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Latest coronavirus news for September 20, 2020: Illinois reports sub-3% COVID-19 positivity rate Sunday

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Illinois records 1,402 new coronavirus cases, 14 additional deaths

A sign in a hallway at King Elementary School encourages social distancing as the school works to maintain a safe environment during the coronavirus pandemic on September 08, 2020.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

State health officials on Sunday announced 1,402 new coronavirus cases and 14 additional deaths.

The new infections account for roughly 2.9% of the 48,011 tests results reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health in the last 24 hours. That keeps the state’s seven-day positivity rate — the number experts use to gauge how rapidly the virus is spreading — at 3.5%, the lowest it’s been since July 24.

While the state’s daily caseload average has continued to rise over the last three months, positivity rates have sunk across most of Illinois, thanks to a statewide increase in testing capacity. Illinois has processed more than 1 million tests this month.

More than 5 million tests have been administered in Illinois since March, with 247,258 coming back positive.

Though almost 2,000 new cases have been added per day this month, comparable to the peak month of May, positivity rates have sunk across most of the state thanks to booming testing numbers. Chicago is at 5% positivity; its surrounding regions check in at 5.7% or below.

Of the 14 coronavirus-related deaths announced Sunday, five were recorded in Cook County.

Read the full story by Madeline Kenney here.


7:35 a.m. Suburban athletes show up for Let Us Play protest, but city turnout is small

Saturday’s Let Us Play protest at the Thompson Center was designed to be a show of force and numbers to put pressure on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to change his mind and allow all fall sports, especially football, to be played now instead of in the spring.

That isn’t how it turned out. An estimated 400-500 people showed up, the overwhelming majority wearing apparel from Lincoln-Way East, Loyola and Batavia. There wasn’t a single Chicago school with a significant presence. Brother Rice coach Brian Badke was on hand with three players and there was a coach or two in attendance from about 10 Public League teams.

Read the full story by Michael O’Brien here.

7:05 a.m. Surge keeps going in RVs and camping during the coronavirus pandemic

There’s a campground, rather peculiarly, in downtown Gibson City in Ford County along Route 9. We pass it several times a year on our way to the whimsical Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In.

The campground has been busy. One night my wife and our daughter thought it was packed to capacity.

This year, this 2020, is different.

Something is happening with people, camping and RVs during the pandemic. Part is related to schooling and working remotely, part to staycations and part to safety.

Read the full story by Dale Bowman here.

6 a.m. Coronavirus cases increase, but positivity rate dips to 3.5%, lowest it’s been since July 24

Public health officials on Saturday announced 2,529 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 across Illinois as the state’s average testing positivity rate took another encouraging step downward.

The latest daily caseload is the 12th highest reported throughout the six-month pandemic, but the positives were confirmed among what’s likely the biggest number of tests ever submitted to the Illinois Department of Public Health in a single day: 74,286.

As a result, the statewide testing positivity rate over the last week— the number experts use to gauge how rapidly the virus is spreading — dipped to 3.5%, the lowest it’s been since July 24.

Read the full story by Mitchell Armentrout here.

New Cases

Analysis & Commentary

7:05 a.m. Remote learning compounds longstanding challenges facing bilingual students like me

Sometimes it’s difficult to consider being bilingual an advantage.

The road to achieving what is seen as a powerful skill leaves a mark. For a Mexican like me, it’s imposter syndrome.

Picture laughter erupting from a second grade class after a non-English speaker can’t respond to a question like, “Is your birthday coming up?” Or a 9-year-old practicing the word “world” for two weeks because it will come up in conversation some way or another. Seriously. Try it. Your tongue does about four movements for a word with one syllable.

Read the full column by Ismael Perez here.