Coronavirus live blog, July 13, 2020: 6 Chicago businesses cited for violating COVID-19 guidelines last weekend

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Illinois health officials announced 883 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and six additional deaths.

It’s the third day this month with a daily fatality count that rivals the single-digit tallies not previously seen since late March.

Here’s what else happened in Chicago and around the state as the coronavirus pandemic continued.


News

8:56 p.m. 6 Chicago businesses cited for violating COVID-19 guidelines last weekend

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Dozens of people dine outside Tavern on Rush in Gold Coast on Saturday, July 4, 2020.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Several Chicago businesses received citations from the city’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection last weekend for violating Phase 4 reopening guidelines.

The BACP says it conducted 47 investigations across the city last weekend to ensure restaurants and bars were following rules meant to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Six different businesses received a total of 12 citations.

“While most businesses are taking the necessary precautions to keep their customers and employees safe, the City will continue to hold the bad actors accountable,” a statement read.

One bar – Wise Owl Drinkery & Cookhouse, located at 324 S. Racine – so egregiously broke guidelines that officials required an immediate shutdown. The city says the bar was cited for “being over capacity, failure to maintain social distancing, patrons not wearing face coverings and patrons not seated.”

In the last 10 days, the city has received 1,276 complaints over reopening guideline violations, issued 85 warnings, cited 25 businesses and ordered the immediate closure of two businesses, according to BACP.

— Satchel Price


7:13 p.m. Illinois coronavirus cases dip after last week’s upticks, deaths again in single digits

Illinois health officials announced 883 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and six additional deaths.

It’s the third day this month with a daily fatality count that rivals the single-digit tallies not previously seen since late March.

The new figures also marked another day with less than 1,000 new coronavirus cases, after a three-day stretch last week with some of the highest case numbers in weeks.

The seven-day positivity rate remained at 3%, compared to 2.6% one week ago.

The six additional deaths brings July’s daily average to about 21 deaths a day, down sharply from May, when an average of about 100 people were dying each day, or June, when the rate dropped to about 52 COVID-19 deaths per day.

The average number of new cases in July is about 893 a day, down from the peak of 2,172 cases on average in May. The numbers of new infections topped 1,000 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with the 1,317 reported on Friday the highest daily caseload since June 2.

The most recent confirmed cases were determined out of the 30,012 tests conducted over the last 24 hours.

Reporter Mitch Dudek has the full story.

4:32 p.m. Ald. Carrie Austin reveals she tested positive for the coronavirus

Chicago’s second-most-senior alderman has tested positive for the coronavirus — after testing negative at a different hospital on the same day.

Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) tested positive last month after what sources described as a bleeding episode that initially appeared to signal complications from the surgery she had five years ago to repair a torn aorta that nearly killed her.

Sources said the 71-year-old Austin was taken by ambulance to Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, where she tested negative for COVID-19. She was then transported by ambulance to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where the original surgery to repair the torn aorta was conducted.

There, Austin was tested again for the coronavirus. This time, the test came back positive, sources said. The veteran aldermen, second in seniority only to indicted Ald. Edward Burke (14th), was then transferred to a floor at Northwestern reserved for coronavirus patients in isolation.

Read the full story here.

3:23 p.m. 2020 Chicago marathon canceled because of the coronavirus

The Chicago Marathon, which draws runners from across the globe and typically almost 2 million spectators, has been canceled because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

It’s only the second time in the event’s history that it has been cancelled, organizers said.

The challenges of staging a large-scale event at this time, as well as concerns for the safety of event participants, volunteers, event staff and spectators, all led to the decsion to

The marathon, now in its 43rd year, was to be held Sunday, Oct. 11.

“The Chicago Marathon is our city’s beloved annual celebration of more than 45,000 runners, as well as tens of thousands of volunteers, spectators and city residents, all of whom come together race weekend as one community here in our city,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement.

Read the full story here.

1:55 p.m. Lightfoot to do what’s needed to stop ‘uptick’ in coronavirus cases among young people

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday’s she’s concerned about an “uptick” in coronavirus cases among young people and she is prepared to do whatever is necessary — including a retreat from reopening — to prevent it from continuing.

“I’m not gonna take anything off the table. I don’t think we’re at that point just yet. But I am deeply concerned because we’re starting to see this uptick … in the number of daily cases. … We’re not gonna hesitate to take the steps that are necessary if we continue to see a rise in that number,” she said.

Lightfoot famously shut down the lakefront in late March because Chicagoans couldn’t be trusted to maintain social distance. She reopened it last month, but only for activities including walking, running and biking — and with the admonition for those on the trail to “keep it moving.” Chicago’s beaches and Park District swimming pools remain closed.

On Monday, the mayor refused to say what specific actions she was prepared to take to stop the surge among young people, primarily ages 18 to 29, but with the next higher demographic, ages 30 to 39, also of some concern.

Read the full story from City Hall reporter Fran Spielman here.

1 p.m. Loyola scales back plans for reopening campus this fall, will move most classes online

Most of Loyola University’s classes this fall will be online, according to an email sent to students, faculty and staff Monday.

The email, sent from university President Jo Ann Rooney and Provost Norberto Grzywacz, announced that in-person classes will only be offered for courses that need face-to-face instruction — things like labs, research and experiential learning classes.

