The first half of 2020 came to a close on a good note for Illinois, but not so great for the rest of the U.S.
A total of 14 COVID-19 deaths were recorded on Tuesday. It was the sixth consecutive day of falling COVID-19 deaths in Illinois — just 15 deaths were recorded Sunday — as the state continues Phase 4 of reopening.
Nationally however the numbers don’t look great. Cases are still surging in southern and western regions of the country. The U.S. is “going in the wrong direction” with the coronavirus surging badly enough that Dr. Anthony Fauci told senators Tuesday some regions are putting the entire country at risk — just as schools and colleges are wrestling with how to safely reopen.
Here’s what happened today in the fight against the coronavirus in Chicago, the state and nationally:
8:50 p.m. Illinois ends June with about half the daily COVID-19 deaths and new cases as in peak month of May
As coronavirus cases flare to record highs in other states that reopened earlier, Illinois closed out the month of June with another round of low daily numbers Tuesday, indicating the state’s pandemic curve is still arcing downward — for now.
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 23 additional deaths attributed to COVID-19 and 724 newly confirmed cases of the virus. That raises the state’s death toll to 6,923 among the 143,185 people who have tested positive for the virus since late January.
The state averaged about half as many new cases and deaths each day in June compared to May, when Illinois hit its apparent coronavirus peak.
The state suffered almost half its overall caseload and death toll in May, with about 67,300 positive diagnoses and 3,076 lives lost. That means officials announced an average of about 99 deaths and 2,172 new cases per day.
8:10 p.m. Fauci: With surging coronavirus cases in some regions, entire country is at risk
The U.S. is “going in the wrong direction” with the coronavirus surging badly enough that Dr. Anthony Fauci told senators Tuesday some regions are putting the entire country at risk — just as schools and colleges are wrestling with how to safely reopen.
With about 40,000 new cases being reported a day, Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said he “would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around.”
“I am very concerned,” he told a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee.
Infections are rising rapidly mostly in parts of the West and South, and Fauci and other public health experts said Americans everywhere will have to start following key recommendations if they want to get back to more normal activities like going to school.
“We’ve got to get the message out that we are all in this together,” by wearing masks in public and keeping out of crowds, said Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health.
6:05 p.m. As coronavirus roars back, so do signs of a new round of layoffs
WASHINGTON — The reopening of Tucson’s historic Hotel Congress lasted less than a month.
General manager Todd Hanley on June 4 ended a two-month coronavirus lockdown and reopened the 39-room hotel at half-capacity, along with an adjoining restaurant for outdoor dining. Yet with reported COVID-19 cases spiking across Arizona, Hanley made the painful decision last weekend to give up, for now.
“We are closing everything,’’ he said. “We are going to live to fight another day.’’
The move means that once again, most of Hanley’s employees will lose their jobs, at least temporarily. Except for roughly a dozen who are needed to maintain the century-old property, more than 50 workers he had recalled will be laid off for a second time.
A resurgence of confirmed COVID cases across the South and West — and the suspension or reversal of re-openings of bars, hotels, restaurants and other businesses — is endangering hopes for an economic rebound in the region and perhaps nationally. At stake are the jobs of millions of people who have clung to hopes that their layoffs from widespread business shutdowns this spring would prove short-lived.
5:10 p.m. More pot licenses delayed indefinitely due to COVID-19
Blaming the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday issued an executive order delaying licenses to grow, transport and infuse cannabis products.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture, which regulates cannabis cultivation facilities, will announce when the licenses will be issued, according to Pritzker’s order.
The licenses, which were expected to be awarded Wednesday, include 40 for both craft growers and infusers and an undetermined number for transporters.
The public health crisis twice prompted Pritzker to push the deadline for submitting applications for the licenses from the original due date of March 16 to April 30. Pritzker signed a similar order in late April that indefinitely delayed the issuance of 75 new pot shop licenses, though officials since have signaled those licenses will be awarded intermittently in the coming months.
3:50 p.m. Illinois reports 14 more coronavirus deaths, lowest tally in months
Illinois reported its fewest number of COVID-19 deaths in three months for the second day in a row as the state’s reopening is underway.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported an additional 14 COVID-caused deaths on Monday bringing the state’s death toll to 6,902. The victims lived in Cook County, DuPage County and Perry County and were between the ages of 30 and 90 years old.
It’s the fewest number of deaths the state has registered since March 30, when just eight were recorded. This is also the sixth consecutive day of falling COVID-19 deaths — just 15 deaths were recorded Sunday — as the state continues Phase 4 of reopening.
1 p.m. MLB player says COVID-19 pandemic ‘has made this baseball season ... a risk I am not comfortable taking’
Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond plans to sit out this season to be with his family and help grow youth baseball in his hometown in Florida.
The 34-year-old Desmond wrote Monday night on Instagram that the “COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk I am not comfortable taking.” But the biracial slugger also mentioned a myriad of issues within baseball, including racism, sexism, homophobia and socioeconomic concerns.
“With a pregnant wife and four young children who have lots of questions about what’s going on in the world, home is where I need to be right now,” Desmond wrote on Instagram. “Home for my wife, Chelsey. Home to help. Home to guide. Home to answer my older three boys’ questions about Coronavirus and Civil Rights and life. Home to be their Dad.”
