Illinois health officials on Monday announced 8,691 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 90 additional fatalities.
That brings the total number of known infections in Illinois to 796,264 and the statewide death toll to 13,343 since the start of the pandemic.
Over the weekend, Illinois crossed the 13,000 mark for COVID-19 fatalities only a little more than a week after marking 12,000 deaths.
The numbers illustrate just how bad the pandemic has gotten here. Illinois had recorded more coronavirus deaths than any other state in the seven days ending Saturday, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only Illinois and Texas confirmed more than 1,000 deaths in that timeframe.
Here’s what’s happening Monday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:
12:03 p.m.: 8,691 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and 90 additional deaths reported
Illinois health officials on Monday announced 8,691 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 90 additional fatalities, bringing the total number of known infections in Illinois to 796,264 and the statewide death toll to 13,343 since the start of the pandemic. Officials also reported 77,569 new tests in the last 24 hours.
The seven-day statewide rolling positivity rate for cases as a share of total tests was 10.3% for the period ending Sunday.
10:42 a.m.: Millions of hungry Americans turn to food banks for the 1st time: ‘This is a hard thing to accept that you have to do this’
The deadly pandemic that tore through the nation’s heartland struck just as Aaron Crawford was in a moment of crisis. He was looking for work, his wife needed surgery, then the virus began eating away at her work hours and her paycheck.
The Crawfords had no savings, mounting bills and a growing dread: What if they ran out of food? The couple had two boys, 5 and 10, and boxes of macaroni and cheese from the dollar store could go only so far.
A 37-year-old Navy vet, Crawford saw himself as self-reliant. Asking for food made him uncomfortable. “I felt like I was a failure,” he says. “It’s this whole stigma … this mindset that you’re this guy who can’t provide for his family, that you’re a deadbeat.”
Hunger is a harsh reality in the richest country in the world. Even during times of prosperity, schools hand out millions of hot meals a day to children, and desperate elderly Americans are sometimes forced to choose between medicine and food.
Now, in the pandemic of 2020, with illness, job loss and business closures, millions more Americans are worried about empty refrigerators and barren cupboards.
10 a.m.: Better order those gifts now. Retailers are warning of shipping delays as millions shop online. Here’s what to know.
This isn’t the year to procrastinate on your online holiday shopping.
Retailers are warning that orders could take longer than usual to arrive because consumers are increasingly buying everyday essentials and holiday gifts online.
Shipping companies like UPS and FedEx say they have been handling package volumes usually seen during the height of the holidays all year as people shop online to avoid trips to stores during the pandemic.
9:52 a.m.: CDC’s ‘stay home’ advice is more terrible news for airlines
American Airlines says the rise in COVID-19 cases and a growing number of travel restrictions leading into the Thanksgiving holiday is slowing demand for travel and will push its daily losses to the higher end of previous expectations.
In an investor update released Friday morning, American said its daily cash burn will come in at the high end of its $25 million to $30 million day forecast for the fourth quarter, a time period that airlines had hoped would result in renewed confidence in the pandemic-weary sector.
But with new COVID-19 cases growing to more than 1.1 million in the U.S. in the last seven days, according to government data, airlines are warning that their financial recovery won’t be as robust heading into the winter months.
8:27 a.m.: ‘What are we going to do when we lose the unemployment money?’ Millions fear cutoff of US jobless aid
Tina Morton recently faced a choice: Pay bills — or buy a birthday gift for a child? Derrisa Green is falling further behind on rent. Sylvia Soliz has had her electricity cut off.
Unemployment has forced aching decisions on millions of Americans and their families in the face of a rampaging viral pandemic that has closed shops and restaurants, paralyzed travel and left millions jobless for months. Now, their predicaments stand to grow bleaker yet if Congress fails to extend two unemployment programs that are set to expire the day after Christmas.
If no agreement is reached in negotiations taking place on Capitol Hill, more than 9 million people will lose federal jobless aid that averages about $320 a week and that typically serves as their only source of income.
7:45 a.m.: Lawmakers say COVID-19 relief bill won’t offer $1,200 checks direct payments to most Americans
With time running out, lawmakers on Sunday closed in on a proposed COVID-19 relief bill that would provide roughly $300 in extra federal weekly unemployment benefits but not another round of $1,200 in direct payments to most Americans, leaving that issue for President-elect Joe Biden to wrestle over with a new Congress next year.
The $908 billion aid package to be released Monday would be attached to a larger year-end spending bill needed to avert a government shutdown this coming weekend.
The cash payments were popular when they were first distributed after the pandemic hit, and Biden on Friday had expressed hope that a second wave might come after weekend negotiations.
But senators involved in the talks said the checks won’t be included as part of the compromise, even as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and others said that could cause them to oppose the measure.
7:05 a.m.: Red Cross appeals for blood donations as COVID-19 cases surge
The Red Cross and other blood donation organizations often have difficulty bringing in enough blood donations during the winter holidays, but as coronavirus cases surge, the Red Cross says this year, it’s even more crucial people to donate blood and platelets.
The Red Cross is appealing to anyone who feels well enough to do so to donate blood.
“Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, more than 1 million blood transfusions will be given in the United States. Donations of all blood types are needed to ensure hospital shelves remain stocked to meet patient blood needs.”
The need for what’s known as convalescent plasma from people who have recovered from the coronavirus, used to treat people with COVID-19, is especially high now, according to the Red Cross. So the agency is testing all blood donations for coronavirus antibodies, to see if donors “may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions,” according to the agency.
People can arrange to donate blood, plasma or platelets by making an appointment through the Red Cross Blood Donor App, on the website RedCrossBlood.org, by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device, according to the release.
For a list of blood drives, check the agency’s website.
Anyone who donates between Dec. and Jan. 4 will receive a free long-sleeve Red Cross T-shirt, “while supplies last,” according to the Red Cross.
6:55 a.m.: Cook County to announce extension of resident cash assistance program
Cook County Board President Preckwinkle, other county officials and representatives from restaurant and retail groups were scheduled to announce Monday an extension of the county’s coronavirus cash assistance program.
The COVID-19 Resident Cash Assistance Program, announced in November, originally included $2.1 million in federal coronavirus funds to give suburban Cook County residents one-time cash payments of $600. The original program had been expected to serve about 3,000 people.
Officials were scheduled to discuss the program at a news conference Monday afternoon at the Cook County Building.
6 a.m.: Vaccine shortages have led to theft, smuggling and doses going to the famous instead of the needy. Will it happen again with COVID-19?
Sixteen years ago, in the middle of a wretched Chicago Bears season, a scandal erupted at Halas Hall that had nothing to do with inept quarterbacking or sketchy play calling — but like the Bears’ misery, it remains relevant today.
An acute shortage of influenza vaccine gripped the country in the fall of 2004, forcing the elderly to wait in hourslong lines for a dose, often without success. The scarcity became such a hot political issue that both President Bush and his election challenger, John Kerry, forswore flu shots until the crisis eased.
But even as Illinois flu clinics closed for want of the vaccine, the Bears obtained shots through their prescribing physician and offered them to players — young men in superb physical condition who fell far outside the rationing guidelines established by federal health officials.
The uproar in Lake Forest was just one small part of a national ruckus over the vaccine that lasted for months. Along with cries of unfairness came reports of more sinister matters such as theft, smuggling and price gouging.
As America prepares to distribute another scarce vaccine, some are wary that history could repeat. Interpol is warning that criminals are scheming to intercept COVID-19 vaccines, and federal officials have raised concerns about counterfeit doses — the scenario that most worries Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.
“My biggest fear is not so much that too many celebrities will get it first,” he said. “Tragically, that’s going to happen. I just hope there’s not a lot of it. My biggest fear is the black market and the false market. I’m concerned about people fraudulently selling vaccine and people being defrauded by (phony promises).”
6 a.m.: It’s not just COVID-19 that’s closing schools — it’s a lack of substitute teachers. The shortage has reached crisis levels in some districts.
A nationwide shortage of substitute teachers was a chronic problem long before the arrival of the pandemic. But now, a dearth of available subs across the Chicago area has reached a crisis level at many school districts, where the roster of educators available to step in when teachers are absent has dwindled precipitously at a time of unprecedented need for their services.
Indeed, the prospect of working as a substitute as the virus continues to rage has discouraged the squad of loyal retired teachers and part-timers who often fill the ranks. Many have told school district officials that the potential health risks are not worth the extra income. That’s happened as the number of teachers and other school employees in quarantine is spiking alongside the latest surge of the virus, only pushing the demand higher.
In response, some districts are stepping up their substitute recruitment efforts to preserve in-person instruction. But others are concluding that remote learning, with all of its flaws, is perhaps the best option, at least until early 2021.
Here are some recent stories related to COVID-19.
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