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Coronavirus roundup

Thursday, Feb 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) says Illinois needs a point person to coordinate coronavirus containment efforts with the federal government.

“We need a person with a strong medical background who can serve as a liaison between Illinois and Washington D.C.,” McSweeney said. “Millions of people visit Chicago every year. The impact this coronavirus would have on our state could be severe. It is important that we work with the federal government and make sure all of our state agencies are taking the appropriate measures. Governor Pritzker should immediately appoint someone to coordinate these efforts.”

Illinois currently has two confirmed coronavirus cases both in Chicagoland area.

“The disease is already here,” McSweeney said. “The Governor should be proactive in protecting Illinois citizens from this potentially deadly virus.”

* I asked the governor’s office for a response…

The health and safety of Illinoisans is a top priority for Governor Pritzker that’s why our state agencies have been coordinating to protect our residents since day one. IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau manages all state emergencies and IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike, who has decades of experience in public health, leads a team of qualified experts. IDPH has a team of seasoned epidemiologists who are working closely with other state agencies like IEMA as well as the CDC, CDPH and other public health partners to implement measures that have been able to successfully contain the virus to this point and they are now working diligently to prepare the state and keep our communities safe in the event of further spread.

As subscribers already know, the state’s head epidemiologist recently resigned.


The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is working with local, state, and federal health partners to take all preventative steps available to limit the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). While COVID-19 is not spreading in communities in Illinois or the U.S., there is evidence of community spread in several countries around the world and IDPH is committed to working across local, state, and federal agencies to ensure Illinois is prepared.

IDPH is currently conducting hospital assessments to determine all available capacity in the event more people need medical care. IDPH is also assessing the availability of personal protective equipment such as gloves, gowns, and masks for health care workers. Earlier this month, Illinois became the first state to provide COVID-19 testing in-state and IDPH is continuing to work on increasing capacity for testing to ensure rapid results.

“As additional cases of COVID-19 are diagnosed in an increasing number of countries, the Illinois Department of Public Health is working with health care providers and local public health officials, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other state agencies to coordinate a robust response and take every possible step we can to prepare,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “Illinois has already led the charge, becoming the first state to be able to test for COVID-19 at state laboratories. As we move forward, we are working across city, state, and federal agencies to identify all available resources and ensure we are using every tool to keep our communities safe.”

Since January 2020, IDPH has worked closely with local, state, and federal partners to successfully contain the virus in Illinois, with only two confirmed cases. Efforts have included:

* Implementing testing for COVID-19 in Illinois, becoming the first state to do so.
* Setting up a statewide hotline for questions about coronavirus
* Providing guidance and recommendations to local health departments, hospitals, EMS, clinicians, and other partners in a variety of areas:

    * Assessment for COVID-19 in patients based on risk due to travel or close contact to a confirmed case
    * Evaluation and reporting persons under investigation
    * Infection control practices
    * Precautions for schools, universities/colleges, and students
    * Isolation/quarantine
    * Prevention steps for caregivers and close contacts
    * Specimen submission and testing
    * Recommended strategies for personal protective equipment use
    * Emergency department call triage
    * Emergency Medical Services and 911 call center response

* Providing routine briefings to the General Assembly
* Communicating with the public by creating a coronavirus disease webpage, issuing news releases, hosting press conferences, conducting interviews, and providing information on social media.

While efforts to contain the number of COVID-19 cases will continue, Illinois will also utilize community mitigation strategies. Community mitigation aims to slow the spread of a novel virus in communities using nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) better known as “everyday preventive actions” including staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, frequent handwashing, and routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and objects.

In the absence of medications or vaccines, community mitigation measures are the first line of defense against highly transmissible infectious diseases. Preventative actions should be practiced by Illinoisans at all times, but especially as we continue to monitor potential spread of a new virus.

…Adding… Correct…

* Related…

* Coronavirus could lead to drug shortages in US: About 90% of the active ingredients used by U.S. companies in drug manufacturing come from China, which has prompted politicians and public health experts to express concern over potential shortages of common generics. To date, manufacturing disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, haven’t led to reported shortages in the U.S., but the Food and Drug Administration said it’s closely monitoring the situation. The FDA said earlier this week it was tracking about 20 drugs that are manufactured primarily in China. Depending on the drug, stockpiles lasting weeks, perhaps months, have been warehoused, according to supply chain experts.

* What the state is doing about coronavirus

* Illinois public health officials briefing state legislature on coronavirus developments: “IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike has held conference call briefings with legislators’ offices as new information becomes available,” said IDPH spokesperson Chris Martinez. “[The] director and IDPH staff have also been available to answer questions or to provide an update in person or via phone at any time.”

* Patient screened for coronavirus at Belleville Memorial Hospital: “Following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, BJC HealthCare hospitals have processes in place to screen patients for risk of coronavirus, or COVID-19,” a statement from BJC Healthcare read. “Based on medical symptoms and travel history, patients may be referred for further laboratory testing. Memorial Hospital Belleville has referred one patient to the Illinois Department of Public Health for testing and is expecting results in the next few days.”

* Area health departments address increasing coronavirus risk: Champaign-Urbana Public Health District has entered what it calls “full pandemic preparedness mode.” They haven’t done that in more than a decade, since the H1N1 virus in 2009. They’re making plans on what to do if the virus comes to central Illinois. Part of that is by holding meeting with hospitals and doctors and communicating with the public on prevention. … A lot of people are wearing surgical masks as a precaution to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, the CDC does not recommend this for a way to stop yourself from getting it. It is best used for those who are sick and want to keep from spreading whatever they have.

* America’s bad paid sick leave policy could make the coronavirus outbreak worse: There is no federal law guaranteeing paid time off for illness, and paid sick leave is comparatively rare for lower-wage workers. Just 63 percent of people working in service occupations have paid sick leave, versus more than 90 percent of people in management positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For people working part-time, just 43 percent can get sick leave from their employer.

* Japan cancels all school for a month, Saudi Arabia puts hajj on hold as coronavirus spreads

* Is the coronavirus a threat to Southern Illinois? Here are 5 things you should know: The deadliness of an outbreak is often measured by the case fatality rate, or the ratio of deaths to the total number of cases in a given area. Within China, the overall fatality rate is 2.3%. The older you are, the greater the risk, Chinese health officials determined in a study released earlier this month. For those younger than 50, the death rate was less than 1%, a number that increases to nearly 15% for people over 80.

* Stocks Fall Sharply As Concern Over Coronavirus Grows

* Pence Picks Top U.S. AIDS Official for Coronavirus Response: Investors anxious about the spread of the coronavirus from its origins in China have sought assurances that the Trump administration is prepared to confront a potential public health crisis. Trump, who in the past has called for budget cuts at the CDC and other health agencies, said Wednesday he would bring in officials from within the government to help with the virus response.


  1. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 1:23 pm:

    The President has made clear he does not like the messaging on the coronavirus. He doesn’t care about the truth, he only cares about what makes him look good or bad. I suspect that the information we get from the government from now on will downplay the seriousness of the coronavirus’s impact on the U.S. When you turn a public health crisis and make it all about whether you look good or not - that’s dangerous.

  2. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 1:26 pm:

    “Pence Picks Top U.S. AIDS Official for Coronavirus Response”

    From the article:

    Vice President Mike Pence has selected the State Department’s top AIDS official, Deborah Birx, to join his coronavirus response team, his office announced on Thursday.

    Birx is a career government official who was nominated by former President Barack Obama in 2014 as the U.S. global AIDS coordinator responsible for overseeing humanitarian aid programs combating the epidemic. She also served as head of the global HIV/AIDS division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and was a top research official at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

    The first glimmer of competence in this administration response to the virus.

    – MrJM

  3. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 1:33 pm:

    -Illinois currently has two confirmed coronavirus cases both in Chicagoland area.-

    Nope. Had. They have both been out of the hospital for weeks and aren’t even on home isolation anymore.

  4. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 1:35 pm:

    This, however, does not bode well:

    The decision to put Mr. Pence in charge was made on Wednesday after the president told some people that the vice president didn’t “have anything else to do,” according to people familiar with the president’s comments.

    – MrJM

  5. - Blue Dog Dem - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 1:35 pm:

    Last year, in the US, over 600,000 people died from cancer. Bring on that dirty little virus. We’ll kick your butt.

  6. - Responsa - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 1:36 pm:

    I support whatever can be done to de-politicize the corona virus response while hopefully the best doctors and research virologists and immunologists in the country are deployed to fight the battle. It gains no politican any benefit to either over play or under play the risks and concerns and I pray they understand this.

  7. - CDC - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 1:36 pm:

    This health risk adds further importance to Senator Steans vaccination bill. We can’t let anti vaxxers make this worse, especially if and when vaccine is developed for it.

    I gotta agree, Trump putting Pence (who couldn’t or wouldn’t take on a HIV epidemic when he was Indiana Gov) in charge seems like a move focused on maintaining his narrative then effectively fighting this. I’m worried how the gov response will effect the election, if at all.

  8. - Rabble - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 1:37 pm:

    I think it a shame that a situation this serious is now becoming just another thing for the Republicans and Democrats to fight over. I am sick of the fighting.

  9. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 1:40 pm:

    === Bring on that dirty little virus. We’ll kick your butt.===
    Or the other way around. It takes at least a couple years to develop a vaccine.

  10. - illinifan - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 1:44 pm:

    With a potential case in California that appears to be community spread it is important to recognize that this illness will spread. The challenge is we are also in the height of the flu season. It will be important to be calm, take the precautions recommended (wash hands and stay home if sick), and not overwhelm an already overwhelmed health system. ERs are at capacity dealing with the flu. That illness has already killed 10,000 people in the US this season.

  11. - Wensicia - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 1:49 pm:

    If the President or Vice President try to restrict important coronavirus information and updates from public release, the backlash will be intense, especially when state leaders will be front and center with their updates.

  12. - Scott Cross for President - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 1:52 pm:

    Cook County passed a paid sick leave policy, in part for this scenario.

    May be a good time for a state law to give all Illinoisians this protection.

  13. - Just Another Anon - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 1:52 pm:

    >He doesn’t care about the truth.
    I don’t know that this is an issue of the truth, I actually think that the media may be running a bit amok with this issue. CV has an approximate fatality rate of 2.5%. This thing ain’t the common cold, but it certainly isn’t SARS (9.6%) or MERS (35%) respectively. I can’t help but think that this is overblown. I mean, the common flu has a fatality rate of .1%. We aren’t talking the Plague of Justinian (40% fatality rate in Constantinople), the Plague of Galen, or the 1918 Spanish Flu (10% fatality). If Trumps intent is to try to minimize sensationalism among the media (and lets admit, the 24 hour news cycle loves a good disease storyline), by making sure that public statements can’t be misconstrued (like the recent election statements about Russian interference) I don’t think that unreasonable.

  14. - DuPage Moderate - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 1:55 pm:

    Not sure how anyone thinks this is containable. No symptoms for days despite being contagious and it apparently comes back after “cure.” No way it won’t spread with those conditions.

    Let’s make smart decisions, wash our hands and get back on with life.

  15. - lost in the weeds - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 1:55 pm:

    Right now there seems lack of reliable data on how this disease may progress. Hopefully in the next few days/weeks more data will be forthcoming. Areas of concern. One, there is one case of community spread cited in US. That is limited data to rely on. What is reliability of test that was used?

    Weak cases likely not detected. Unknown if these weak cases exist.

    This makes it hard to know the degree of spread this disease will have without this data.

    Reliability of China data unknown.

  16. - Responsa - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 2:01 pm:

    ==Reliability of China data unknown.==

    This indeed is a huge roadblock to understanding this disease. If ever there were an example of “unreliable narrator”, the Chinese propaganda machine with respect to the start and spread and toll of this new virus is it.

  17. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 2:02 pm:

    == I actually think that the media may be running a bit amok with this issue. ==

    I’ve been reading various worldwide reports and I agree, for now until we have better data from sources outside the originating country, the media has been a bit over the top.

    And I see nothing wrong with one consistent message as long as it follows the scientific data. Trump has a valid concern about people going off half cocked with incomplete data.

  18. - lost in the weeds - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 2:02 pm:

    2.5 percent widely spread to 3.5 billion people, would result in about 100 million dead worldwide and in the US, 5 million. This based on 50 percent communicability.

    Big difference from .1% fatality.

    I would be careful downplaying this or comparing to past plaques without more data.

  19. - Streator Curmudgeon - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 2:03 pm:

    I have absolutely no confidence that the government, at any level, will tell the truth and the full truth about anything.

    This is based on decades of careful observing and reading reliable books and articles about historic events that were covered up/obfuscated.

    I’m not paranoid, just a cynical realist.

  20. - don the legend - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 2:18 pm:

    I don’t think the coronavirus is the subject that I will pick to start believing what comes out of the Trump administration.

  21. - AlfondoGonz - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 2:29 pm:

    I, for one, welcome a nice culling.

    Though Rush Limbaugh says it is just the common cold.

  22. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 2:30 pm:

    ===but it certainly isn’t SARS (9.6%) ===

    SARS cases with onset of illness from 1 November 2002 to 31 July 2003: 8096.

    Coronavirus Cases so far: 82,781

  23. - OneMan - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 2:40 pm:

    Still think this may end up having a significant impact on the logistics of the primary.

  24. - fedup - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    Even with the lack of reliable data, COVID-19 appears to be much more contagious than other recent diseases. As lost in the weeds observes, this eventually could impact a bunch of us.

  25. - Montrose - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    I highly recommend listening to today’s episode of the podcast The Daily for a very good explanation of how this virus is different from SARS and others, and why there is a legitimate concern about its growth.

  26. - Southern Illinois Mayor - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 3:06 pm:

    This would seem to be at least as bad as the 1918 flu pandemic and possibly a little more deadly, as earlier mentioned China numbers seem suspect me so maybe better maybe worse. But all in all this is shaping up to be a major event, anything close to 1918 would make for a highly impactful event. For example in 1918-1919 the average age dropped by 12 years.

  27. - Merica - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 3:17 pm:

    “welcome a nice culling” - that’s my/our friends and family members you’re talking about, and the damage to the economy, to our pensions, it could be unfathomable.

    this is the price we pay for electing a reality show host as President. We were so comfortable we took it all for granted.

  28. - Pundent - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 4:16 pm:

    =Trump putting Pence (who couldn’t or wouldn’t take on a HIV epidemic when he was Indiana Gov) in charge seems like a move focused on maintaining his narrative then effectively fighting this.=

    Well somebody has to be thrown under the bus if this goes horribly wrong and it won’t be the President.

  29. - Rudy’s teeth - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 4:18 pm:

    Lots of folks in Indiana have no teeth thanks to Mike Pence’s handling of the meth, heroin and fentanyl crisis. Hope he does a better job with the coronavirus. As governor of Indiana, he had a responsibility to the citizens to do better.

  30. - yinn - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 5:33 pm:

    I participated today in a conference call about COVID-19 hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations. Audio of the report by CFR’s expert, Tom Bollyky, should be available in a day or two.

    The specific topic was about state and local planning for the new coronavirus. There was discussion of developing protocols for social distancing strategies where effectiveness of quarantine drops off, and the potential need to increase not only hospital capacity for the acute stages but also residential medical bed capacity due to long recovery times in complicated cases (e.g., development of pneumonia in older people).

  31. - Just Saying - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 5:54 pm:

    Rudy’s Teeth - people go out and do meth and loose their teeth and it is Pence’s fault. If I cut my arm off with a saw, if that JB’s fault?

  32. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 6:27 pm:

    ===If I cut my arm off with a saw, is that JB’s fault?===
    No but if it was a workplace accident you would be better off if it happened in Illinois. Pence signed a law in 2013 limiting money paid to providers in workman’s comp cases in Indiana. The policies of leaders does affect health.

  33. - Rudy’s teeth - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 6:38 pm:

    My comments often involve hyperbole. And, it’s lose not loose.

  34. - Not a Billionaire - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 6:42 pm:

    We risk wildlife disease here too. There is CWD and Mad Squirrel.

  35. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 6:51 pm:

    === And, it’s lose not loose.===
    To be fair, first the teeth get loose, then you lose them.

  36. - Honestabe - Thursday, Feb 27, 20 @ 7:15 pm:

    Rabble I couldn’t agree more. Time for the bickering to end. I’ve had enough as well.

  37. - The Jungle - Friday, Feb 28, 20 @ 4:51 am:

    One question. Cause/Point of origin? Think.

  38. - NoGifts - Friday, Feb 28, 20 @ 7:01 am:

    Many people might be hospitalized? Tons of people with $6K insurance deductibles and $8k out pocket annual limits. per person. This may push us into single payer/medicare for all.

  39. - Pundent - Friday, Feb 28, 20 @ 7:57 am:

    =Time for the bickering to end.=

    Democracy and the fight to keep it can be messy. It’s always been that way. What we need is leadership and there’s a serious void in that area right now.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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