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Coronavirus live blog, July 5, 2020: Illinois reports 6 new COVID-19 deaths, lowest 1-day total since March 25

Here’s what we learned today about how COVID-19 is impacting Chicago and Illinois. Follow here for live updates.

The Latest

Illinois announces 6 additional coronavirus deaths as downward trend continues

A sign alerts residents to a mobile COVID-19 testing site set up on a vacant lot in the Austin neighborhood.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Illinois health officials announced Sunday an additional six coronavirus deaths, the lowest one-day total since March 25.

Sunday’s update continues a downward trend for the state. On Saturday, officials announced 10 additional deaths, which was the lowest since March 30.

The state’s first COVID-19 death didn’t occur until March 17, so the numbers through the first days of July mirror the very beginning of the pandemic that has so far cost Illinois 7,020 lives.

The Illinois Department of Public Health also reported 639 new coronavirus cases Sunday. That increases the state’s total case count to 147,251; officials say the vast majority of people who tested positive have since recovered.

Read the full story here.


News

6:50 p.m. Surprise: Justice Kavanaugh sides with Gov. Pritzker over Illinois Republican organizations in COVID-19 crowd restriction case

The Supreme Court always has a justice on duty for emergencies, and on Saturday — Independence Day — Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a Trump appointee, was on the job.

And on July 4, Kavanaugh did something that might surprise you, given his conservative and GOP credentials, his days in the George W. Bush White House and the Democratic-led fight over his confirmation.

Kavanaugh sided with Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

He denied an emergency bid by several allied Illinois Republican organizations to block Pritzker’s COVID-19 pandemic related ban on political events with more than 50 people.

The rush for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in this case was pegged — so went the argument — to the urgent need to clear the legal way for a July 4 picnic and fireworks to rally the Will County GOP faithful — at a farm, a place with plenty of room for people to spread out.

That picnic angle is now moot.

Read the full story by Washington bureau chief Lynn Sweet here.

3:30 p.m. Two White Sox players test positive for coronavirus

Two White Sox players have tested positive for the coronavirus, the team announced Sunday.

Both players are asymptomatic and have been isolated in Chicago while being monitored by Sox medical staff. Both players requested privacy.

Contact testing was administered for both, and each player will receive follow-up testing. The players may return to activities after recording consecutive negative tests and passed appropriate coronavirus protocols.

The Sox continued their summer camp workouts Sunday morning, the third day. Jose Abreu, Edwin Encarnacion and Luis Robert, who hadn’t been seen in the morning workouts the first two days — teams are split into morning and afternoon groups — joined Sox regulars Tim Anderson and Leury Garcia on the infield and Eloy Jimenez and Nomar Mazara in the outfield. Catchers Yasmani Grandal and Zack Collins were also among the players working out Sunday morning.

Read the full report from Daryl Van Schouwen here.

2:14 p.m. Chicago’s travel advisory takes effect Monday

Starting Monday, anyone who is traveling or returning to Chicago from states that have seen a spike in COVID-19 infection rates is required to quarantine for two weeks under a travel advisory issued by Mayor Lori Lightfoot last week.

The public health order, issued Thursday evening by Dr. Allison Arwady, who leads the Chicago Department of Public Health, applies to anyone coming to Chicago from one of these 15 designated states where COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

Here’s what you need to know about Chicago’s travel advisory.

12:05 p.m. After questioning safety of upcoming WNBA season, Sky assistant coach Bridget Pettis resigns

After being a part of the WNBA for more than two decades, Sky assistant coach Bridget Pettis on Saturday has decided to call it quits just weeks before the 2020 season, citing increasing health concerns for players and social unrest as two main reasons for her decision.

Pettis plans to shift her focus from basketball to Project Roots AZ, a non-profit she has been working with for some time that works to educate the public on growing its own food and supporting the homeless.

In a press release announcing the news, Pettis questioned the safety and viability of the upcoming 22-game season, which will be played at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, later this month.

“I asked a lot of questions that not too many people were happy about,” Pettis said. “I discovered that some medical staff of teams not only believe it’s not safe, but also the women don’t have enough resources as they believe we should unlike the NBA going into this bubble. If the WNBA cannot upgrade the situation even more with safety I feel the WNBA should wait and play the following season. Why put ourselves and players in Florida as cases increase?

