Another long COVID impact studied, activists prep for DNC and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is about an eight-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Dr. Igor Koralnik (left), who heads a Northwestern Medicine clinic that studies the impact of COVID-19 on the brain. He was part of a Northwestern team who reported finding a link between pneumonia hospitalizations and severe cases of long COVID.


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

— Matt Moore (@MattKenMoore)

Weather 🌤️

This afternoon will be partly sunny with a chance of thunderstorms and a high near 79. Tonight will be mostly cloudy, also with a chance of thunderstorms, and a low near 62. Thunderstorms are likely tomorrow with a high near 74.

Top story

Northwestern researchers link pneumonia hospitalizations early in coronavirus pandemic to severe long COVID

Long-haul COVID-19 patients who initially were hospitalized with pneumonia appear to have had more severe impacts on the brain compared with others who also became infected but did not require a trip to the hospital, a study by Northwestern Medicine researchers has found.

The researchers evaluated 600 long COVID patients, most suffering with cognitive difficulties after being infected with the coronavirus between May 2020 and August 2021 — before vaccines were approved in the United States.

The study, published today in the medical journal Annals of Neurology, followed 100 people hospitalized with COVID-related pneumonia and compared them with 500 who had more mild initial symptoms, including a cough or sore throat. All of them were evaluated in person or remotely via telemedicine at a Northwestern clinic focused on neurological impact of COVID.

The hospitalized patients performed far worse on neurological exams, the Northwestern researchers reported.

Dr. Igor Koralnik, who heads the Northwestern neurological COVID-19 clinic and co-authored the study, said the findings might indicate that the pneumonia patients — many requiring breathing tubes in the hospital — suffered brain damage.

The other patients might have been affected by an autoimmune condition, which occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells.

Our Brett Chase has more on the study’s revelations.

More news you need

A bright one ☀️

CPS students surprised with $40,000 Amazon scholarship: ‘If you have the ambition you can go do it’

Ayesha Abdiel acquired a passion for puzzle solving during the coronavirus quarantine, spending hours poring over thousands of jigsaw pieces to complete the intricate designs.

Abdiel, 18, was also learning to code around the same time and quickly realized that the two subjects were all about problem solving. Her new hobby further fueled her passion for computer science and pushed her to work hard in school toward a career in the field.

“I figured, just like I’m moving different code around I do the same thing with puzzles,” said Abdiel, “It’s converting that hobby into a passion and into a career.”

Yesterday, Abdiel’s efforts as a student at George Westinghouse College Prep were rewarded. She was one of 13 Chicago Public Schools students who were surprised with a $40,000 scholarship from online retailer Amazon to pursue an undergraduate degree in computer science or engineering.


Student Ayesha Abdiel hugs her father. Ayesha was one of 13 Chicago Public Schools students invited to Amazon’s Loop headquarters to receive an Amazon Future Engineers Scholarship. Ayesha will attend Cornell University in the fall.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

The students, accompanied by their parents, friends and teachers, were summoned to Amazon’s corporate headquarters in the Loop for what they were told would be a final round of interviews.

They were handed envelopes that supposedly contained their interview questions. But when the students opened them they were shocked to see a certificate congratulating them as recipients of the scholarship.

The students were caught by surprise, and many couldn’t hold back tears. They held up the certificate to loved ones in the audience who were cheering and clapping, some wiping their eyes as well.

The Chicago students are among 400 students across the United States to receive the award. Each scholar will receive $40,000 over four years to study computer science or related fields this fall. The scholarship also includes a paid internship offer at Amazon after their freshman year.

Our Emmanuel Camarillo has more on the award and the local recipients.

From the press box

Your daily question☕

Who’s the most famous celebrity you’ve spotted in public in Chicago? Tell us what happened.

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

Yesterday, we asked you: How would you describe what spring is like in Chicago to someone new here?

Here’s some of what you said…

“I always tell them highs in the 50s and 60s. Mostly rain. Sometimes a sunny day in the 70s.” — Elisabeth Scott

“Dress in layers that you can peel off. Always have gloves in your pocket and a hood on your jacket because you never know.” — Jo Ann Reksel

“Between the time you look up and back down at your phone, all four seasons will swirl around you and not pause at your favorite.” — Robert Kosin

“Try not to worry about April snow. It never lasts.” — Jamey Miller

“Spring in Chicago is a total burlesque tease. She teases you with hints of what’s coming and then covers it back up again and again before finally showing her full glory!” — Jennifer Ould

“You’ll remove the lawn chair from your parking space, use it to sit outside in the sun before running to the basement to take cover from the severe storm and come back up wearing a parka quite possibly in one hour’s time.” — Jeff Kwit

“Spring in Chicago: fickle. Heat one day, AC the next — then back to heat.” — Kaye Grabbe

“Spring in Chicago? It’s when hope springs eternal for our MLB teams, tulips and daffodils spring up from a long hibernation, clocks spring forward, and shorts and short-sleeved tops spring forth on sidewalks. And you can’t have the word ‘inspiring’ without ‘spring,’ after all.” — Paul Lockwood

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

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