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Coronavirus

The latest news about the novel coronavirus COVID-19 with a focus on its impact on Chicago and Illinois.

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What you need to know about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in Chicago

Check out answers to frequently asked questions, including: Where can I get one? Can I go to a pharmacy? How long do I have to wait?

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As Chicago requires COVID vaccination proof at more places, here’s what you need to know

Tips to help you store and present your proof of vaccination now that the city has issued a requirement it be presented to get into bars, gyms and other locations.

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Light at the end of the tunnel? Drop in COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations leaves some experts ‘cautiously optimistic’

Nearly 700 fewer COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in Illinois Monday night than the state’s all-time record of 7,380 set on Jan. 12. Deaths dipped, too. Although hopeful, Northwestern Medicine’s Dr. Sajal Tanna warned, "I wouldn’t let my guard down."

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Cook County Health reopens mass vaccination site in Forest Park

Iliana Mora, chief administration officer for Cook County Health’s Ambulatory Services, said the Forest Park facility alone is equipped to give out 1,300 doses a day.

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Live map of coronavirus cases by zip code

Track the latest confirmed COVID-19 cases by zip code with this state map, updated daily with public health department data.

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Live map of Illinois coronavirus cases

Track the latest confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state with this state map, updated daily with public health department data.

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Lightfoot back in action — with a mask — one week after COVID-19 diagnosis

The mayor said COVID-19 "kind of felt like a cold — a bad cold." Lightfoot said she "luckily recovered quickly" and feels strong enough to attend the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C.

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How to get free COVID-19 tests as federal testing website launches

Starting Tuesday, the website COVIDTests.gov is providing tests at no cost, including no shipping fee.

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Here’s who’s dying from COVID-19 during the Omicron surge — two years into the pandemic

Blacks in Chicago — as well as whites over 60 in the suburbs — are dying from the coronavirus at higher rates, a WBEZ analysis found. Also, the unvaccinated are 22 times more likely to die than those who’ve gotten shots.

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Supreme Court ruling against Biden’s workplace vaccine mandate is a loss for public health

The six conservative justices wrote that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration exceeded its authority when it imposed the mandate as a "blunt instrument" last fall. Blunt instruments are sometimes needed.

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COVID-19 now killing 105 Illinoisans per day: ‘This is going to hurt for a long time’

Even though Omicron generally seems to cause milder infections and doctors have gotten better at treating COVID, the sheer volume of cases means there is more agony on the way, experts say. "We’ve been on this ride before. We know how this works," University of Chicago’s Dr. Emily Landon said.

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Keep young people in youth prisons safe from COVID-19

They are locked up and away from their families during a global pandemic without autonomy for their living environment or the ability to maintain social distance.

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After Supreme Court loss on COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Biden administration regroups

At a time when hospitals are being overrun and record numbers of people are getting infected with the omicron variant, the administration hopes states and companies will order their own vaccinate-or-test requirements.

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For Chicago’s frustrated restaurant workers, life will never be the same

Three longtime food industry employees try new paths after months of anxiety, stress and periods of joblessness. They’re hoping the shifts pay off.

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Four Omicron myths: Dispelling misguided and ‘flat out harmful’ theories about the still dangerous variant — and that part is no myth

With coronavirus hospitalizations at an all-time high across Illinois, experts say it’s critical for residents to continue following basic precautions — and to stop dismissing the most infectious variant yet as "mild."

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16 businesses, including 10 restaurants, cited for violating city’s proof of vaccination order

Between Jan. 3, the day the order took effect, and Wednesday, the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection issued a total of 32 citations to the businesses.

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Chicago business groups welcome Supreme Court decision to halt Biden’s vaccine mandate although some will still require shots

But the court upheld the administration’s mandate for health care workers.

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Why N95, KN95 masks are much more effective than cloth versions

Along with vaccines and testing, masks remain one of the CDC’s three main tools to fight the coronavirus.

