Afternoon Edition: March 12, 2020

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

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Amid fears of the coronavirus pandemic, a man wears a face mask inside a CVS store near Union Station in Chicago, Thursday morning, March 12, 2020.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

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.

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Afternoon Edition

Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.

We could see some rain this afternoon, right around commute time. The high will be around 56 degrees and the low tonight will be near 32 degrees. Tomorrow will be sunny and breezy with a high of 47 degrees.

Top story

Universities shift to remote learning, Metra and Amtrak mull service reductions as more Chicago events canceled

Chicago saw even more closures and cancelations today due to coronavirus concerns, while Congress shut down the U.S. Capitol to the public until April and Major League BaseballMajor League Soccer and the National Hockey Association all suspended their seasons or operations.

Trying to calm fears in the city’s more than 600 school buildings, Chicago Public Schools officials last week promised quick delivery of extra hand sanitizer, soap and cleaning materials. But some schools still have not received the much-needed supplies.

Classes at the University of Chicago and Loyola University Chicago will shift off campus via “remote learning,” and residence halls are set to be all but emptied. The schools join the University of Illinois, Illinois State, Northwestern and DePaul in canceling in-person classes.

Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in Lake View canceled classes again today after a case of COVID-19 spread to two more members of a student’s family, including a spouse who attended parent-teacher conferences last week.

Metra and Amtrak are mulling reductions in service after reporting a decrease in passengers over the past few days. A CTA spokeswoman said there’s been no “discernible change” in ridership over the last few weeks on bus and rail lines.

The Illinois High School Association will limit attendance at the state tournament to 60 fans per school this weekend in Peoria and at all other games across the state.

Two more events have withdrawn from McCormick Place, bringing the tally to six: The National School Boards Association scrapped its 2020 convention and Salesforce is converting its Connections 2020 event to a virtual setting. 

Former Grateful Dead singer and guitarist Bob Weir has postponed tonight’s concert at the Chicago Theatre with his band Wolf Bros.

The James Beard Foundation announced it is postponing its annual awards ceremony held at Chicago’s Lyric Opera House until summer.

In Illinois, more than more than 20 cases of the coronavirus have been identified.

Here’s what to do if you if you think you have coronavirus.

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

More news you need

  1. Testimony in the trial of the man accused of murdering Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer ended today without the alleged killer taking the witness stand. Read what Shomari Legghette’s longtime friend said about the four-time felon.
  2. The man who captured video of a police officer shooting someone at a CTA station says he’s made it a habit to take his phone out and record cops interacting with civilians. That practice, he says, was spurred by high-profile instances of police using force.
  3. Stepped-up enforcement in response to a rash of carjackings citywide at the start of the year has resulted in a sharp increase in arrests, according to Chicago police. See how this year’s numbers compare to last years.
  4. If Sen. Bernie Sanders really cares about running Donald Trump out of the White House in November, he should drop out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination now, writes the Sun-Times Editorial Board. Why they think it’s time Bernie called it quits.
  5. Israel’s renowned Sheba Medical Center will be an anchor tenant in the first phase of development at the former Michael Reese Hospital site in Bronzeville, developers said today. Read about the project, including when construction could start.
  6. It’s not too late to vote by mail. If you don’t feel like trekking out to your polling location this week or next, today at 5 p.m. is the deadline to apply to vote by mail. Here’s how to do that.
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A bright one

Happy 312 Day!

That’s right, today is the day when the date and Chicago’s area code line up, triggering a lot of “Oh, yeah, I guess it is” reactions.

But the occasion also pairs well for Goose Island Island Beer Co., because its signature beer is dubbed 312.

To mark the occasion, the folks at Goose Island have been posting clues on Twitter and Instagram every hour until 11 p.m. that lead the clever and quick-footed to the location of a free bicycle. First come, first served.


A bike being offered in a contest by Goose Island Beer Co. on Thursday, March 12, to mark 312 Day. | Provided

The bikes — Sole brand fixed gears decked out with a Goose Island paint job — are being snatched up within minutes of the social media posts being sent out, Goose Island spokesman Tomasz Donda said.

The promotion began in the wee hours this morning. A total of 24 bikes will be given away. One happy hunter who has apparently been roaming in a car with a pal since midnight has snatched up two bikes thus far.

Read the full story from Mitch Dudek, including some clues and answers.

From the press box

The escalating coronavirus outbreak hit the sports world in a big way over the past 24 hours, starting with the NBA’s decision to suspend its season last night. Today, MLSMLB and the NHL followed suit, while the Big Ten, SEC and countless other conference basketball tournaments were canceled.

Even the NFL, which doesn’t start its 2020 season until September, has some big decisions to make this offseason, like how to handle the NFL Draft in Las Vegas next month. For now, the league says it has no plans to delay the beginning of next season. 

Your daily question ☕

With the remaining Democratic primaries likely to be diminished by the coronavirus, our Editorial Board wrote that Bernie Sanders should drop out of the race to grant Joe Biden a clean victory and clearer path to ousting President Trump. Do you think Bernie should drop out of the race?

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 if you think it’s time the University of Illinois replaced Chief Illiniwek with the blue and orange bird students voted on. Here’s what some of you said:

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