The move represents a scaling back of previous plans. Loyola had earlier announced they would offer a greater mix of online and in-person courses this fall.

“Our priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our Loyola community,” the email said. “As COVID-19 infection rates and deaths continue to increase across numerous states, we share the concerns of our faculty, staff, and broader community.”

Read the full story here.

12:48 p.m. ‘Opaque outlook’ for downtown real estate market

Experts are saying it’s still too early to assess the pandemic’s effects on our choices for where we live and work: COVID-19 is a conundrum for the world of residential and commercial real estate.

The opaque outlook comes through in a report about the downtown area’s office market through the end of the second quarter. The analysis by the firm Savills, which represents office tenants in lease negotiations, found that much business is on hold.

Robert Sevim, vice chairman at Savills, said many companies are delaying decisions about space needs as long as they can. Employers are reopening offices, but they’re still figuring out who might continue working from home and whether that arrangement suits their business.

The report said overall leasing in the downtown area was down 75% in the second quarter compared with the prior quarter, marking the lowest level in 15 years. With downsizing companies putting space on the market, vacancy rates are rising and rents have just started to head down, reversing a landlord-friendly trend of many years, Savills found.

On the residential side, post-coronavirus market data for the Chicago area has shown steep declines in total sales but prices mostly holding firm, indicating little panic selling is taking place.

Read the full story from David Roeder here.

10:52 a.m. Cubs’ David Ross, five others missing Monday workout as they await latest COVID-19 test results

Cubs manager David Ross and five other Tier 1 individuals are missing Monday’s workout at Wrigley Field as they await Saturday test results. According to a Cubs statement, the “overwhelming majority” of test results from Saturday have already been reported.

Tier 1 includes all essential on-field personnel, including players, coaches, trainers, doctors, physical therapists and the bullpen catcher.

“We’ve decided to do the prudent thing, so myself and the five others will not attend this morning’s workout,” Ross said. “Out of an abundance of caution, we think it makes sense for the six of us to wait for clarity. Situations like this have not been a worrisome indicator of a positive test result to date.”

Read the full story here.

10:17 a.m. What other states ravaged by COVID-19 can learn from New York

As cases spiked in March and April, New York became the nation’s coronavirus nightmare, with New York City at the crux of it. Statewide, over 18,000 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals at one point in April. Daily deaths peaked at 799 in April, and have totaled over 24,000.

Now, as states from Florida to Texas to California see new confirmed cases soar, hospitals fill up and daily death tolls hit new records, numbers have dropped precipitously in the tri-state region. New York reported five new deaths statewide Sunday, when hospitals were caring for a total of about 800 coronavirus patients.

While New York has been gradually reopening, it also has been quietly preparing to handle another surge if it comes.

After health workers in New York and elsewhere grappled with shortages of masks, gowns and other protective gear this spring, Cuomo said he would order hospitals to have a 90-day supply on hand. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would build its own reserve of ventilators, protective equipment and coronavirus test kits, identifying local suppliers and manufacturers rather than looking to federal authorities or global markets.

“We’ve learned a tough lesson that we have to create, and we have to protect ourselves,” said de Blasio, a Democrat, who also said the city would stockpile as many as 18 million shelf-stable meals.

Read the full report here.

7:56 a.m. Coronavirus surge in Eastern Europe prompts new restrictions

Countries in Eastern Europe are facing rising waves of coronavirus infections, leading to riots in Serbia, mandatory face masks in Croatia and travel bans or quarantines imposed by Hungary.

The new restrictions come as the World Health Organization reports that daily global infections hit over 228,000 last week, and the U.S. confirmed over 66,600 new cases on Friday, another record, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Virus deaths are rising in the U.S., especially in the South and West, with the seven-day rolling daily average increasing from 578 two weeks ago to 664 on Friday — still well below the heights hit in April — according to an Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins. Daily infection records were hit in at least six states.

“It’s consistently picking up. And it’s picking up at the time you’d expect it to,” said William Hanage, a Harvard University infectious diseases researcher.

Researchers expect U.S. deaths to rise for weeks, but some think the count will not go up as dramatically as it did in the spring.

Read the full report here.


New cases


Analysis & Commentary

8:03 a.m. How Trump’s deadly reelection strategy comes back to bite every 3 to 14 days

Mark Urquiza, 65, died of COVID-19 two weeks ago, having made the mistake of listening to President Donald Trump and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.

Trump and Ducey, like a lot of Republican leaders, began urging people in early May to get back to their normal lives. They said the pandemic was subsiding and sort of a hoax anyway, and Urquiza took them at their word and started going out with friends again.

Three weeks after Ducey lifted Arizona’s stay-at-home order on May 15, Urquiza began feeling ill. On June 30, he died.

In a stunning obituary in the Arizona Republic on Wednesday, Urquiza’s daughter, Kristin, put the blame right where it belongs:

Ducey, she said, “has blood on his hands.”

It never fails to amaze us how Trump, Ducey and others like them remain wedded to an approach to the pandemic — denial — that is doomed to failure as a matter of both public health and politics.

The more they try to wish the pandemic away, the more they will have blood on their hands.

Read the full editorial from the Sun-Times Editorial Board here.

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