* Click here for the grim reality. The numbers are current as of this morning.
The hardest hit facility is the Ludeman Developmental Center in Park Forest, where 68 staffers and 155 (out of 334) residents have tested positive and three staff members and residents have died.
Two staffers at the Woodlawn FCRC have died from the virus.
* Meanwhile, AFSCME is planning a press conference tomorrow featuring DCFS investigators who will demand changes to the department’s investigation procedures in this new era.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Dr. Ezike opened the press conference to talk about the importance of testing. The state tested 13,200 in the previous 24 hours and 269,867 in total, about 2 percent of the state’s population.
The governor then went over what the state has done to acquire things to allow them to do so many tests. And then he talked about new testing sites…
We’ve increased the number of public testing sites to 177 across the state. That’s up from 112 sites last Friday. These locations are entirely free, and they’re available in every region of the state.
Please pardon all transcription errors.
* And then he talked about the new EO on May 1…
I want to briefly touch on the changes that continue those efforts to move toward opening up, giving Illinoisans more flexibility, where it is safe to do so.
Starting tomorrow, retail stores can reopen by taking orders online and over the phone, and offering pickup and delivery. Greenhouses and garden centers will be opening with specified social distancing measures in place. Many of our state parks will be open and many golf courses open with strict social distancing measures in place. And elective surgeries that have been put off due to the crisis can now be scheduled in surgery centers and hospitals in compliance with IDPH guidance as we open things up and make progress.
Tomorrow will be the first day where adults and any children over the age of two and everyone medically able to tolerate a face covering will be required to wear one in any public place where they can’t maintain a six foot social distance.
All these changes represent a shift in our approach to COVID-19, a shift made possible by the millions of Illinoisans who have stepped up by staying home and keeping each other safe. To the vast, vast majority of you who believe in the power of being all in for your communities, thank you. Thank you for all that you’ve done and all that you continue to do it truly makes me proud of the people of our state.
* On to questions for the governor. Can you respond to the federal lawsuit filed by the Western Illinois pastor claiming his first amendment rights have been violated, and that the governor appears hostile to churches by not allowing them to gather. He plans to hold services Sunday. What is your reaction to that?…
Well first of all, so many of the pastors and faith leaders across the state have been partners with us and working with their parishioners to make sure that they’re staying at home and staying safe, and I’ve been grateful for their partnership in that.
These are difficult times for parishioners and for those of us who worship to not be able to access sometimes in person, your faith later. Especially as you know anxiety has come over people, coronavirus is a very serious infection that’s in the air, it’s around us and it’s caused people to need that kind of counsel. Most faith leaders have found new ways to connect with their parishioners on zoom conferencing, I’m holding services by teleconference. And I would encourage people to continue to do that.
And I would just urge the faith leaders who are concerned about the length of this to just put the health and safety of their congregants first. I think that’s uppermost in everybody’s minds, certainly uppermost in my mind.
And I would have everybody focused on the fact that we’re still climbing this ladder of hospitalizations and ICU beds being filled. And until we get to the other side, even according to President Trump’s plan, we really can’t begin to open up until we have 14 days of down cycle of those numbers.
* Reaction to the lawsuit specifically and the charges that his first amendment rights are violated, and really how far will you go to enforce the stay at home if he says he’s holding services Sunday?…
We’ve asked everybody to do the right thing and as I say parishioners and their pastors really have done the right thing across the state. So you know this person is, you know, a bit of an outlier. But everybody has the right to sue and we’ve seen in multiple states now, people have filed lawsuits on various things having to do with the stay at home order, but we’re gonna keep doing what we need to do to keep people safe.