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Illinois DOC to pause intake of inmates due to COVID-19 surge

County sheriffs say it increases strain on local jails.

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Chicago teachers approve deal to end walkout over COVID safety protocols

The vote, which passed with 55.5% approval, came as students returned Wednesday, in some cases returning to schools where dozens of teachers were out.

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Help is on the way? Pritzker sends thousands of contract health care workers to hospitals swamped with unvaccinated patients

More Illinoisans are testing positive for COVID-19 each day than ever before — an average of 32,501 per day over the last week — and "unfortunately, right now, today, the hospitals are bearing the brunt," Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. The spike is also resulting in more deaths, with 144 on Wednesday alone, the worst daily toll in over a year.

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Boris Johnson apologizes for attending party during lockdown

The apology, which stopped short of admitting wrongdoing, was Johnson’s attempt to assuage a tide of anger from the public and politicians over accusations he and his staff repeatedly flouted pandemic restrictions by socializing when it was banned.

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America is flunking its COVID testing

The country needs to do a better job of making tests available and producing results in a timely manner.

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Mayor Lightfoot says she has COVID-19: ‘I am experiencing cold-like symptoms but otherwise feel fine’

"I will continue to work from home while following the CDC guidelines for isolation," the mayor said in a statement. "This is an urgent reminder for folks to get vaccinated and boosted as it’s the only way to beat this pandemic."

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CPS teachers frustrated by deal to reopen classrooms, but union leaders urge passage

Teachers are voting through Wednesday afternoon on an agreement that would stiffen COVID safety measures at schools. But many said the agreement did not go far enough.

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Chicago’s COVID-19 surge ‘flattening?’ City’s top doc sees signs of ‘potential relief’ — but warns Omicron wave is ‘extremely not over’

Nearly 4,800 Chicagoans are still testing positive each day on average — about double any previous case surge the city has seen — but that rate is down about 8% from last week, according to city data.

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Chicago’s top public health official touts family vaccine clinics at City Colleges

The weekend clinics — operated out of the City Colleges of Chicago — are open at least through February.

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CPS students to return to classrooms Wednesday after CTU suspends walkout

Teachers will report back to schools Tuesday after a week away.

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Weekend COVID-19 testing numbers inflated by reporting problem, state’s hospital beds filled by unvaccinated

The 488,873 COVID-19 tests reported as administered on Saturday were actually from nearly a week’s worth of tests, a public health official said. Other COVID-19 metrics released on Monday suggest the latest astronomical surge of the Omicron variant is far from over.

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School safety debate rages anew with Omicron

While state data appears to show that more than 40% of Illinois residents who were believed to be positive for COVID-19 had visited schools, experts say those numbers can be misleading.

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Feds urged to investigate city’s use of COVID-19 relief funds

The city was allocated $1.9 billion in federal relief funds through the American Rescue Plan. Some of that money freed up other city money, which was used to pay down debt.

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Some businesses on South, West sides see drop in customers since city’s vaccination mandate

One Little Village restaurant saw business drop by 50% in the first days of Chicago’s vaccination mandate while a Lawndale fitness center says clients have inquired about canceling memberships.

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CPS cancels school Monday as negotiations with CTU continue

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Teachers Union on Sunday continued to publicly take shots at each other as negotiations continued.

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Roseland Community Hospital vs. Omicron: ‘People are exhausted’

Swamped with COVID cases, coping with price-gouging and crowded corridors, Roseland Community Hospital reflects woes seen across state, nation.

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U.S. Rep. Sean Casten in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19

Casten, 50, said he’s fully vaccinated and received a booster dose. He described his symptoms as ‘mild.’

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CPS standoff: Latest CTU proposal calls for remote learning this week, in person next — but Lightfoot says ‘you’re not listening’

The union appeared to make concessions in some of its demands announced Saturday, though Mayor Lori Lightfoot quickly shot the proposal down.