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Coronavirus live blog, Oct. 6, 2020: Hoosier hiatus? Chicagoans ‘strongly advised’ to avoid Indiana as Illinois adds 1,617 more coronavirus cases

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

Any trips to be made to Indiana should be made in the next week. The state is close to being added to Chicago’s quarantine travel list.

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


News

8:55 p.m. Hoosier hiatus? Chicagoans ‘strongly advised’ to avoid Indiana as Illinois adds 1,617 more coronavirus cases

Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

As Illinois reported another set of relatively low coronavirus infection numbers Tuesday, Chicago officials urged residents to avoid visiting Indiana as cases tick up in that state.

Adding COVID-19 cases at an average rate of 17 per 100,000 residents each day, the Hoosier State is on the city’s warning list for now — but it will land on the travel quarantine list if Indiana is “unable to bring down the daily case average in the next week,” according to the city Department of Public Health.

“Chicago residents are strongly advised to not travel to Indiana,” agency officials said in a statement.

Still, Illinois has logged infections at a similar clip — 16 new cases per 100,000 residents per day — meeting the city’s own criteria for the quarantine order that currently applies to 22 “hot spot” states plus Puerto Rico.

But Chicago’s infection rates have slowed considerably compared to most of the rest of Illinois.

Reporter Mitch Armentrout has the full report.


6:30 p.m. Stephen Miller, top Trump aide, test positive for coronavirus

WASHINGTON — Stephen Miller, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and speechwriter, tested positive for the coronavirus Tuesday.

A senior administration official said Miller had previously tested negative as White House officials have tried to contain an outbreak on the complex that has infected Trump, the first lady and more than a dozen other aides and associates.

Read the full report here.

2:30 p.m. Lightfoot gives up on budget help from D.C.: ‘We have to fix this ourselves’

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday she has given up hope that Congress will bail Chicago out of a $1.2 billion shortfall and said she is determined to “fix it ourselves,” in part, with $200 million in savings from organized labor.

One day after delaying her budget address until Oct. 21 to give Congress more time to ride to the rescue, Lightfoot declared Republicans and Democrats in Congress had “shirked their responsibility” to address the “catastrophic effect” the pandemic has had on the economy of Chicago and other major cities.

With Chicago now forced to fend for itself, Lightfoot said she has no choice but to make the painful choices that will cause yet another disruption to the lives of city employees, business owners and everyday taxpayers.

That means layoffs, pay cuts, furlough days or a combination of all three as well as the massive property tax increase she has tried to desperately to avoid.

Reporter Fran Spielman has the full report.

10:05 a.m. Trump returns to the White House, maskless and still infectious

President Trump Arrives Back At White House After Stay At Walter Reed Medical Center For Covid
U.S. President Donald Trump removes his mask upon return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump spent three days hospitalized for coronavirus.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Donald Trump staged a dramatic return to the White House Monday night after leaving the military hospital where he was receiving an unprecedented level of care for COVID-19. He immediately ignited a new controversy by declaring that despite his illness the nation should not fear the virus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans — and then he entered the White House without a protective mask.

Trump’s message alarmed infectious disease experts and suggested the president’s own illness had not caused him to rethink his often-cavalier attitude toward the disease, which has also infected the first lady and several White House aides, including new cases revealed Monday.

Landing at the White House on Marine One, Trump gingerly climbed the South Portico steps, removed his mask and declared, “I feel good.” He gave a double thumbs-up to the departing helicopter from the portico terrace, where aides had arranged American flags for the sunset occasion. He entered the White House, where aides were visible milling about the Blue Room, without wearing a face covering.

Read the full report here.


7:43 a.m. Coronavirus can spread indoors, infect people beyond 6 feet: CDC

The top U.S. public health agency said Monday that the coronavirus can spread more than 6 feet through the air, especially in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials maintained that such spread is uncommon and current social distancing guidelines still make sense.

However, several experts faulted the updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. They said the virus can spread more easily than the CDC seems to be indicating, and suggested that the public should wear masks even in prolonged outdoor gatherings when they are more than 6 feet apart.

The virus “is traveling through the air and there is no bright line. You’re not safe beyond 6 feet. You can’t take your mask off at 6 feet,” said Dr. Donald Milton of the University of Maryland School of Public Health.

Read the full report here.


New cases

State health officials Monday announced 1,853 new coronavirus cases and 14 additional deaths.

The new infections, which brought the state’s total to 303,394 cases, were found among the latest batch of 38,538 tests reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health, raising the state’s seven-day positivity rate — a figure experts use to gauge how rapidly the virus is spreading — to 3.4% from 3.3%.


Analysis & Commentary

8:14 a.m. Let’s hope Trump’s health crisis sparks him to do more to fight COVID-19

I join those who pray for the full recovery of President Trump and the first lady. Whatever your politics or your religious beliefs, all of us should pray for the millions who have been afflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

That the pandemic could strike the president, so carefully protected and frequently tested in the White House, demonstrates its dangerous potency. As we pray for his full recovery, we hope that he will emerge from this crisis with a new awareness: teaching and practicing compliance, not defiance, of medical science, and adherence to, not avoidance of, safety protocols.

If all of us were to take heed and follow the instructions to wear masks, keep social distance and wash our hands regularly, an estimated 200,000 lives could be saved in the next few months. If the president learns from his illness and warns Americans to take this seriously, it could surely help reduce unnecessary deaths.

Read the full column from Lorraine Forte here.