* Several counties have either a sheriff or a state’s attorneys saying they won’t enforce your orders. Why should other counties think your orders are enforceable if other areas are refusing to enforce?…
Again, I would point people to the fact that people are still getting infected. More and more people are ending up in the hospital and more and more people are dying. We had 141 people die today. And not all of them were in Cook County or Chicago. Some of them were in Downstate Illinois. And it’s important for us just to pay attention to the fact that until we get to the other side of this, once again, I would point to President Trump’s plan, and their suggestion, put together with national experts that we really need to be extraordinarily careful until we begin to see those numbers subside.
* If people are starting to push back and saying well we’re not going to enforce this, we’re going to let you know people get away with. Going to church, for lack of a better phrase, by the way. Those were my words. What are you going to instruct you know the I don’t know state police or enforce state’s attorneys and district attorneys in various counties to double down?…
What I’m doubling down on is the fact that all the people who live in those counties are being put in harm’s way by those who are putting gatherings together of any sort, that are going to potentially infect others. And I’m doubling down on the idea that the health and safety of the people of those counties and of all across our state is at risk when people don’t follow the recommendations of the scientists, the doctors, the epidemiologists who are telling us that until we see a subsidence of these hospitalizations of infections, you heard they’re more than 2000 I think 2500 infections detected today, and that’s just a small fraction of those people who are in fact infected who don’t know that they are because we haven’t been able to test everybody. But we know that there are many, many people out there that are pre symptomatic, asymptomatic and yet have coronavirus. So if you put one of those people in a room full of parishioners, you run the risk that you’re going to get a kind of exponential run of this disease of this infection rather through a crowd of people that you love and care for.
* And I guess what I’m just directly asking is on behalf of all these folks is, will there be repercussions if there is a blatant defiance and other counties of your stay at home order?…
Nobody’s gonna, you know, run in and break up a gathering of churchgoers at that moment. But I will tell you that there are consequences of course. The state has the ability to enforce orders. But we’ve been looking to people to do the right thing and they should do the right thing. And I think the parishioners, by the way, ought to do the right thing and ask those who are faith leaders either not to hold those services or simply ask that they have something online that they can connect to rather than the potential for being infected.
* This is from Amy Jacobson, who writes verbatim smart public policy is not doing only what scientists say you as the governor have the power to convene Illinois lawmakers some who are not pleased with a 30 day extension. Don’t you think other voices from around the state representing their constituents need to be heard as well. Does the legislative branch have any role to play in this crisis or does the executive branch have total control?…
Well if Amy had read the executive order she would see that the legislature has the ability to meet. It is an essential organization under the executive order. I know that it’s very difficult and I’ve said this multiple times to get 177 members of the legislature plus their staffs together somewhere. And, you know, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It just means it’s extraordinarily difficult especially with all the processes of ledger, but this is something the legislators themselves will have to work out.
* Every newsroom is still getting dozens of complaints and from concerned people who are having trouble in a lot of cases simply getting online to certify we’re hitting roadblock after roadblock on the phone system. Any specific progress you can report in terms of overcoming those obstacles and any specific online updates that you can give us your online capacity has improved measurably?…
There’s no doubt the system’s started out unprepared for this unprecedented level of filings. But at this point, I must say, the ability to connect online is available to everyone. If they’re having trouble for some reason if they’ve filed earlier, forgotten their password, unable to get a password retrieval or something like that they may need to call in, we’ve expanded the number of people who are available to take those calls. There’s no doubt there are also people who no longer qualify for unemployment because either they filed a fraudulent form earlier, or there are some channel you know challenges to the veracity of certain aspects of the forms that they filed. And so, there, there are a lot of reasons why somebody might not be able to get through. But I will say that the systems themselves are actually operating reasonably well given that what we started with was a 10 year old system that’s been, as I said yesterday, one that you’ve had to, sort of, you know, build the plane while you’re trying to fly it with a lot more passengers than usual, so to speak.