“I feel the WNBA should use it’s platform this year in the communities of the teams and the communities where players live. I encourage others to find a project they are passionate about and jump in 100%. We can play next year.”

Read the full report from Madeline Kenney here.

10:30 a.m. Kansas newspaper’s post equates mask mandate with Holocaust

TOPEKA, Kan. — A weekly Kansas newspaper whose publisher is a county Republican Party chairman posted a cartoon on its Facebook page likening the Democratic governor’s order requiring people to wear masks in public to the roundup and murder of millions of Jews during the Holocaust.

The cartoon on the Anderson County Review’s Facebook page depicts Gov. Laura Kelly wearing a mask with a Jewish Star of David on it, next to a drawing of people being loaded onto train cars. Its caption is, “Lockdown Laura says: Put on your mask … and step onto the cattle car.”

The newspaper posted the cartoon on Friday, the day that Kelly’s mask order aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus took effect. It’s drawn several hundred comments, many of them strongly critical. Dane Hicks, the paper’s owner and publisher, said in an email to The Associated Press that he plans to publish the cartoon in the newspaper’s next edition Thursday.

Kelly, who is Catholic, issued a statement saying, “Mr. Hicks’ decision to publish anti-Semitic imagery is deeply offensive and he should remove it immediately.”

Read the full report here.

7:33 a.m. 10 more Illinois coronavirus deaths mark lowest daily toll in 3 months

Health officials on Saturday announced 10 more Illinois deaths have been attributed to COVID-19, the state’s lowest number of coronavirus deaths announced in a single day since March 30.

The virus has claimed 7,014 lives since the state’s first death was confirmed March 17, but Illinois has seen some of its lowest daily tolls over the last two weeks as the state’s pandemic curve appears to be flattening while outbreaks in other states flare to record highs.

Illinois’ worst coronavirus day came May 13 with 192 deaths, the apex of a peak month that saw an average of about 100 COVID-19 deaths per day. The death rate was about half that in June.

Read the full story by Mitchell Armentrout here.


New cases


Analysis & Commentary

2:35 p.m. A dreaded call from her Millennial during pandemic’s surge: ‘Mom, I don’t feel well at all’

“Mom, I don’t feel well at all.”

It was a call this Chicago mother had feared, ever since the start of the pandemic lockdowns.

Her millennial offspring was calling from one of the four states worst hit by new coronavirus outbreaks nationwide.

Under a resurgence of the highly contagious virus, Arizona, California, Florida and Texas now account for 50 percent of the 44,000+ new cases daily.

Experts say the U.S. could soon reach 100,000+ cases daily — absent an immediate U-turn.

That’s led states like New York and cities like Chicago to impose quarantines on visitors from impacted states in the South and West. The new rule takes effect here Monday.

Of particular note, at COVID-19’s six-month anniversary in the U.S., infections are skewing younger.

In several states, nearly half the new cases are occurring among millennials — in California, among those under age 35; in Florida, those under age 37.

Read the full column from Maudlyne Ihejirika here.

7:42 a.m. There’s a decent chance the final score will be COVID-19, Baseball 0

If the baseball season sat on an examining table, gulped and asked the doctor for its odds of survival, what would he say? Seventy-five percent? Fifty?

Or would he shake his head grimly and mumble something about a summer of golf being a nice option?

It’s not good when ‘‘wing’’ and ‘‘prayer’’ are the two words that come to mind when pondering Major League Baseball’s chances of playing its 60-game season. But there are still too many unknowns with COVID-19, and no amount of best practices, due diligence and rosary beads is going to change that.

I don’t want to kill your buzz. Like you, I want something to watch other than my fingernails. Baseball games, a full season of them, would be a beautiful distraction from the pandemic. And I certainly don’t mean to pick on baseball. The same doubts nipping at MLB’s heels are dogging the NBA, the NFL, the NHL and college football. I’ve wondered in print how sweating, bleeding, frothing football players are going to stay virus-free. Hint: They’re not.

Read the full column by Rick Morrissey here.