Coronavirus live blog, October 25, 2020: Illinois 7-day COVID-19 positivity rate stays above 6%

Here’s the latest news on how COVID-19 is impacting Chicago and Illinois. Follow here for live updates.

SHARE Coronavirus live blog, October 25, 2020: Illinois 7-day COVID-19 positivity rate stays above 6%

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Illinois announced 4,062 new COVID-19 infections, additional 24 deaths


A man undergoes a coronavirus test in Salt Lake City.

Rick Bowmer/AP Photo (file photo)

Illinois health officials on Sunday announced 4,062 new COVID-19 cases and an additional 24 virus-related deaths.

The new infections found among the latest batch of 72,097 tests processed statewide in the last day keeps Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate at 6.1% — a troubling sign that the state is heading in the wrong direction in its fight against the coronavirus as that number, which indicates how rapidly the virus is spreading, hadn’t topped 6% in over four months.

Sunday marked the 12th day this month Illinois had a 3,000-plus caseload and comes one day after the state announced an alarming, record-breaking batch of 6,161 new infections.

With case counts surging — about 21.6% of the state’s 374,254 total cases were recorded this month — Illinois is starting to latch down with tighter restrictions to try to halt the rise in COVID-19 cases.

Public health officials on Friday said half of the state’s 102 counties have hit their designated coronavirus “warning level.” As a result, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has imposed indoor dining bans at bars and restaurants in four of the state’s 11 regions, including many of Chicago’s south and west suburbs. Other regions are facing possible business restrictions within the next week as some are on pace to rise to the 8% positivity threshold.

Read the full story here.


2:04 p.m. Nearly half U.S. states see highest daily COVID-19 numbers in October as Trump continues to downplay pandemic

Preslie Paur breaks down in tears when she thinks of her state’s refusal to mandate face masks.

The South Salt Lake City, Utah, woman can’t work at her special education job due to an autoimmune disease. Her husband, also a special ed teacher, recently quit because his school district would not allow him to work remotely to protect her and their 5-year-old son, who has asthma.

“I feel forgotten,” Paur said. “We’re living in a world we no longer fit in. We did everything right. We went to college, we got jobs, we tried to give back to our community, and now our community is not giving back to us. And I’m very scared.”

As President Donald Trump barnstorms the swing states, often downplaying the coronavirus pandemic before largely unmasked crowds, the nation continues to lurch toward what his opponent Joe Biden, citing health experts, warned will be a “dark winter” of disease and death.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told CNN on Sunday that “we’re not going to control the pandemic.” Asked why, he said it’s “because it is a contagious virus just like the flu.”

Vice President Mike Pence will continue campaigning despite his chief of staff testing positive for COVID-19. His office said Pence and his wife both tested negative for the virus Sunday.

About half of U.S. states have seen their highest daily infection numbers so far at some point in October, and the country as a whole came very close to back-to-back record daily infection rates on Friday and Saturday.

Read the full story here.

1:51 p.m. Pence to keep up travel despite contact with infected aide

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence plans to maintain an aggressive campaign schedule this week despite his exposure to a top aide who tested positive for the coronavirus, the White House said Saturday.

Pence himself tested negative, his office said. Under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, the vice president is considered a “close contact” of his chief of staff, Marc Short, but will not quarantine, said spokesman Devin O’Malley.

O’Malley said Pence decided to maintain his travel schedule “in consultation with the White House Medical Unit” and “in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel.” Those guidelines require that essential workers exposed to someone with the coronavirus closely monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and wear a mask whenever around other people.

O’Malley said Pence and his wife, Karen, both tested negative on Saturday “and remain in good health.”

Read the full story here.

12:36 p.m. Trump’s top aide: ‘we’re not going to control the pandemic’

WASHINGTON — The coronavirus has reached into the heart of the White House once more, less than a week before Election Day, as it scorches the nation and the president’s top aide says “we’re not going to control the pandemic.” Officials on Sunday scoffed at the notion of dialing back in-person campaigning despite positive tests from several aides to Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the White House coronavirus task force.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, pressed to explain why the pandemic cannot be reined in, said, “Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu.” He told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the government was focused on getting effective therapeutics and vaccines to market.

Pence, who tested negative on Sunday, according to his office, planned an afternoon rally in North Carolina, while the president was scheduled to be in New Hampshire and Maine. Democrat Joe Biden attended church in the morning and planned to participate in a virtual get-out-the-vote concert at night. His running mate, Kamala Harris, told reporters in Michigan that Pence should follow federal health guidelines.

