Afternoon Edition: March 9, 2020

Today’s update is a 4-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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A group of passengers wearing facemasks, enter Chicago at the international terminal at O’hare airport, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Chicago.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a4-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

Rain is on the forecast all afternoon and into tonight. The high this afternoon will be near 58 degrees and the low tonight will be around 37 degrees. Tomorrow, skies should clear up during the day, but it will be about 10 degrees colder.

Top story

Closures, cancellations and quarantines in Chicago due to coronavirus

As of today, seven cases of the coronavirus have been identified in Illinois; the latest was reported in Chicago Sunday.

Citing concerns about exposure and transmission of the virus, the American College of Cardiology canceled a major conference today set for later this month at McCormick Place. It’s the fourth such planned gathering in Chicago to be canceled in recent weeks.

In Wilmette, Loyola Academy canceled classes today after administrators learned a student had contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have advised that the general American public is at low risk of contracting COVID-19 — and Mayor Lori Lightfoot has insisted that Chicago is “very well prepared to address this issue.”

But that hasn’t stopped businesses and organizations across the city from encouraging voluntary quarantines.

We want to know if you’re changing your routine due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Are you working from home?Driving instead of taking public transit? Email us hereto share your story with us.

There’s one thing city, county and state officials hope youwon’tavoid in the coming days due to the virus: Voting.

“Because voters no longer need to provide a reason to vote at home, our Vote By Mail program has become more popular with each election since its inception,” Cook County Clerk Karen A. Yarbrough said.

While officials expect an increase in early voting requests this week as a result of concerns over coronavirus, a statement says the state “will have more than enough paper ballots for mailing and our top-of-the-line equipment can handle any increased capacity that an uptick in voting by mail would bring.”

See our running list of local closures, cancelations and quarantines in Chicago here.

More news you need

  1. Illinois’ first legal sports wager was placed this morning at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. Here’s a primer on legal sports betting if you’re ready to upgrade from your office pool.
  2. Two state legislators plan to introduce bills requiring makers of smart devices like the Amazon Echo or Ring video doorbells to disclose to customers on their websites the names of all third parties receiving personal data. The bills would be the first in the nation that deal with “smart devices,” sponsors say.
  3. It looks like a long-vacant Pullman industrial site will be turned into a $60 million Amazon distribution center in time for the Christmas holidays — and without a lucrative “Class 6B” property tax break. Fran Spielman overviews this first step toward the 200-job, 150,000 square-foot prize.
  4. Do you clean your coffee maker regularly? Bacteria, yeast and even mold can grow inside if you don’t. Here’s how to keep your coffee maker clean.
  5. A new attempt to transplant the film classic “Some Like It Hot” to the stage will premiere in Chicago next year on its way to a likely Broadway run, producers said today. Get the details.

A bright one

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations kick off this weekend, and no one does it quite like Chicago.

Between the pub crawls, multiple parades and dyeing our river a bright Kelly green each year, it should come as no surprise that for the second year in a row, the Windy City has been ranked the best in the country to celebrate, according to WalletHub.

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Stacey Peterson and Kevin McGuire take a selfie with the green Chicago River to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17th, 2018. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

Stacey Peterson and Kevin McGuire take a selfie with the green Chicago River to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17th, 2018. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

To rank the festivities of 200 U.S. cities, WalletHub reviewed each one’s St. Patrick’s Day traditions, safety, accessibility, cost and weather. Things like Irish population size, parties and festivals per capita, cost of beer, crime rate and walkability were all taken into consideration.

Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Tampa were deemed the top five cities to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day, the website said.

So come Saturday, grab a green beer and toast to Chicago, the best place to be.

See more photos of St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago.

From the press box

Whatever happens with Illinois basketball from here, the feeling in State Farm Center during the Fighting Illini’s win over Iowa was one that fans will want to savor. It’s been a long time since the team was this good, finishing in the top four of the Big Ten. Now Champaign will have to wait nearly eight months to host another game.

The White Sox also play the Reds this afternoon in their latest Cactus League matchup. It could be another chance for 2015 first-round pick Carson Fulmer to impress as he makes a push for a spot in the bullpen.

Your daily question☕

Do you worry about the data being stored on the smart devices in your home? Have you taken any precautions to limit what they hear?

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

Friday was Employee Appreciation Day, so we asked: What are some of your favorite things about the people you work with? Kristine Hulce Romano wrote to us on Facebook:

“My current boss builds me up and takes extra time to acknowledge my achievements and extra efforts on projects. I have been in my field for over 25 years; never really had this level of support and praise before. I don’t”need” it but it sure feels nice for a change to feel appreciated.“

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