Coronavirus live blog, Jan. 13, 2021: Illinois administers about 25,409 coronavirus vaccine doses each day over the last week

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

SHARE Coronavirus live blog, Jan. 13, 2021: Illinois administers about 25,409 coronavirus vaccine doses each day over the last week

Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. hit another one-day high at over 4,300 with the country’s attention focused largely on the fallout from the deadly uprising at the Capitol.

Here’s what happened in Chicago and around Illinois as the coronavirus pandemic continued.


8:59 p.m. Nearly 400K Illinoisans have gotten COVID-19 vaccine shots, but only 83K are fully protected so far

Barbara Shields-Johnson, director of Nursing Services at Loretto Hospital, gets her final dose of COVID-19 vaccine at Norwegian American Hospital in January.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

A total of 384,658 coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered across the state since the first shots went into Illinois arms last month.

That includes just over 83,000 people who have been fully vaccinated with the required two doses, according to the latest data released Wednesday by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Nearly 74,000 doses have been administered in Chicago, with 16,406 people fully vaccinated. In suburban Cook County, 70,201 shots have been given, including 16,653 people who have gotten both doses.

On average, about 25,409 doses have been administered each day across the state over the last week.

Read the full story here.

7:59 p.m. Here’s how to get more information on COVID vaccines in your county

Illinois has been following a phased plan to distribute available COVID-19 vaccine doses since the first vaccine was approved on Dec. 11. So far, the FDA has approved the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, and the one developed by Moderna.

The state’s distribution plan aligned with federal guidelines for prioritizing healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities. Governor Pritzker announced on Jan. 6 that the state would break with federal guidelines and begin vaccinating residents over the age of 65. Federal recommendations have since been updated to include people over 65.

Illinois’ plan contains two phases, which are broken down into sub-phases based on supply and who is eligible for a shot. Phase 1, when there remains a limited supply of doses available, contains sub-phases 1a, 1b, and 1c.

The first vaccine shipment arrived in Illinois on Dec. 14, and phase 1a began the next day with vaccinations of healthcare workers across the state.

Reporter Caroline Hurley has the full story.

3:51 p.m. Essential workers, 360K residents over 65 could face long wait for COVID vaccines, top Chicago health official says


Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, speaks to reporters at Dawes Elementary School at 3810 W. 81st Pl. on the Southwest Side, Monday morning, Jan. 11, 2021.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Chicago is at least a month or two away from vaccinating essential workers for COVID-19 and initially there won’t be nearly enough shots for the large group that includes teachers, police, grocery store employees, manufacturing workers and others, the city’s top health official said.

Dr. Allison Arwady said Tuesday that the city continues to focus on vaccinating as many health care workers both in and outside hospitals as well as nursing home patients and workers.

Next in line will be people 65 and older and essential workers. Arwady warned that the next priority groups will be so large that getting through vaccinations will take time even as the federal government promised to release more shots.

“There is not going to be enough vaccine for everybody right off the bat,” Arwady said, noting that the city is receiving up to 33,000 vaccine doses a week. “We have 360,000 Chicago residents over the age of 65 and we have hundreds of thousands of essential workers who have been in that prioritization group.”

Read the full story here.

2:15 p.m. US COVID-19 deaths hit another one-day high at over 4,300

Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. hit another one-day high at over 4,300 with the country’s attention focused largely on the fallout from the deadly uprising at the Capitol.

The nation’s overall death toll from COVID-19 has eclipsed 380,000, according to Johns Hopkins University, and is closing in fast on the number of Americans killed in World War II, or about 407,000. Confirmed infections have topped 22.8 million.

With the country simultaneously facing a political crisis and on edge over threats of more violence from far-right extremists, the U.S. recorded 4,327 deaths on Tuesday by Johns Hopkins’ count. Arizona and California have been among the hardest-hit states.

The daily figure is subject to revision, but deaths have been rising sharply over the past 2 1/2 months, and the country is now in the most lethal phase of the outbreak yet, even as the vaccine is being rolled out. New cases are running at nearly a quarter-million per day on average.

