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Latest coronavirus news for June 1, 2020: Live updates

Get the latest news on how COVID-19 is impacting Chicago and Illinois. Follow here for live updates.

The latest

State’s daily coronavirus death toll reaches two month low: ‘What we’re seeing right now is a good trend’

A lab technician cleans a test tube containing a live sample taken from people tested for the novel coronavirus at a facility in Scotland.
A lab technician cleans a test tube containing a live sample taken from people tested for the novel coronavirus at a facility in Scotland.
Getty

State health officials on Monday announced 974 new coronavirus cases and 23 new deaths — the first time the daily death toll fell below the two dozen mark in nearly two months.

With Monday’s new figures, Illinois has registered a total of 121,234 cases, including 5,412 deaths.

The last time the state’s daily tally was under two dozen was April 2, when 16 deaths were reported.

However, the state was ramping up testing at the time, and it’s possible the number of deaths would have been higher had more testing been in place, health officials acknowledged.

The state’s daily death tally peaked May 13 at 192 deaths.

The daily number of new cases peaked the day before, May 12, at 4,014.

Reporter Mitch Dudek has the full story.


News

9:01 p.m. Protesters should quarantine to prevent spread of COVID-19, Lightfoot says

Hundreds of peaceful protesters gather on Daley Plaza on May 31, 2020
Hundreds of peaceful protesters gather on Daley Plaza on May 31, 2020 to protest George Floyd’s death.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her top public health official warned that protesters and others who gathered in groups over the weekend may have exposed themselves to COVID-19 and should take precautions to avoid infecting others.

Lightfoot and Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said in a news conference Monday that the weekend’s protests over the death of George Floyd that drew thousands to Chicago’s streets may have exposed many to the virus.

Both Lightfoot and Arwady encouraged Chicagoans to isolate at home if they believe they may have been exposed to the virus through group gatherings and asked the same people to avoid contact with high-risk individuals, including the elderly and people with health conditions.

“COVID-19 has not disappeared from Chicago,” Lightfoot said. “We worry about the thousands of people that have been out in the streets over the last few days. Please, in exercising your First Amendment rights or if you are out for any other reason, you have now put yourself at risk and we need you to isolate yourself.”

Reporter Brett Chase has the full story.


4:31 p.m. Large-scale protests carry coronavirus exposure risk, leaders warn

Protesters and Chicago police officers during a march downtown Friday, May 29 over the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd. Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times file photo

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.


3:12 p.m. Nearly 26,000 nursing home COVID-19 deaths reported to feds

WASHINGTON — Federal health authorities have received reports of nearly 26,000 nursing home residents dying from COVID-19, according to materials prepared for the nation’s governors. That number is partial and likely to go higher.

A letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 60,000 cases of coronavirus illness among nursing home residents. A copy of the letter to governors and an accompanying chart were provided to The Associated Press.

The toll among nursing home staffers was sobering, with more than 34,400 getting sick and nearly 450 dying from the coronavirus.

“This data, and anecdotal reports across the country, clearly show that nursing homes have been devastated by the virus,” wrote CDC Director Robert Redfield and CMS Administrator Seema Verma to governors.

Read the full report.

12:42 p.m. Black businesses hit hard by COVID-19 fight to stay afloat

DETROIT — Stephanie Byrd agonized over temporarily laying off nearly the entire staff at her family’s trio of Detroit businesses when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

But she’s not just concerned about the impact on their bottom line.

She’s worried other black-owned businesses will struggle to withstand another wave of economic uncertainty, following decades of inequity that made it hard for many to flourish in the first place.

“Most of the people I know who have businesses and are black are terrified right now,” said Byrd, whose family owns Flood’s Bar & Grille, The Block restaurant and the city’s Garden Theater. “There could be a new wave of black businesses that are able to reinvent themselves post-pandemic, but black businesses could also be wiped out for the most part within a black city. What would it look like without black-owned businesses?”

Read the full story here.

7:28 a.m. Fulton Market office project tries new tactics to fight germs

Thanks to quick thinking, and maybe fancy footwork, an office building coming in Fulton Market has a plausible claim to being the nation’s first new multi-story structure designed with a pandemic in mind.

Called Fulton East, the 12-story building is going up at 215 N. Peoria St. Construction started about a year ago. So how could its design possibly be influenced by a global infection?

Credit developer Robert Wislow for recognizing the real estate market was being disrupted, and potential office tenants will have a new set of concerns surrounding health and safety. Wislow, chairman of Parkside Realty, had a building well under way, yet he could still adapt it to the coronavirus. The timing worked.

Wislow turned to Canada-based MAD Elevator — an unfortunate name, but the company is certainly successful — which was rolling out a design that calls for controlling an elevator with your feet. You summon it by pushing an up or down foot pedal; inside the cab, you use your feet to hit a large button mounted near the floor.

MAD calls it the Toe-To-Go system that reduces the spread of germs. Wislow said Fulton East will be its first new-construction installation. Those disinclined or unable to use their feet still can use touch screens, which are easier to wipe down than old-school buttons.

Read David Roeder’s full story here.


New cases


Analysis & Commentary

6:53 a.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.