Coronavirus live blog, Aug. 10, 2020:This year, there’s ‘a silent sadness to each goodbye’ between parents and their college kids

Here’s what we learned Monday about how COVID-19 is impacting Chicago and Illinois.

SHARE Coronavirus live blog, Aug. 10, 2020:This year, there’s ‘a silent sadness to each goodbye’ between parents and their college kids

State health officials on Monday announced 1,319 new coronavirus cases and one additional death.

It’s the 20th straight day of four-digit daily caseloads, but only the second day since late March with just one additional fatality, a woman in her 90s from downstate Cumberland County.

The fight against the coronavirus pandemic is far from over. Here’s what happened in Chicago and around the state.


News

This year, there’s ‘a silent sadness to each goodbye’ between parents and their college kids

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. File Photo.

Sun-Times file photo

About three weeks ago, I embarked on the 7-hour drive from my parent’s suburban Chicago home to my college apartment. While this is not a new ritual for me, as a third-year college student, saying goodbye this year was immensely harder than any other year. And I am not unique in feeling this way.

Students have witnessed an unprecedented level of illness and death since last stepping on campus. In the U.S. alone, there have been over 5 million cases of COVID-19 and some 162,000 deaths. A time of year that usually calls for great celebration now also brings a silent sadness to each goodbye.

Students are leaving home knowing coronavirus cases will undoubtedly continue to rise over the fall semester. More seriously, families are parting ways with an awareness that they cannot protect each other from becoming ill. No one knows what will occur over these next few months. No one can guarantee a happy family reunion.

Students are saying goodbye to mothers who are nurses fighting daily for the lives of others, to fathers who are teachers about to return to the classroom, to sisters who are have an auto-immune disorder that makes them vulnerable to COVID-19, to brothers who are struggling with their mental health amid such hopeless and uncertain times, and to grandparents who stand little chance against the virus.

Nothing about this is easy.

Read the full article from contributor Kaitlyn Schatteman.


7:24 p.m. Pritzker defends proposed changes to mask rules as state sees 1,382 new COVID-19 cases, 8 more deaths

Virus_Outbreak_Illinois__2_.jpg

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker answers questions from the media after he unveiled a new mask awareness campaign called “It Only Works If You Wear It” during a press conference at the IEMA State Emergency Operations Center, Monday, August 3, 2020, in Springfield, Ill.

AP Photos

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Sunday defended his proposed new rules for “modest” changes to the way the current statewide mask mandate is enforced, saying politicians shouldn’t use a public health crisis for political gain.

The new emergency rules, which were filed Friday by the Illinois Department of Public Health, offer local officials more leeway to give out warnings before fining businesses that don’t follow the state’s public masking and social distancing guidelines.

Pritzker, who was joined Sunday by a group of doctors and public health officials who shared support for his proposed new emergency rules, said he believes the rules are “fair.”

Pritzker, who was joined Sunday by a group of doctors and public health officials who shared support for his proposed new emergency rules, said he believes the rules are “fair.”

“Many, many businesses are doing the right thing, but it’s not fair to those businesses when their competitors are not doing the right thing,” Pritzker said. “And so, we think it’s fair to hold everybody accountable, to hold everybody to the same standard and we’re doing it in a way that should allow businesses to get it right.”

Pritzker said having rules requiring masks and proper social distancing makes “common sense.” But his new rule changes were met with some opposition.

Read more from Madeline Kenney here.


5:47 p.m. Illinois sees only one new COVID-19 death, but daily caseload again tops 1,000

State health officials on Monday announced 1,319 new coronavirus cases and one additional death.

It’s the 20th straight day of four-digit daily caseloads, but only the second day since late March with just one additional fatality, a woman in her 90s from downstate Cumberland County.

The daily case count has mostly fluctuated between 1,000 and 2,000 in the last four weeks — an uptick from a string of days in June and early July when daily case counts were mostly in the hundreds.

The daily count rose over 2,000 in Illinois for two consecutive days on Friday and Saturday.

But the last time Illinois recorded only a single additional COVID-19 death was on July 26.

Reporter Mitch Dudek has the full story.

3:33 p.m. U.S. job market paints a mixed picture as employers post more jobs in June and pull back on hiring

WASHINGTON — U.S. employers advertised more jobs in June compared with the previous month, but overall hiring fell, painting a mixed picture of the job market.

