Illinois is almost certainly in for a long winter. The state hit a record number of new daily coronavirus cases, and new restrictions may be coming soon.
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic in Illinois.
8:55 p.m. Coronavirus peak nowhere in sight as Illinois smashes record again with 12,623 new cases
Illinois’ skyrocketing COVID-19 resurgence showed no signs of letting up Tuesday as public health officials announced another record-breaking total of 12,623 probable and confirmed cases of the virus statewide.
That’s 185 more cases than the previous record set Saturday, while daily case tallies have now been measured in five digits for an unprecedented five consecutive days.
The state has already added more than 93,000 COVID-19 cases over the first 10 days of November, compared to 117,000 during all of October when the virus began trending upward once again following an apparent summer lull.
7:14 p.m. U.S. surpasses 1 million new confirmed coronavirus cases in first 10 days of November
NEW YORK — The U.S. has surpassed 1 million new confirmed coronavirus cases in just the first 10 days of November, with more than 100,000 infections each day becoming the norm in a surge that shows no signs of slowing.
The 1 million milestone came as governors across the nation are making increasingly desperate pleas with the public to take the fight against the virus more seriously. The Wisconsin governor planned to take the unusual step of delivering a live address to the state Tuesday, urging unity and cooperation to fight COVID-19.
Minnesota’s governor ordered bars and restaurants to close at 10 p.m., and Iowa’s governor said she will require masks at indoor gatherings of 25 or more people, inching toward more stringent measures after months of holding out.
The alarming wave of cases across the U.S. looks bigger and is more widespread than the surges that happened in the spring, mainly in the Northeast, and then in the summer, primarily in the Sun Belt. But experts say there are also reasons to think the nation is better able to deal with the virus this time around.
5:09 p.m. Chicago Federation of Labor serves up $272 million in cost-cutting options to avert pandemic-related layoffs
The Chicago Federation of Labor on Tuesday served up a cost-cutting smorgasbord with potential to save up to $272 million — more than enough to avert the need for layoffs and, possibly, a $94 million property tax increase.
In 2011, the CFL asked Pennsylvania-based Public Works to find alternatives to then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s ultimatum that organized labor choose between work-rule changes and 625 layoffs.
Their report suggested ways to cut the city budget by $242 million, largely by eliminating redundant layers of middle management, improving efficiency and having city employees do work that was being doled out to politically connected contractors.
Now the same firm has a proposal that could save at least $195 million and as much as $272 million.
All the ideas represent “recurring, long-term structural improvements,” though some are only “partial-year savings to allow realistic time for implementation.”
12:52 p.m. Social gathering restrictions tightened in some suburbs
As COVID-19 continues to spread at a startling rate in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday announced that suburbs to the south and west of Cook County, as well as part of southern Illinois, will face tighter restrictions beginning Wednesday.
Restrictions include a prohibition of gatherings of more than 10 people for both indoor and outdoor spaces and a six-per-party limit for outdoor restaurant and bar service.
The southern suburbs are in Will and Kankakee counties, which make up Region 7 on the state’s COVID map. The western suburbs are in Kane and DuPage counties, known as Region 8. The state’s southern tip is Region 5.
The announcement came as state health officials announced 10,573 new coronavirus cases, marking the fourth consecutive day Illinois has recorded a five-figure caseload.
“As the weather turns cooler and more activity is driven inside, we may have a real problem on our hands,” Pritzker said.
12:49 p.m. Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm might not be able to reopen till next summer because of COVID-19
California’s most popular amusement park has become the focal point of a struggle over how best to contain COVID-19 while keeping the economy afloat.
California’s Democratic Party leaders have tied the fate of Disneyland — “the Happiest Place on Earth” — to the health of the people who live around it, who have been hit hard by the virus.
But conservative Orange County officials want to ease restrictions to allow for the reopening of the lucrative tourist attraction, saying the economic health of all residents depends on it.
State rules in California say large theme parks can’t open, even with a limited capacity, until there’s less than one new case per day per 100,000 county residents.
The state also requires counties to lower infection rates in their poorest communities to close to the average level of the county overall. In Orange County, as in the rest of the state, Latinos have borne the brunt of coronavirus infections and deaths.
Under these requirements, Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, another big county amusement park, will likely remain shut down until next summer or later, said Dr. Clayton Chau, director of the Orange County Health Care Agency.
Orange County supervisors argue that it’s not feasible to quickly address the socioeconomic factors — including poverty and crowded housing — that cause some communities to have higher COVID positivity rates and that the whole county shouldn’t be punished because of that.
