3:54 p.m. Third straight record-breaking COVID-19 vaccination day sends Illinois shot total past 7 million
After a third straight record-breaking COVID-19 vaccination day for Illinois, more than 7 million shots have now gone into arms statewide, officials announced Saturday.
A total of 175,681 doses were administered Friday, surpassing the state’s previous high set a day earlier by more than 11,000 shots, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Almost four months into the unprecedented nationwide vaccination effort, the state’s overall shot tally is up to 7,047,326.
From that figure, only about 2.8 million residents have been fully vaccinated, meaning two weeks removed from their final dose. That’s still just shy of 22% of the population.
But Illinois is vaccinating more people per day than ever, with an average of almost 123,000 shots administered daily over the past week.
All residents 16 or older will be eligible for vaccination starting Monday, though Chicago providers won’t expand eligibility to all adults until April 19.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a partnership with Walgreens that’s aiming to vaccinate 10,000 Chicagoans from dozens of houses of worship through off-site clinics over the next three weeks. It’s part of the city’s effort emphasizing equitable distribution in Black and Brown neighborhoods.
“We’ve seen the numbers come down in case infections, in hospitalizations and deaths that had been disproportionately affecting people of color in this city, but our work’s not done,” Lightfoot said.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s health team is racing to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible with Illinois now facing its third coronavirus resurgence.
12:07 p.m. Lawmakers seek long-term limit on governors’ emergency power in response to COVID-19 restrictions
As governors loosen long-lasting coronavirus restrictions, state lawmakers across the U.S. are taking actions to significantly limit the power they could wield in future emergencies.
The legislative measures are aimed not simply at undoing mask mandates and capacity limits that have been common during the pandemic. Many proposals seek to fundamentally shift power away from governors and toward lawmakers the next time there is a virus outbreak, terrorist attack or natural disaster.
“The COVID pandemic has been an impetus for a re-examination of balancing of legislative power with executive powers,” said Pam Greenberg, a policy researcher at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Lawmakers in 45 states have proposed more than 300 measures this year related to legislative oversight of executive actions during the COVID-19 pandemic or other emergencies, according to the NCSL.
About half those states are considering significant changes, such as tighter limits on how long governors’ emergency orders can last without legislative approval, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council, an association of conservative lawmakers and businesses. It wrote a model “Emergency Power Limitation Act” for lawmakers to follow.
Though the pushback is coming primarily from Republican lawmakers, it is not entirely partisan.
Republican lawmakers have sought to limit the power of Democratic governors in states such as Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina. But they also have sought to rein in fellow Republican governors in such states as Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana and Ohio. Some Democratic lawmakers also have pushed back against governors of their own party, most notably limiting the ability of embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to issue new mandates.
New cases & vaccination numbers
- The Illinois Department of Public Health Saturday reported 3,630 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including 13 additional deaths.
- IDPH also reported a total of 1,276,830 cases, including 21,489 deaths statewide.
- Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 84,478 specimens for a total of 21,102,407.
- As of Friday night, 1,831 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19.
- The total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses for Illinois is 9,001,105. A total of 7,047,326 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of last midnight.
Commentary & Analysis
A big question among parents and teachers as more schools reopen is when their kids will be vaccinated against COVID-19. Some have wondered whether the vaccine is even necessary for children.
A vaccine for children is getting closer. Pfizer on April 9 became the first vaccine maker to formally ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization that would allow its COVID-19 vaccine to be given to adolescents ages 12 and older. Pfizer has said its vaccine trials in children show the vaccine is as effective in ages 12-15 as it is in young adults, however those results still have to be reviewed by the FDA.
Dr. James Wood, a pediatrician and assistant professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the Indiana University School of Medicine, explains what doctors know today about the risk children face of getting and spreading the coronavirus and when vaccines might be available.
Do kids really need to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The short answer is yes. A lot of studies have shown that COVID-19 isn’t as severe in children, particularly younger kids — but that doesn’t mean kids aren’t at risk of getting infected and potentially spreading the virus.
Children under 12 who get COVID-19 do tend to have mild illnesses or no symptoms, while teenagers seem to have responses somewhere between what adults and younger kids have experienced. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that teens were about twice as likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 as children ages 5-11.
Researchers are still trying to understand why we’re seeing these differences between older and younger kids. Behavior probably plays a part. Teenagers are more likely to engage in social or group activities, and they may or may not be wearing masks. Immune differences and biologic factors may also play a role. Non-SARS-CoV-2 coronaviruses are common in children, often resulting in upper respiratory infection. Is their frequent exposure to other coronaviruses helping protect them from severe COVID-19? That is one hypothesis. We know younger kids’ immune responses in general are different from adults, and likely play a role in protection.
The key to minimizing the risk is to make sure kids eventually get vaccinated, follow social distancing recommendations and wear masks.