The number of jobs posted on the last day in June jumped 9.6% to 5.9 million, the Labor Department said Monday, a solid gain but still below the pre-pandemic level of about 7 million. And employers hired 6.7 million people in June, down from 7.2 million in May, a record high.

The figures suggest that restaurants, bars, retail shops, and entertainment venues — businesses that were subject to shutdown orders in April — continued to bring back workers at a healthy pace. Job openings in those industries also rose.

But outside those categories, employers remain reluctant to bring on new workers, a trend that could weigh on the economy in the coming months. Hiring slowed sharply in manufacturing, construction, and health care services in June.

Read the full story here.

12:59 p.m. Antonio Banderas says he’s doing relatively well after testing positive for COVID-19

NEW YORK — Antonio Banderas says he’s tested positive for COVID-19 and is celebrating his 60th birthday in quarantine.

The Spanish actor announced his positive test in a post Monday on Instagram. Banderas said he would spend his time in isolation reading, writing and “making plans to begin to give meaning to my 60th year to which I arrive full of enthusiasm.”

“I would like to add that I am relatively well, just a little more tired than usual and hoping to recover as soon as possible following medical instructions that I hope will allow me to overcome the infection that I and so many people in the world are suffering from,” wrote Banderas.

Read the full story here.

11:58 a.m. Nearly 50 U.S. health officials have quit or been fired since April

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Vilified, threatened with violence and in some cases burned out, dozens of state and local public health officials around the country have resigned or have been fired amid the coronavirus outbreak, a testament to how politically combustible masks, lockdowns and infection data have become.

The latest departure came Sunday, when California’s public health director, Dr. Sonia Angell, quit without explanation following a technical glitch that caused a delay in reporting virus test results — information that was used to make decisions about reopening businesses and schools.

Last week, New York City’s health commissioner was replaced after months of tension with the Police Department and City Hall.

A review by the Kaiser Health News service and The Associated Press finds at least 48 state and local health leaders have resigned, retired or been fired since April across 23 states. The list has grown by more than 20 people since the AP and KHN began tracking departures in June.

As of Monday, confirmed infections in the United States stood at over 5 million, with deaths topping 163,000, the highest in the world.

Read the full story here.

9:15 a.m. State officials question how they can afford additional payments under Trump’s unemployment plan

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Whether President Donald Trump has the constitutional authority to extend federal unemployment benefits by executive order remains unclear. Equally up in the air is whether states, which are necessary partners in Trump’s plan to bypass Congress, will sign on.

Trump announced an executive order Saturday that extends additional unemployment payments of $400 a week to help cushion the economic fallout of the pandemic. Congress had approved payments of $600 a week at the outset of the coronavirus outbreak, but those benefits expired Aug. 1 and Congress has been unable to agree on an extension. Many Republicans have expressed concern that a $600 weekly benefit, on top of existing state benefits, gives people an incentive to stay unemployed.

But under Trump’s plan, the $400 a week requires a state to commit to providing $100.

Many states are already facing budget crunches caused by the pandemic. Asked at a news conference how many governors had signed on to participate, Trump answered: “If they don’t, they don’t. That’s up to them.”

Read the full story here.


New Cases


Analysis & Commentary

9:20 a.m. Democratic convention preview: Illinois Democrats virtual at-home program; delegates still get swag

The Democratic COVID-19 pandemic virtual convention kicks off next Monday, a pure television and social media prime-time event with the Democratic Party of Illinois producing its own 90-minute daily pre-convention online program, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

In past conventions, the Illinois delegation huddled at breakfast meetings, where state and local political intrigue was dished up with the high-calorie buffet while lobbyists, operatives, donors, elected and appointed officials plus reporters lurked in the background.

A byproduct of the pandemic is that the political drama that has been a staple of in-person Illinois delegation morning meetings is less likely to take place in 2020. In 2016 in Philadelphia, then-Democratic governor potential candidate Chris Kennedy, after delivering a great speech to the delegation, cut into his success when reporters memorably chased him into an elevator wanting to know if he really was going to run. The spectacle was televised back home in Illinois.

In 2020, the 182 delegates and 13 alternates from Illinois, instead of heading north to Milwaukee, will caucus each day starting at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom or some other platform until the convention starts at 8 p.m.

Read more from Lynn Sweet here.

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