“If we have disadvantaged communities that are, because … of living conditions and other circumstances, damaged significantly by the virus, why must we thus visit the pain of the lockdown and shutdown on the children in other communities?” Supervisor Donald Wagner — who represents prosperous Anaheim Hills, Irvine and Orange, which have low positivity rates — said at a meeting last month.
12:05 p.m. Supreme Court appears likely to leave to Affordable Care Act in place
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court seemed likely Tuesday to leave in place the bulk of the Affordable Care Act, including key protections for preexisting health conditions and subsidized insurance premiums that affect tens of millions of Americans.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, among the conservative justices, appeared in two hours of arguments to be unwilling to strike down the entire law — a long-held Republican goal that has repeatedly failed in Congress and the courts — even if they were to find the law’s now-toothless mandate for obtaining health insurance to be unconstitutional.
The court’s three liberal justices are almost certain to vote to uphold the law in its entirety and presumably would form a majority by joining a decision that cut away only the mandate, which now has no financial penalty attached to it. Congress zeroed out the penalty in 2017, but left the rest of the law untouched.
“Would Congress want the rest of the law to survive if the unconstitutional provision were severed? Here, Congress left the rest of the law intact,” Roberts said. “That seems to be a compelling answer to the question.”
For his part, Kavanaugh said recent decisions by the court suggest “that the proper remedy would be to sever the mandate and leave the rest of the act in place.”
A week after the 2020 election, the justices heard arguments by telephone in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic in the court’s third major case over the 10-year-old law, popularly known as “Obamacare.” Republican attorneys general in 18 states and the administration want the whole law to be struck down, which would threaten coverage for more than 23 million people.
11:59 a.m. Star-studded virtual benefit concert will honor nurses on Thanksgiving Day
LOS ANGELES — Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan will be among the entertainers honoring nurses in a star-studded benefit virtual concert on Thanksgiving.
Nurse Heroes announced Tuesday that the concert called Nurse Heroes Live will stream on the organization’s YouTube channel and Facebook page along with LiveXLive at 6 p.m. Nov. 26. The benefit will provide money for a variety of programs including scholarships for nurses and their children.
Whoopi Goldberg will host the concert with special appearances by Oprah Winfrey and Billy Crystal.
10:19 a.m. NBA, players union agree to start season on Dec. 22
It’s official: The NBA is coming back Dec. 22.
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced Monday night that they’ve struck a deal on rules for this coming season, setting the stage for what will be a frenzied few weeks before games resume.
Teams will play a 72-game schedule, which will be revealed in the coming weeks. The league said a new system will be used to ensure that the split of basketball-related income continues, one of the many details that had to be collectively bargained with the union because the current agreement between the sides had a great deal of language that needed reworking because of the coronavirus pandemic.
8:32 a.m. Biden win makes fed help for Chicago more likely, top mayoral aides say
Top mayoral aides said Monday they’re more hopeful than ever that pandemic-ravaged Chicago will receive replacement revenue from Washington, now that Joe Biden has defeated President Donald Trump.
Chief Financial Officer Jennie Huang Bennett and Budget Director Susie Park said they have no idea when Congress will ride to the rescue, how much money Chicago stands to receive or what strings might be attached to a second stimulus package.
But both women told the City Club of Chicago they believe Biden’s victory makes it more likely that Chicago will receive another windfall of federal funding to replace a healthy chunk of the $886 million in revenues lost to the coronavirus this year and the projected, $783 million in losses next year.
“We’re very hopeful for additional federal funding. … With President Biden, it will be more likely that we see increased pressure for funding for states and municipalities,” Bennett said.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced Monday that he has tested positive for coronavirus.
- A staff member in the office of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has tested positive for the coronavirus, her office announced Sunday.
- Two more Cook County judges have tested positive for the coronavirus.
- Gov. J.B. Pritzker tested negative for the virus, his office announced Saturday.
Analysis & Commentary
10:05 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.
7:42 a.m. News of a promising COVID-19 vaccine is thrilling, but we can’t let down our guard
Americans woke up Monday to the terrific news that a safe and highly effective vaccine against COVID-19 may well be closer than ever.
The potential for a vaccine that is perhaps 90% effective against coronavirus infection was especially welcome on the day after our country reached a terrible milestone: 10 million coronavirus cases.
It was cause for celebration, just as America celebrated the election of a new president who will take the pandemic seriously and develop a plan to rein it in.
But while America welcomes the news, the country cannot let down its guard.