“We’re doing it, I think that we have modeled the right and good behavior, and they should take our lead,” said the California senator, who had paused in-person campaigning for several days earlier this month after an aide and member of the campaign’s flight crew test positive.

Read the full story here.

10:52 a.m. Bears put CB Michael Joseph on reserve/COVID-19 list

The Bears put cornerback Michael Joseph on the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday, but there is no fear of him spreading the coronavirus — he hasn’t been inside Halas Hall since the team put him on injured reserve Aug. 31.

Since then, Joseph has been under the care of the Bears’ medical staff remotely.

Joseph spent parts of the last two seasons on the Bears practice squad last year before being promoted to the active roster for the last two games of 2019. He did not play a snap in either.

Read the full story here.

10:13 a.m. 11 more chief judge’s employees, 3 more juvenile detention residents test positive for COVID-19

Eleven more employees in the Office of the Chief Judge of Cook County have tested positive for the coronavirus, along with three residents of the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.

The positive test results have all come in since Monday, according to a statement from the chief judge’s office. The employees who tested positive include a sitting judge who works in the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, 2650 S. California Ave., and six JTDC employees.

The other employees who tested positive work at the Adult Probation Department in the Skokie Courthouse, the Juvenile Probation Department at the JTDC and the Adult Probation Office at the Criminal Court Administration building, the judge’s office said.

Read the full story here.

7:35 a.m. Confirmed coronavirus infections are continuing to soar in many parts of the U.S. and Europe

Confirmed coronavirus infections continued to soar Saturday in many parts of the U.S. and Europe. In some cases, so did anger over the restrictions governments put in place to try to stem the tide.

Oklahoma, Illinois, New Mexico and Michigan were among states announcing new record highs in daily confirmed cases Saturday, a day after a nationwide daily record of more than 83,000 reported infections, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive, said it’s “now more important than ever that people take this seriously.” The 3,338 new COVID-19 cases in her state topped the old record by more than 1,300.

Read the full story here.

7:15 a.m. Colleges scramble to help students adjust to COVID-19 restrictions

It’s a major life milestone, the first time many U.S. teens have ever been on their own. Even in normal times, freshman year in college can be a jumbled mix of anticipation, uncertainty and emotional highs and lows.

In these hardly normal times, when the quintessential college experience exists only in catalogs, freshmen are being challenged like never before.

Amid pandemic restrictions aimed at keeping students safe and healthy, colleges are scrambling to help them adjust. But many are struggling.

Read the full story here.

6 a.m. Illinois shatters daily coronavirus case record again with 6,161 new infections

Illinois coronavirus resurgence took another severe, record-breaking step up Saturday as public health officials announced 6,161 more people have tested positive for the coronavirus statewide.

The stunning case count — which smashed Illinois’ previous daily record by more than 1,200 cases, set just two days earlier — was confirmed among 83,517 tests.

That means 7.4% of the latest tests submitted to the Illinois Department of Public Health came back positive, the highest proportion of infections confirmed in a single day since the beginning of June.

And it sent the statewide average seven-day testing positivity rate up half a percentage point to 6.1%. That number, which indicates how rapidly the virus is spreading, hadn’t topped 6% in over four months.

Read the full story here.

New Cases

Analysis & Commentary

7:55 a.m. The simple math of ‘excess mortality’ — this pandemic kills

Just how deadly is COVID-19?

The answer to that question should guide every decision our nation makes as to how to keep ourselves and others safe, yet it has proven maddeningly difficult to nail down and agree upon.

In part, the problem has been one of science. Estimated mortality rates from COVID-19 have been revised, up and down, as scientists and health professionals have collected and analyzed new data and devised better medical treatments.

The problem has also been one of politics. From the very beginning, there has been desire by many political leaders, mostly on the right and most obviously President Trump, to downplay the deadliness of the virus. They have found it more expedient to denigrate the science of the disease than to take the bold measures required — actions derided by anti-government conservatives and libertarians — to slow and contain the spread of the disease.

The basic argument made by those who seek to minimize the dangers of COVID-19 is that most people killed by the virus are quite old and already quite sick and on the verge of death anyway. And if a younger person who has the virus were to jump out of a plane and his parachute failed to open, the skeptics joke, some liberal doctor would record the cause of death as COVID-19.

Given this disagreement and doubt, it’s important to stress that there is, in fact, an emerging gold standard for measuring the deadliness of COVID-19 — something researchers call “excess deaths.” And by that sturdy standard, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control, the virus actually is more deadly than most news reports would suggest.

That’s a profoundly important message, from what traditionally has been one of our nation’s most trusted research institutions, at a time when rates of COVID-19 are surging again in the United States, including in Illinois.

Read the full editorial here.

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