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Latest coronavirus news for May 31, 2020: Live blog

Here’s what we learned Sunday about how COVID-19 is impacting Chicago and Illinois.

The Latest

Illinois announces 60 more coronavirus deaths as Chicago Mayor Lightfoot weighs moving back start of Chicago’s Phase 3

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Illinois has suffered another 60 deaths from COVID-19, health officials announced Sunday, increasing the state’s pandemic death toll to 5,390.

The Illinois Department of Public Health also confirmed another 1,343 new cases of coronavirus among the 21,154 new tests they processed.

That brings the state’s case total to 120,260, although most have recovered. Nearly 900,000 tests have been processed so far.

COVID-19 has been found in 101 of the state’s 102 counties; Scott County, just west of Springfield, is the only one without any reported cases.

More than half of all deadly cases in the state have originated in nursing homes, and the majority of victims have been older, but Sunday’s announced deaths included three Cook County women in their 30s.

Sunday’s update comes as officials at the local and national levels worry the massive George Floyd protests held Saturday, which drew thousands into Chicago and other cities, might eventually lead to another coronavirus case spike.

Read the full report from Ben Pope here.


News

3:00 p.m. Coronavirus cases could rise as protests continue, US city, health officials fear

LOS ANGELES — The massive protests sweeping across U.S. cities following the police killing of a handcuffed black man in Minnesota have elevated fears of a new surge in cases of the coronavirus.

Images showing thousands of screaming, unmasked protesters have sent shudders through the health community, which worries its calls for social distancing during the demonstrations are unlikely to be heard.

Leaders appealing for calm in places where crowds smashed storefronts and destroyed police cars in recent nights also have been handing out masks and warning protesters they were putting themselves at risk.

Minnesota’s governor said Saturday that too many protesters weren’t socially distancing or wearing masks after heeding the call earlier in the week.

But many seemed undeterred.

“It’s not OK that in the middle of a pandemic we have to be out here risking our lives,” Spence Ingram said Friday after marching with other protesters to the state Capitol in Atlanta. “But I have to protest for my life and fight for my life all the time.”

Read the full report here.

8:04 a.m. Coronavirus testing: an updated guide on what’s available, what it does, what’s coming

Much has changed about testing for current COVID-19 infection and antibody testing for past exposure.

Here’s an updated guide on what you need to know.

7:00 a.m. Nursing homes account for more than half of coronavirus deaths in Illinois, new data shows

Illinois nursing homes now account for 52% of all coronavirus deaths in Illinois, data released Friday shows.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday reported 2,747 coronavirus deaths in Illinois nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and 17,133 cases.

The data this week again reflects a change in how the numbers were reported from previously. Last week, Illinois officials said they would no longer be reporting cases and deaths from homes which had not recorded a new case of coronavirus in the past 28 days. A day later, though, the state quietly reversed course and released updated data which included the cumulative number of cases and deaths since the start of the outbreak.

The state’s nursing home data continues to be riddled with inconsistencies, with some homes reporting a decrease in cases and deaths, despite assurances from Illinois officials that the data is cumulative. The state previously stopped counting “probable” nursing home cases and now reports only laboratory-confirmed cases, which had led totals to drop at some homes.

According to the data released on Friday, Illinois has 536 homes which have had cases of coronavirus. But a Sun-Times review of that data found that multiple homes were listed twice both in the data released by the state and on their website.

Read the full report from Caroline Hurley here.


New cases


Analysis & Commentary

2:12 p.m. Our lives and homes are on display these days, courtesy of Zoom

We are all on camera. We may be sheltering indoors in the age of COVID-19, but we are showing our stuff on Zoom. It is a curated and revealing picture of who we really are.

We are meeting, partying, praying, even mourning online. Our appearances on screens big and small speak for, and to, us.

The necessity of communicating in quarantine is opening our inner lives in intimate and personal ways, warts and all.

My mother tells me that her friends, all ladies of a certain advanced age, gets gussied up in glittering attire to sip and dish at a weekly Zoom cocktail hour.

As a veteran of the news business, I know visualization is vital. Now, I work entirely from home. I struggle to get the right “look” when I appear on the screen as a political analyst, panelist and moderator.

Do I appear in the living room, home office or kitchen? Lamplight or sunlight? What colors should I wear? Should the jewelry be understated or statement? A vase of blossoms in the background?

I am a zealous student of “the look” offered on television and other public events in quarantine.

Read Laura Washington’s full column here.

7:00 a.m. University of Illinois football and basketball players — essential workers — head back to campus

Some student workers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will return to campus next week to start preparing for their football and men’s basketball seasons.

Did I say workers? Yes, that’s what they are. The university calls them student-athletes, and they are that, too.

But please make no mistake. They are employees at the U. of I. That they are going back, though summer classes were moved online because of the pandemic, underscores how valuable they are to the university.

They are not just students or athletes. They are workers, too.

It looks like they will be treated a lot better than many other workers across America. They are fortunate in that regard. In announcing the athletes’ return, the school said it was coordinating with sports medicine staff, local doctors and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District. That’s a lot of oversight.

June workouts will be voluntary at the U. of I. The athletics department has promised to honor financial aid commitments — their pay — even if athletes are no-shows because of concerns over the coronavirus.

But the pressure is on. Forgoing workouts means you are letting down the team. That makes it tough to say no to driven, demanding coaches.

Read Marlen Garcia’s full column here.