1:34 p.m. With 150,000 more appointments opening to all 16 and over next week, Pritzker urges Chicagoans to hit the suburbs
COVID-19 vaccine providers will open 150,000 appointments across the Chicago suburbs next week when eligibility expands to all Illinois residents 16 or older, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday.
Chicago residents can snap up some of those suburban slots since the city won’t make adult vaccine eligibility universal until April 19 — and they’re “absolutely” encouraged to do so, as the entire state faces a third coronavirus surge, Pritzker said.
“We now need to get as many shots into arms as quickly as we possibly can,” the governor said at a west suburban Forest Park mass vaccination site. “We’re reserving some vaccine to make sure we’re targeting particularly vulnerable groups that aren’t fully vaccinated yet, but right now we just want people to show up and get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“I want to make sure that people in Chicago know that they are welcome to sign up for our mass vaccination sites,” Pritzker said.
1:29 p.m. US jobless claims up to 744K as COVID-19 still forces layoffs
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week to 744,000, signaling that many employers are still cutting jobs even as more people are vaccinated against COVID-19, consumers gain confidence and the government distributes aid throughout the economy.
The Labor Department said Thursday that applications increased by 16,000 from 728,000 a week earlier. Jobless claims have declined sharply since the virus slammed into the economy in March of last year. But they remain stubbornly high by historical standards: Before the pandemic erupted, weekly applications typically remained below 220,000 a week.
For the week ending March 27, more than 3.7 million people were receiving traditional state unemployment benefits, the government said. If you include supplemental federal programs that were established last year to help the unemployed endure the health crisis, a total of 18.2 million are receiving some form of jobless aid the week of March 20.
8:43 a.m. Chronic stress: Your body is trying to tell you something. What you can do.
Think of them as warning signs that something isn’t right: Maybe you’re not sleeping well or getting more headaches. Or have no appetite and bouts of nausea.
Stress isn’t just a state of mind. It’s something that can create chaos in your body. Poor physical health often can signal poor mental health.
“A lot of times, our body is trying to communicate to us when we’re not in a good spot,” says Vaile Wright, senior director of health care innovation for the American Psychological Association.
The group’s 2020 Stress in America survey found Americans have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as political polarization and racial discrimination. The survey found 80% of U.S. adults say the coronavirus pandemic is a significant source of stress in their life, and 60% said the various issues America faces are overwhelming.
New cases & vaccination numbers
- Illinois public health officials on Wednesday reported 3,790 new cases of COVID-19, the highest number of infections confirmed in a single day since late January — and the latest red flag of a statewide resurgence.
- Since March 12, Illinois’ seven-day average statewide testing positivity rate has ballooned from 2.1% up to 4.1% — its highest point since Jan. 29.
- The state reported 28 more deaths Wednesday, including a Cook County man in his 30s. On average, 18 residents are dying with the virus each day.
- With 9139,724 COVID-19 vaccinations administered Tuesday, about 2.5 million residents have been fully immunized so far.
Commentary & Analysis
Secret proof of UFOs banning all vaccines
“Walgreens,” observed the medical technician at a CVS in Franklin Park Tuesday, reading the vaccine card I handed him as I sat down behind the little blue screen and bared my upper right arm.
Busted, patronizing the competition. I hadn’t considered the Cubs vs. Sox, Field’s vs. Carson’s aspect of crossing from Walgreens to rival CVS for my second dose of COVID vaccine. My older son, who set up my first appointment in Springfield, shifted the second to Franklin Park. Considerate boy.
Not only a far shorter drive, but by changing, the doses were now the proper three weeks apart. Turns out Walgreens was giving the Pfizer shots a month apart, because it was easier for them to schedule. Until they were called on it and stopped.
Considering an employee of CVS was about to jab a needle in my arm, an explanation seemed in order.
“I actually prefer CVS,” I said. “Because of Nicholson Baker’s, ‘The Mezzanine.’ A man breaks his shoelace and goes to a CVS to buy a new one. That’s the entire plot of the novel ...”
I tend to babble when being given a shot. (“Annnnnnd...” my wife thinks, reading this, smiling sardonically, “when NOT being given a shot ...”)
As this was happening — I didn’t even feel the needle — Vice President Kamala Harris was in Chicago, imploring “those who have received the vaccine” to “please tell all your friends and aunties and uncles and grandparents and kids” to get vaccinated.