* If I recall correctly you previously stated, you can only add so many call takers for unemployment claims because of federal training requirements, etc. Why not redirect and train other types of state employees like, you know, Department of Motor Vehicle workers, etc. to help process Unemployment Claims while they can’t do their regular jobs right now that’s something that you can do and should do [There is no such department in Illinois]…
It could have been done but it would have had to start a while ago because the training that someone gets to work at the Secretary of State’s office is very different than the training that it takes under federal guidelines to work at an IDES offers to take an unemployment claim. We’ve moved people, there are many more people answering phones today than there were when this whole process started. There’s no doubt about it we continue to try to build on that with IDs employees but I will say that that department has over many years, not been funded particularly well the systems haven’t been upgraded so it sort of started out in this difficult situation there aren’t a lot of resources people to draw upon, but we’ve drawn upon everyone that we can within the department to bring them all to the frontlines to answer these. It’s very difficult I must say, many of them are working overtime weekends and so on, to get done what they need to. And I will say that we’ve processed, many many claims I think you may know I talked about it a little bit ago that, you know, more than 800,000 claims have been processed already which is a ginormous number it’s you know it’s a significant multiple of any time before even back in the Great Recession. So, we’re actually at a decent point and IDs getting claims processed and people that are having have had extraordinary difficulty. Now should be able to get through their virtual unemployment call center, if you will, now that I’ve been running where staffers can work from home, it’s still in the works is when we have IDs employees working at home. But, and we have a, an offshoot for people who have questions that aren’t of a nature that require that federal training. That is a separate calling call center effort that we’ve been setting up
* Indianapolis and Marion County’s folks in Indiana announced that even though the stay at home order in Indiana has not been extended so in other words it lifts tomorrow. Marion County has announced it will not lift its own stay at home order until May 15. Could there be similar protocols in Illinois?…
So there are other orders that exist in Indiana and other states, and it is true that a county, or even a local government can have more stringent rules than the state has imposed. And that is what’s going on in Indiana and in some other states. And I know that there are places like, you’re in the city of Chicago, where there are some more stringent rules that we set out from the state imposed upon the city of Chicago, I mean that the city is imposed upon itself.
* Regarding the Indiana stay at home order. So with tomorrow being may 1 as of right now some businesses are planning to reopen in Indiana for example some shopping malls some that might not be far from Illinois border. What do you tell Illinois residents itching to get out of the house drive across the state to enjoy some shopping or something else that is open there that is not here?…
What we’ve told people and you know you’ve seen pictures of parties like in the city of Chicago happening where people are doing things that they shouldn’t be doing and that we know are dangerous for them. And I would just say that people need to use the common sense that they that Mother Nature, God gave them to not gather in those places to wear masks to keep six foot distancing to not participate in the activities that will put themselves and very importantly, their families when they come back from those places in danger.
* Do you still believe all of these officials who disagree with you are simply grandstanding or will you consider allowing local authorities to modify your new stay at home order, making it less restrictive not more locally? Do they know what’s best for their local areas or do you believe you do?…
Well, let’s start with it when he says, all of these local officials there are a few, and we’ve talked about them before, what we’ve tried to do is to follow the science, and I would encourage those who are thinking about breaking the rules to follow the science to, again, what we know is that people put themselves at risk when they don’t wear masks, when they gather in large groups. We know that people who are, who were going from place to place, and who are asymptomatic and not following any of the social distancing are putting other people at risk. And we know that in Illinois, we’ve seen the number of infections that come from one person who’s infected go down over time right, how many people get infected from the one infected person has gone down significantly over time. That’s not an accident. It doesn’t happen by nature that it went down, it went down because people stayed at home. It’s because people are following those social distancing rules. And so I would just suggest to to anyone that is considering breaking those rules that they’re really putting their citizenry in danger.
And I would just point out also to to those in Rockford, since he’s from WROK, unfortunately Rockford is a hotspot in the state, Winnebago county has quite a number of infections, and it’s something that we’re watching very closely. And it’s why people who live in that area and in the surrounding counties,need to be extraordinarily careful.
