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Coronavirus live blog, Nov. 9, 2020: Illinois reports 4th straight day with 10,000-plus COVID-19 cases

Here’s Monday’s news on how COVID-19 is impacting Chicago and Illinois. Follow here for live updates.

Illinois saw it’s fourth straight day of 10,000-plus new coronavirus cases, but the announcement of Joe Biden as the next president brought a new hope of funding to Chicago officials.

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


News

8:54 p.m. Fourth day in a row for 10,000-plus new coronavirus cases in Illinois

People sit outside in Lady Gregory’s Irish Var & Restaurant’s outdoor dining area in the Andersonville neighborhood, as in person dining was banned in Chicago amid growing Coronavirus infections, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

State health officials announced 10,573 new coronavirus cases Monday, marking the fourth consecutive day Illinois has recorded a five-figure caseload.

The Illinois Department of Public Health also reported 14 coronavirus-related deaths.

Illinois is averaging about 9,710 new infections each day this month, up sharply from October’s daily average of 3,777.

The new infections, which brings the state’s total to 498,560 cases over the past nine months, were detected among the latest batch of 64,760 tests reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The seven-day average testing positivity rate was 11.4% — up from 8% about a week ago.

The 14 deaths announced Monday raised the total in the state to 10,210 deaths. Of the fatalities, two were under the age of 60.

The recovery rate for Illinois coronavirus patients is 97%. Most people who contract it show mild or no symptoms.

Read the full story here.


4:15 p.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.

Read the full story here.

3:27 p.m. Chicago residents oppose return to in-person learning until pandemic is under control, CTU says

As Chicago Public Schools prepares a gradual return to the classroom for some students, a majority of city residents say CPS should hold off until the coronavirus is under control, a Chicago Teachers Union survey has found.

The survey, conducted in late October and paid for by the teachers union, found 72% of 500 “likely 2023 municipal voters” agreed that public schools should not reopen for in-person learning, while 22% disagreed. The survey was administered by the Washington, D.C.,-based Lake Research Partners.

“The thing that we continue to say is that safety has to be a priority in the middle of a deadly, global pandemic,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said during a Facebook Live event Monday morning.

Union leaders say while they’ve met repeatedly with administrators to discuss how best to deliver remote learning and how to safely reopen schools, they’ve agreed on almost nothing. The union this week sent a letter to CPS requesting an independent mediator be brought in to help move negotiations along.

Read the full story here.

2:32 p.m. Ukraine’s president tests positive for COVID-19

MOSCOW — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced Monday that he has tested positive for coronavirus infection and will be working in self-isolation while being treated.

“There are no lucky people in the world for whom COVID-19 does not pose a threat,” Zelenskiy said on Twitter. “However, I feel good. I promise to isolate myself and I continue to work.”

Zelenkiy said he was running a temperature of 37.5 Celsius (99.5 Fahrenheit).

The 42-year-old Zelenskiy became president in 2019 as a political neophyte, previously known as an actor and comedian. He became popular in the country for a TV sitcom, “Servant of the People,” in which he played the role of a teacher who unexpectedly becomes president after making a rant about corruption that goes viral. He handily defeated incumbent Petro Poroshenko.

Read the full story here.

1:18 p.m. U.S. hits 10 million confirmed coronavirus cases

WASHINGTON — The U.S. has confirmed more than 10 million coronavirus cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, as infections continue to rise in nearly every state.

The U.S. hit the milestone on Monday.

New daily confirmed cases are up more than 60% over the past two weeks, to an average of nearly 109,000 a day. Average daily cases are on the rise in 48 states.

Read the full story here.

12:50 p.m. Notre Dame will require COVID-19 testing for students after football celebration

INDIANAPOLIS — The University of Notre Dame has implemented mandatory coronavirus testing for students and strict penalties for those who don’t comply after students rushed the school’s football field to celebrate a double-overtime upset over Clemson and held numerous weekend parties.

The mass of students, players and coaches crammed close together on the field in the minutes following the Fighting Irish’s 47-40 win Saturday night in South Bend over then-No. 1 Clemson. Many of the thousands who stormed the field were not wearing masks or had their masks pulled down.

Now, all Notre Dame students are required to undergo coronavirus testing before they leave South Bend for the extended winter break, Notre Dame President the Rev. John Jenkins told students Sunday night. The email announcement didn’t specifically reference the storming of the field, but rather “many gatherings” over the weekend.

Read the full story here.

12:30 p.m. Biden implores Americans to wear masks amid vaccine progress

WILMINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden on Monday implored Americans to wear masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus, even as he cheered news about the promising development of a vaccine being developed by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

Biden in remarks after meeting with his newly formed coronavirus advisory board cautioned that Americans still face “a dark winter” and need to be aggressive about mask wearing and social distancing as infections continue to surge around the country. Though Pfizer announced promising results from a vaccine trial and is on track to file an emergency use application with regulators this month, Biden noted it could be months before a vaccine is widely available.

“We could save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next few months. Not Democratic or Republican lives, American lives,” Biden said. “Please, I implore you, wear a mask.”

The Democrat’s transition team also unveiled members of Biden’s coronavirus working group tasked with developing his administration’s pandemic response — something Biden says he wants to put in motion as soon as he takes office in January.

Read the full story here.

12:20 p.m. Pfizer vaccine in development could file for regulator review before end of November

Pfizer says an early peek at its vaccine data suggests the shots may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19, indicating the company is on track later this month to file an emergency use application with U.S. regulators.

