday’s Election Day? Sleepy

Tuesday’s election was nothing like 2020. The glare of the national spotlight on Pennsylvania faded, for the moment. And unlike last year’s record turnout, officials expected low participation, typical for off-year elections.

In the marquee races, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy was in a tight battle with Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli late last night, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner won reelection against Republican Chuck Peruto, and Republican Kevin Brobson won a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Our reporters Andrew Seidman and Julia Terruso have this roundup of last night’s results.

What you should know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

As a lifelong Philadelphian, I’ve never run Kelly Drive. But this shot from @jason_zyx seriously has me considering it. Have a pic of Philly you’d like to share? Send it using #OurPhilly.

That’s interesting

🏀 Wait until Allen Iverson hears this one. The Sixers haven’t practiced since the regular season began. Why? On-court execution and continuity, suggests coach Doc Rivers.

😕 Have you heard the “Let’s Go, Brandon” chant but have no idea what it meant? Neither did I, until our columnist Will Bunch provided this explanation.

😲 A former sheriff’s deputy was running a worldwide fentanyl distribution ring from a Roxborough U-Haul storage facility.

Opinions

“When the police and civic leaders mislead the public, it hurts us all. In the SEPTA rape case, it caused unwarranted global outrage that painted our city’s residents as coldhearted observers to a violent attack. The misinformation created a sense of terror among those who rely on public transportation, eroding passengers’ trust in each other,” writes The Inquirer’s Editorial Board, which operates independently from the newsroom, saying it’s time to untangle the inconsistencies in the SEPTA rape case.

What we’re...

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Philly, I love you. Until tomorrow... ✌️