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Coronavirus live blog, Nov. 11, 2020: Public health officials announced 12,657 new COVID-19 cases and 145 deaths attributed to it statewide

Here’s Wednesday’s news on how COVID-19 is impacting Chicago and Illinois.

Coronavirus cases continue to skyrocket as Illinois faces a budget problems and other issues.

Here’s what happened today in coronavirus-related news.


News

8:55 p.m. Illinois suffers most COVID-19 deaths since May as state adds another record-breaking 12,657 new cases

A technician processes nasopharyngeal swab samples positive for COVID-19 at Simple Laboratories in Harwood Heights in April 2020.
A technician processes nasopharyngeal swab samples
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

Illinois’ breathtaking COVID-19 resurgence soared to new heights for a second straight day Wednesday as public health officials announced 12,657 new cases of the deadly respiratory disease and the latest 145 deaths attributed to it — the state’s worst daily death toll in almost six months.

Two Cook County men in their 20s and 30s were among 78 Chicago-area residents included in the latest fatality count, which is the state’s highest since 159 deaths were reported May 27, toward the end of Illinois’ first coronavirus wave.

Average daily case counts have more than tripled since then, with the state logging 10,000 or more new cases for six straight days. Wednesday’s total set a new record for the fifth time in a week.

Read the full story here.

3:04 p.m. Lightfoot needs to compromise to get pandemic budget passed, powerful ally says

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is following through on her promise to improve her strained relationship with the City Council, but she still needs to compromise to get her “pandemic” budget passed, a powerful ally said Wednesday.

Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), chairman of the Council’s Budget Committee, said it’s too soon to say what changes the mayor must make to round up the 26 votes needed to pass a budget that nobody likes, given the tough choices it requires.

But one day after gaveling two weeks of virtual budget hearings to a close by telling her colleagues, “Let’s go make sausage,” Dowell essentially said: “Let the negotiations begin.”

“We have various aldermen coming up with … suggestions about how the budget should be changed. … Working with the Office of Budget and Management is like making sausage. We have to figure out a way to get 26 votes to pass a budget that reflects not just the vision of the mayor, but the vision of the aldermen as well,” Dowell told the Sun-Times.

Read the full story here.

1:20 p.m. Plastic waste problem ‘amplified’ by the pandemic: a Sun-Times/ABC 7 special report

As the coronavirus pandemic pushes people to get more takeout and delivery food, it’s also having another effect: putting at least a temporary halt to the progress of a proposal to reduce single-use plastics and entirely ban polystyrene foam — Styrofoam — at Chicago restaurants.

To get an idea of the impact of that and of how much plastic waste is created even by just one meal, the Chicago Sun-Times and ABC7 ordered a bunch of takeout and delivery food and had an outdoor, socially distanced picnic.

On our picnic blanket: pizza, chicken wings, salads, a cheeseburger and fries, Chinese food and burritos.

Some of it arrived in in compostable cardboard containers or easily recycled aluminum trays.

But there also was a lot of plastic.

And worse, in terms of the environment, some of the orders came nestled in polystyrene foam, commonly known by the trademarked name Styrofoam, which restaurants often use for takeout packaging and which isn’t recyclable.

Those single-use items will “probably last at least a century, maybe longer than a century,” according to Jennifer Dunn, director of research for the Northwestern-Argonne Institute of Science and Engineering, who assessed the pile of waste.

Read the full story here.

1:17 p.m. ‘Awful’ autumn: Yet another record COVID-19 caseload, hospitalizations, positivity up — and ‘it’s not over yet’

Residents wait in line to get tested at the COVID-19 testing site at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy at 2850 W 24th Blvd in Little Village, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Illinois reported another record-breaking total of 12,623 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, hospitals in some parts of the state are packed with triple the number of coronavirus patients they saw during the first wave of the pandemic and the peak of the skyrocketing autumn surge is still nowhere in sight.

“These numbers are awful,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. “Even where things are not as awful, things are still bad.”

“We need to gird ourselves for winter because it’s not over yet ... We have potentially months of the fight ahead of us,” he said.

For now, the state’s main weapon in that fight is local enforcement of masking and social distancing guidelines, according to the Democratic governor — but he hasn’t ruled out more serious action such as the stay-at-home order that helped bend Illinois’ springtime curve. The entire state is now under enhanced “mitigation” efforts including a ban on indoor bar and restaurant service, while some regions have been saddled further with 10-person gathering limits.