Monday’s announcement doesn’t mean a vaccine is imminent: This interim analysis, from an independent data monitoring board, looked at 94 infections recorded so far in a study that has enrolled nearly 44,000 people in the U.S. and five other countries.

Pfizer Inc. did not provide any more details about those cases, and cautioned the initial protection rate might change by the time the study ends. Even revealing such early data is highly unusual.

“We’re in a position potentially to be able to offer some hope,” Dr. Bill Gruber, Pfizer’s senior vice president of clinical development, told The Associated Press. “We’re very encouraged.”

Read the full report here.

11:58 a.m. HUD Secretary Ben Carson tests positive for coronavirus

WASHINGTON – HUD Secretary Ben Carson has tested positive for coronavirus.

Trump campaign’s election night watch party in the White House East Room — with few masks and no social distancing — is being eyed as a potential coronavirus super-spreading event and yet another symbol of President Donald Trump’s cavalier attitude toward a virus that is ripping across the nation and infecting more than 100,000 people a day.

Carson is the latest attendee to test positive, a department spokesman confirmed. The event has been under scrutiny since another attendee, the president’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, contracted the virus, which has now killed more than 237,000 people in the U.S. alone.

Carson’s deputy chief of staff Coalter Baker said the secretary “is in good spirits” and “feels fortunate to have access to effective therapeutics which aid and markedly speed his recovery.”

Read the full story here.

10:56 a.m. 2 more Cook County judges test positive for COVID-19

Two more Cook County judges have tested positive for the coronavirus, raising the total number of judges to contract the virus to eight.

One judge works at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, while the other judge works in the Cook County Juvenile Center, the Office of the Chief Judge said in an email Monday.

The chief judge’s office also said four more employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

Since the pandemic began, 144 employees of the chief judge’s office have tested positive for COVID-19. This is out of a total staff of about 2,600 employees and 400 judges.

Read the full story here.

9:55 a.m. Notre Dame president disappointed in students disregard of COVID-19 protocols after football game

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — On Thursday, Notre Dame’s president released a video in which he warned about rising COVID-19 cases and implored students to redouble their efforts to follow safety measures and end the semester without “a major stumble.”

On Saturday night, after the football team’s 47-40 double overtime upset of No. 1 Clemson, thousands of students rushed the field to celebrate, cramming close together and surrounding players and coaches. Several students could be seen on the NBC telecast and in photos not wearing masks or with masks pulled down.

Criticism of the incident cascaded through social media in light of the pandemic and an abrupt spike in cases the past several weeks. Notre Dame’s active cases on campus have surged into the 200s after being reined in at 26 roughly four weeks ago. The optics at the stadium in the postgame stampede/celebrating implored answers.

On Sunday, Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins issued a letter in which he expressed disappointment with the students’ “widespread disregard of our health protocols” at gatherings over the weekend.

Read the complete story here.

8:17 a.m. Illinois reports 10,000-plus coronavirus caseload for 3rd consecutive day

State health officials announced 10,009 new confirmed and probable cases, marking the third consecutive day Illinois has recorded a five-figure caseload.

Illinois is averaging about 9,710 new infections each day this month, up sharply from October’s daily average of 3,777.

The new infections, which brings the state’s total to 487,987 cases over the last nine months, were detected among the latest batch of 90,757 tests reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health in the last day, raising the seven-day average testing positivity rate to 10.6% — up from 8% one week ago.

The rise in that number is worrisome to health experts who use that figure as a way to gauge how rapidly the virus is spreading.

As case numbers continue to skyrocket statewide, Gov. J.B. Pritzker again reminded Illinoisans to wear masks, wash their hands and maintain proper social distancing.

“Spread the faith, not the virus,” he tweeted after Sunday’s new numbers were released. “I know we’ll get through this — we just have to listen to the doctors. Let’s go all in, Illinois.”

Read the full story here.

6:55 a.m. Preckwinkle staffer tests positive for COVID-19

A staff member in the office of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has tested positive for the coronavirus, her office announced Sunday.

The staff member was last in the county building, 69 W. Washington St., on Friday, Preckwinkle’s office said in a statement.

Preckwinkle is not experiencing symptoms, but will take a COVID test and isolate until the results come back, her office said.

Read the full story here.


New Cases


Analysis & Commentary

7:42 p.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.

Read the full editorial here.

5:35 p.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 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.

McConnell’s and Trump’s failures to lead come in the face of reports this week that the pandemic is surging, with 100,000 new cases reported daily. Which likely means that sooner or later, we’ll have to lock-down the economy again.

Read the full editorial here.

7:40 a.m. Shop locally this holiday season for the sake of pandemic-hammered Chicago businesses

The coronavirus and its damage to the economy have left Chicago shoppers saying they intend to spend about 32% less this holiday season compared with last year.

But that’s still an average $1,053 of expected spending per household — for gifts, travel and entertainment — according to a new Deloitte Consulting survey. If spent with a touch more than the usual community spirit, it could go far in tiding over local businesses until the worst of the pandemic is behind us.

That’s our mantra for the day: Shop early and shop local.

Many local businesses received modest federal coronavirus relief aid months ago, but it was a one-time boost that has only marginally helped keep retailers afloat. Further aid from Washington is not expected any time soon, even as Illinois struggles with a second surge of the virus and public health officials warn that restrictions on businesses may be necessary well into 2021.

Read the full Sun-Times editorial here.