Illinois announced 1,772 new known cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the 8th straight day with more than 1,000 new cases. Health officials also reported 18 additional confirmed deaths. That brings the state’s total to 176,896 known infections and 7,478 fatalities.
“We’re at a danger point,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at a news conference Thursday in Peoria, warning again that Illinois could be headed for a “reversal” in its reopening as the state continues to see a resurgence in case numbers and regions see positivity rates of coronavirus tests creeping up.
Meanwhile, a deadlocked U.S. Senate left Washington for the weekend Thursday without extending a $600-per-week expanded jobless benefit that has helped keep both families and the economy afloat as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on the country. Friday’s expiration of the $600 jobless benefit sent Republicans controlling the Senate scrambling to respond.
Here’s what’s happening Friday regarding COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:
6 a.m.: Small clusters of flu or other ailments may be poppin up for the same reason COVID-19 is spreading: ‘Strict social distancing isn’t in place’
As Illinois continues testing for COVID-19, many people showing symptoms end up with negative results. Instead, they may have fallen ill with a common cold or the flu. While some people may wonder why they might catch a cold during this time of social distancing and hand washing, the answer is fairly simple, according to medical professionals.
Dr. Desler Javier, an internal physician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, said that not everyone adheres to social distancing measures, contributing to cases of the flu and other respiratory illnesses.
“If everyone lived in a bubble no one would get a contagious disease,” Javier said. “Unless everyone is social distancing 100% of the time, you’re still going to get pockets of outbreaks.”
Strict social distancing measures could ultimately curb both viruses, said Dr. Ben Singer, a pulmonary and critical care specialist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Read the full story here. —Jessica Villagomez
5 a.m.: Chicago parents struggle to get rid of car seats, children’s items after COVID-19 closures: ‘Recycling is really seeing a decline’
If you’re hoping to donate your child’s car seat or crib this year, many thrift stores and retailers likely won’t take it. But throwing it away may not be the best option, either.
Some Chicago-area parents say they’ve been struggling to get rid of unneeded car seats and other children’s items because of COVID-19. Most resale shops have for years limited what children’s items they’ll take, but even after reopening in recent weeks, many also have limited donations because of staff shortages.
Trashing children’s gear can harm the environment, but to limit face-to-face contact, corporations such as Walmart and Target have canceled their trade-in programs, which had allowed people to exchange car seats for a credit, discount or upgraded product.
“It stinks (the programs) are closed,” said Tory Andrews, 34, a parent from the Northwest Side who has been trying to give away her child’s car seat. “I don’t understand why they are closed, but the pandemic is affecting nearly everything.” Read the full story here. —Reporter name
5 a.m.: Online education was a mess in the spring. As COVID-19 prompts schools to stay virtual, will it get better this fall?
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Chicago Public Schools to make a hurried switch to remote instruction earlier this year, Lidia Muro said it didn’t work out so well for her 5-year-old stepson Elijah, then a kindergartner at Marvin Camras Elementary.
Some of the schoolwork he was given required logins and passwords his parents didn’t receive, she said. Communication with his teacher was lacking. And while it took Elijah a single day to finish math lessons that were supposed to stretch over months, he fell behind in reading.
“The program was mostly games, I think,” Muro said. “Educational games are good, but (children) can only do games for so long.”
Contrast that with the experience of Wauconda High School junior-to-be Tori Mraz. She found her school’s online classes to be rigorous but flexible, and while a lack of face-to-face instruction created challenges, she gave virtual education high marks.
“I did really well,” said Mraz, 16, who woke at 6 a.m. each day to start her assignments. “It was on my own time, my own pace. If I had questions, I didn’t feel rushed. If I wanted to email for help, I could, or text my friends. We would FaceTime and they’d explain it to me. I feel I worked a lot harder because of all that was going on.”
Such is the varied landscape many will face when school resumes. Though some districts have pledged to return to in-person classes, many appear headed to full-time online instruction or a hybrid approach, ensuring that education by internet will remain a staple in Illinois. Read the full story here. — John Keilman
Here are five things that happened Thursday in Illinois related to COVID-19: