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Afternoon Edition: March 11, 2020

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

Sun-Times Media

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

It’ll be a cloudy afternoon with a high near 47 degrees. Tonight we will see a low of about 41 degrees. Showers are likely tomorrow with a high near 62 degrees.

Top story

Polling locations moving, St. Patrick’s Day parades canceled and another person tests positive for coronavirus

As the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic today, Chicago is feeling the weight of the global crisis.

The city’s top public health official said Chicago is “a very long way” from having widespread transmission of the coronavirus, but that the tally of coronavirus cases in the area is expected to continue growing.

Responding to coronavirus concerns, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners said it will move 25 precinct polling locations, a decision coming just six days before Election Day. Some of the locations being changed are nursing homes; others are private locations and could be moved to firehouses, schools and other places yet to be determined.

But affected voters hoping for a heads up before they vote in the March 17 primary may be out of luck — officials said they may not know the new locations right away.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that Chicago’s three large St. Patrick’s Day parades, and the iconic tradition of dyeing the Chicago River green, will be postponed over fears that having so many people in one place could increase the risk of the coronavirus spreading. New dates for these events were not announced.

Michael Jacobson, president and CEO of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, called the cancellation a “huge hit” for Chicago hotels.

Also today, person who works at Prudential Plaza in the Loop has tested positive for the new coronavirus, prompting at least one company in the huge office complex to encourage employees to work from home. Property owner Sterling Bay said it has begun “aggressively cleaning” all high-touch areas throughout the two-tower office plaza — and that the buildings “will be open for business” Wednesday.

As the coronavirus spreads, nurses in Chicago are criticizing how hospitals are responding to the outbreak and calling for increased protections and guidance on how to handle the spread of the deadly pandemic. They’re holding a vigil tomorrow night to mourn the victims of COVID-19 and urge hospital management “to step up their efforts to protect the staff and patients.“

Every day, we’re continuing to update our list of closures, cancellations and quarantines in Chicago due to the coronavirus.

More news you need

  1. Despite key primary losses to Joe Biden last night, Bernie Sanders says he’s moving ahead with his Democratic presidential campaign. He plans to confront Biden about issues important to his supports during Sunday’s debate.
  2. The man shot by a Chicago Police officer last month at the Grand Red Line station has filed a lawsuit against the city, the officer who shot him as well as that officer’s partner. His attorney says he’s lucky to be alive.
  3. Harvey Weinstein was sentenced today to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault, a sight the Hollywood mogul’s multitude of accusers thought they would never see. Read what Weinstein, and his accusers, said in court.
  4. A 45-year-old teacher is facing a felony hate crime charge for allegedly beating an 87-year-old woman of German descent and calling her a “(expletive) Nazi” last month in north suburban Niles. She’s been places on administrative leave.
  5. Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel famously said: “Never allow a good crisis to go to waste.” A labor coalition led by the Chicago Teachers Union is taking that advice to heart: they were at City Hall today demanding 15 days of paid sick leave in light of the coronavirus. Read their full list of demands.
  6. Despite the provocative premise of liberal elitists hunting deplorables for sport, “The Hunt” is mostly forgettable, slow-season splatter movie, writes Richard Roeper. Read his full review.

A bright one

If you’re planning on tucking into a corned beef sandwich or a bagel and lox at Manny’s over the next week or so, save room for a side order of Chicago politics.

Less than a week out from the March 17 primary, Cook County state’s attorney candidates Bill Conway and Ald. Bob Fioretti were already bumping into one another at the South Loop cafeteria and delicatessen, a mainstay on the campaign trail. And minutes later, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza showed up.

Cook County State’s Attorney candidate Bill Conway greets voters with wife, Brittany, and daughter Bella at Manny’s Cafeteria and Delicatessen, Tuesday afternoon.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Dan Raskin, Manny’s fourth-generation owner-operator, said he thinks politicians flock to the establishment because it offers a “broad group of customers, it’s a place where you can see every type of person.”

Some historic Manny’s moments: Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed a bill there, President-elect Barack Obama stopped in for his first post-election slice of pie and Cook County State’s Attorney Richard M. Daley ate a corned beef sandwich before beginning his record run as mayor.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama checks out the pie offerings at Manny’s Coffee Shop and Deli during a lunch break.
Getty Images

Read the full story.

From the press box

With the Blackhawks set to host the Sharks at the United Center tonight (7 p.m. CT, NBCSC), the team says it’s unfazed by the concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. It’s a similar situation for the Cubs, who’re trying to stay cautious yet focused ahead of a spring training game against the Padres (8 p.m., Marquee).

However, as Rick Telander writes, it’s becoming increasingly clear major sporting events will be canceled or postponed to limit spread of the virus.

Your daily question ☕

Students at the University of Illinois voted in a non-binding referendum last week to adopt a blue and orange bird as the official replacement for Chief Illiniwek. Do you think it’s time the mascot changed?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you what you think Willis Tower should be called after news that Aon is buying the building. The question got “Sears Tower” trending on Chicago Twitter yesterday. Here’s what some of you said:

“I think Willis Tower sounds dignified and kind of cool. Forget Sears. They abandoned Chicago for the suburbs,” wrote Tom Ertel on Facebook.

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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