“We’re monitoring the numbers closely, and additional statewide action is possible,” Pritzker said.

Read the full story here.

11:54 a.m. COVID-19 vaccines testing timeline: What’s ahead after Pfizer’s surprising good news

Now that drugmaker Pfizer Inc. has announced its surprising good news that its COVID-19 vaccine might offer more protection than anticipated, what’s next?

Pfizer and the maker of the other leading U.S. vaccine candidate, Moderna Inc., have been cautioning that the earliest they could seek regulatory approval for wider use of their shots would be late November. In Britain, AstraZeneca recently said it hoped to prove its vaccine is effective by year’s end.

Science moves at its own pace. While COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at record speeds, when they’ll be ready for us to roll up our sleeves for a shot depends on a long list of research steps, including how many study volunteers wind up getting the coronavirus.

Here’s a look at the process to better understand what to expect.

10:41 a.m. ‘Bachelorette’ suitor Peter tests positive for COVID-19, crashes car

Peter Giannikopoulos, one of the suitors vying for Tayshia Adams’ hand on the current season of ”The Bachelorette,” announced Tuesday that he had tested positive for COVID-19, then was involved in a serious car accident upon hearing the news.

The strapping real estate adviser from Everett, Massachusetts, was one of four suitors who entered the Palm Springs “Bachelorette” bubble on the episode that aired Tuesday night. Giannikopoulos, 32, wrote in an Instagram post the same night that he had begun a two-week quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus Monday.

“The past 24 hours have truly been some of the hardest in my life. Yesterday I tested positive for Covid,” he wrote alongside a shirtless selfie photo taken from a propped position in his bed. “Although my symptoms are evident, I am going to fight this and win.”

Filming for the current season wrapped in September. Giannikopoulos, a fitness buff who has posted frequent Instagram photographs wearing a face mask, said he was emotionally running his mind over how he could have contracted the virus.

“I felt lousy for a few days, but didn’t believe I would contract the virus when I have been wearing a mask in public, washing and sanitizing hands regularly, and following social distancing protocol during work,” he stated.

Read the full story here.

9:16 a.m. ‘Is this worth my life?’: Traveling health workers say COVID care conditions often poor

David Joel Perea called from Maine, Vermont, Minnesota and ultimately Nevada, always with the same request: “Mom, can you send tamales?”

That’s how Dominga Perea knew where her 35-year-old son was. And she would ship them overnight.

David Perea, a traveling nurse, had “a tremendous work ethic,” routinely putting in 80 hours a week, according to his brother Daniel.

But when Perea took a job at Lakeside Health & Wellness Suites — a Reno, Nevada, nursing home that has received dozens of safety citations since 2017 from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services — his mother was “scared silly.”

During his stint at Lakeside, nearly one-fifth of its residents were infected with COVID-19, according to state health records.

Lakeside’s “top priority is the safety of those who live and work in our facility,” a spokesperson said.

When her son didn’t respond to her text on April 6, Dominga Perea knew something was wrong.

Her son had COVID-19. He died days later.

Read the full story here.


New Cases


Analysis & Commentary

7:04 p.m. Should I or should I not get tested for COVID-19?

I have not.

I have not taken.

I have not taken a COVID-19 test.

I don’t know why that feels like a shameful confession.

Maybe it’s because so, so many people have died worldwide from this pandemic — 1.28 million according to the “Our World in Data” website.

Or maybe what I’m really feeling is survivor’s guilt.

I am, after all, in a group considered high-risk for catching the virus.

I’m Black. I’m a senior citizen. I have a compromised immune system.

Read Mary Mitchell’s full column here.

9:18 a.m. As COVID-19 surges, McConnell and Trump must set foolishness aside and push through financial relief

As COVID-19 tightens its grip on the nation’s health and economy, it’s all the more important that lawmakers “go big” and pass a federal stimulus package that includes substantial aid to city and state governments, working Americans and small businesses.

But the hitch is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, and President Donald Trump, who seem to be locked in a race to determine who can be the most useless in America’s hour of need.

Citing improving unemployment figures, McConnell wants a smaller relief bill. He has yet to detail what that package might look like, but no doubt the long-and-short of it would mean less aid doled out to fewer people and entities.

As for Trump, he has yet to commit to signing any new federal stimulus legislation. He appears to be bent on spending the last 70 days of his tenure firing cabinet members and waging a Quixotic attempt to invalidate the presidential election he lost.

Read the full editorial here.