More than 9.3 million Americans have received their first shot of the vaccine, or less than 3% of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is well short of the hundreds of millions who experts say will need to be inoculated to vanquish the outbreak.

Read the full story here.

12:24 p.m. Turkey approves China-based Sinovac vaccine’s emergency use

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish authorities gave the go-ahead for the emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. on Wednesday, paving the way for the rollout for Turkey’s vaccination program starting with health care workers and other high-risk groups.

The country’s health minister and members of the country’s scientific advisory council received the first shots live on television, soon after the health regulatory authority, the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency, announced it had given its approval for CoronaVac’s emergency use in the country of 83 million.

“I had previously said that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” Koca said as he received the first dose of the vaccine, which will be delivered in two doses. “I believe that the days ahead of us will be bright.”

Read the full story here.

11:48 a.m. Locked-out CPS employees teach outside home of Chicago Board of Education president

Wrapped in blankets and hunched over laptops, a handful of locked-out Chicago Public Schools teachers set up their remote classrooms outside the Belmont Cragin home of Chicago Board of Education President Miguel del Valle Wednesday morning.

A few minutes before, they’d knocked on del Valle’s front door, but there was no answer.

“He has the power to call a meeting, he has the power to speak to the mayor. He has the mayor’s ear,” said Quetzalli Castro, a seventh-grade teacher at the nearby Prieto Math and Science Academy.

Castro was there to support about 150 CPS employees district-wide who didn’t show up at their schools Monday as required, and were subsequently locked out of their CPS Google Classroom accounts and told they wouldn’t be paid. Teachers refusing to return to classrooms have complained the district’s plan to restart schools in the midst of a pandemic is confusing, inadequate and potentially dangerous.

“I’m frustrated, I’m angry, I’m sad,” said Brian Yuhas, a locked-out special education teacher at Uplift Community High School in the Uptown neighborhood.

Read the full story from Stefano Esposito here.

9:33 a.m. Restaurant owners want city to pressure Pritzker on partially restoring indoor dining

Two and a half months into the city’s latest indoor dining ban, the Chicago Restaurants Coalition called on Mayor Lori Lightfoot and all 50 aldermen to pressure Gov. J.B. Pritzker on partially reopening restaurants.

Restaurant owners, caterers and long-time residents made their case Tuesday for restoring indoor dining at 20% capacity by Jan. 29. Roger Romanelli, the coalition’s coordinator, cited a joint Northwestern University and Stanford University study, which found capping indoor dining at 20% reduces the number of new infections by more than 80% compared to fully reopening.

“Is this not the moment to understand that indoor dining is not responsible for the spread?” Romanelli asked at an outdoor news conference on the Near West Side. “We cannot burden our restaurants to wait.”

Pritzker has demanded the city reduce its COVID-19 positivity rate to 6.5% before reopening restaurants, but the rolling average has remained above 8% since the shutdown. With “no end in sight,” Romanelli said city restaurants cannot keep waiting for the positivity rate to hit Pritzker’s threshold.

Read the full story here.

New cases

Analysis & Commentary

9:36 a.m. Democratic Rep. Schneider tests positive for COVID-19, slams GOP colleagues who refused to wear masks during Capitol attack

WASHINGTON — After Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., announced Tuesday he tested positive for COVID-19 - becoming the third lawmaker possibly exposed after being in a safe room with Republicans who refused to wear masks during the Capitol siege — new House rules were imposed cracking down on unmasked members.

Schneider, who said he was asymptomatic, spoke to reporters from his Deerfield basement, where, for the time being, he is in “strict isolation” worried about the health of his wife, Julie.

He told reporters during a Zoom press conference he was “angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers, who put their own contempt and disregard of decency ahead of the health and safety of their colleagues and our staff.”

Before his diagnosis, Schneider was so cautious that, to avoid crowds at an airport and on a plane, he has been driving to Washington from his north suburban home.

Schneider is not totally sure how he got infected. He does make “pit stops” on his marathon drives, but overall is careful. He received a COVID-19 vaccination on Jan. 4, but it takes some time to achieve immunity plus a second dose.

Read the full column from Lynn Sweet here.

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