10:08 a.m. Nets’ DeAndre Jordan says he has coronavirus, won’t join team in Florida
DeAndre Jordan says he has tested positive for the coronavirus and won’t be joining the Brooklyn Nets in Florida when the NBA season resumes.
Jordan announced his status on Twitter, hours after fellow Nets player Spencer Dinwiddie told The Athletic that he had tested positive and was experiencing symptoms.
They give the Nets at least six players who have tested positive for the virus. The other four were back in March, when Kevin Durant said he was one of them.
Jordan wrote that he had learned of his diagnosis Sunday night after returning to New York and it was confirmed again Monday.
Read the full report here.
9:10 a.m. COVID-19 cases climbing in Texas where top cop went to visit sickened mom
As gun violence gripped Chicago on another summer weekend, Chicago Police Department Supt. David Brown took an impromptu trip to Texas to visit with his mother after she tested positive Friday for COVID-19.
Police spokesman Howard Ludwig said Brown spent a little more than a day in his hometown of Dallas, where he visited his mother through a window.
“The superintendent has complete faith in the leadership team that handles the day-to-day operations of the Chicago Police Department,” Ludwig said.
COVID-19 cases recently have spiked in Texas and other states that have eased restrictions related to the virus, leading officials in that state and others to reverse course. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has acknowledged the state’s rate of infection has taken a “very swift and a very dangerous turn,” noting Sunday that in just weeks ‘‘the daily number of cases [has] gone from an average of about 2,000 to more than 5,000 per day.”
8:02 a.m. Troubled nursing home tried to boot woman whose daughter criticized facility, suit says
A west suburban nursing home where 12 residents have died of the coronavirus plotted to kick out an elderly woman because her daughter criticized the troubled facility, according to a lawsuit the daughter has filed in Cook County circuit court.
Lottie Smith, 82, was in the Westchester Health and Rehabilitation Center in Westchester in late March when she appeared to be suffering from COVID-19 symptoms, according to the suit her daughter Loretta Brady filed against the nursing home.
“The administrator should have been more attentive to the residents,” according to Brady, who said her mother was diagnosed with the coronavirus, ultimately recovered and remains in the same facility. “Our complaints fell on deaf ears.”
On March 25, Smith was sent to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood with a high fever and difficulty breathing, according to the suit. She returned to the nursing home but again was hospitalized April 26 after falling and having seizures, the lawsuit said, and she fell four more times in May.
- DeAndre Jordan says he has tested positive for the coronavirus and won’t be joining the Brooklyn Nets in Florida when the NBA season resumes.
- Illinois reported 14 COVID-19 deaths Monday, its lowest daily total in three months for the second day in a row as the state’s reopening is underway. That brings the state’s total death toll to 6,902.
- The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association say 16 players tested positive for coronavirus in the first wave of mandatory tests done in preparation for the restart of the season.
Analysis & Commentary
10:07 a.m. Mandatory college football practices at time of pandemic are nuts
The NCAA has just ruled that mandatory football practices can begin in July, anticipating a full season of college football. This is nuts. The pandemic isn’t going away; it’s surging in more than 29 states, with seven reporting new records for cases in a day. States that opened early without adequate safeguards — Texas, Florida, Arizona — now face a spread of the pandemic that may soon exhaust the supply of hospital beds. Deaths are now over 125,000. Increasing numbers of young people are contracting the disease, presumably because of the lack of social distancing, the scorn for masks that has accompanied the reopening in many states — and, of course, in the White House itself.
Football is a physical contact sport. The coronavirus is transmittable through respiratory droplets. If an infected athlete wipes his nose or mouth between plays, or takes out his mouth guard, he has the virus on his hands that will be in repeated contact with other players. Does anyone doubt that the virus will spread like wildfire once mandatory camps and contact drills begin?
The university is prepared to risk the lives of the players, but not open itself up to liability.
7:48 a.m. Take it from me: COVID-19 is serious
It started with chills and chattering teeth, followed by a stubborn cough and sore throat. With the weather warming and the state moving into Phase 3, I didn’t immediately assume I had become infected. But as my cough persisted, and my chills became night sweats, I realized I needed medical advice. Upon the advice of my doctor, I took advantage of Northwestern Hospital’s walk-up testing. The next day, I was told I tested positive for COVID-19.
My attention immediately turned to the people I might have exposed. My first concern was for my family. My other concern was for my office and maintaining operations while making sure my staff sought medical advice and self-isolated and got tested if needed. We are following public health guidelines to clean and sterilize our Thompson Center offices while staff who have had regular, in-person contact with me work from home.
I also notified the organizers of events I attended, as well as some of the attendees so that they could self-isolate and seek medical advice.
As for myself, I have self-isolated in my bedroom and joined those working from home. I have been frustrated by my confinement and the exhaustion that makes phone calls or Zoom meetings feel like I just played a basketball game. My symptoms, while extremely uncomfortable at times, were mild, and I did not have to be hospitalized. I feel fortunate to not have experienced some of the severe symptoms. I want to issue a strong warning: COVID-19 is not gone.