* Can you comment on the five republican congressman who sent a letter to you asking for regional reopening and you have I believe had a conversation with them as well and can you characterize that?…
I did actually we had a terrific conversation, it was the entire congressional delegation. I heard from I think three of the five congressmen who spoke up and had questions of, three of the five republican congressmen.
And it was a good dialogue and I don’t disagree with them that different areas of the state require different rules during this time. And that’s why we made some changes you see in this new executive order that goes into effect tomorrow. The state parks are not in, you know Cook County and Chicago right. The idea that people can get elective surgeries is much more available in areas outside of the collar counties and Cook County, because more infections exist, just by not the numbers in this area. And so, elective surgeries state parks golf courses and so on many of the things that we’ve opened up, just in this executive order that only is in effect for a month there is an indication indeed that of my recognition and our recognition that it’s different from one area to another, and we’ll be talking more about that as we put forward plans for reopening.
* A protest today called on you to lift the 1997 rent control preemption act and allow individual jurisdiction to deal with the rent issue. What is your stance on this and lifting that ban?…
As you know, this is a state law that’s in effect that the legislature can make a change to. And I know that many people have come to Springfield to talk about doing that. I’m, you know, for me, I want to make sure that people can pay their rent and that they’re not being pushed out from gentrification from their communities. So I would like to see changes made, but it is something a legislature needs to do.
* New York’s governor and the city’s mayor announced they’ll shut down mass transit overnight for deep cleaning. Any plans and talking to various mayors and cities to do that here?…
I would say that that’s something that the Mayor of the City of Chicago certainly should lead. We want to make sure that people are safe taking mass transit and figuring out what the right schedule for cleaning is I know they’re doing some of that now, I don’t know on what schedule and I would encourage them to look at that because as we open things up more and more people are going to take mass transit, buses, trains, etc. They need to know that when they’re taking it they’re safe.
* Response to the dropping rates of positivity and COVID tests that has happened in the last week?…
Dr. Ezike: So again, if, when we initiate we’ve gone through many evolutions of the testing criteria. If we go way back to January, February the testing criteria involved, having a contact with somebody from Wu Han, and having no specific symptoms, as we have relaxed the criteria. Obviously we are still attacking and say attacking we’re still targeting our high risk individuals people who are on the front lines if you will work in a grocery store or a pharmacy. But we potentially as we increase the number of tests you will potentially have people who have not had as high contact as maybe someone who’s working in the ICU 12 hours a day with COVID positive patients so you might see some decrease in the positivity rate but it is really important that we identify people as quickly as possible so we will have that lower positivity rate but be grateful for the ones that we identify.
* The CDC is reportedly saying there are far more deaths in Illinois than reported how many could there be? [He answered this question yesterday.]…
Dr. Ezike: These are kind of speculations that we try to use our data and make the most informed decisions. We did the way to try to get at that number is to look at the number of deaths that we’ve had in this period and then try to compare the amount of deaths that we had in the same time in previous years and have looked at that. We do see that compared to 2018 and 2019, the deaths that we’ve had from the period of March to April 15 are significantly higher for this 2020 time. And so when we take out the number of deaths that are actually responsible that we know are COVID related. We still have additional deaths that we can account for so one supposition could be that there are additional deaths that we have missed. But again, we don’t have the details on all of the deaths in real time like that takes several months so again we can make speculations that there are additional deaths
* When does the state plan to start widespread testing of workers and essential businesses, especially retail establishments and factories? Factory outbreaks could disrupt supply chains and retail outbreaks could threaten lots of workers and customers…
As fast as possible.
I guess I’ll expand and just say that you know today as you saw that you know we were reported about 13,200 tests were done, we’re averaging about 13 or 14,000 for the last week which is up significantly almost double, perhaps the week before. And we can continue to do that. But we have 6 million workers in the state of Illinois. And although we wouldn’t be able to test every worker every day, you do want to have the ability not only to surveillance test but also to target your testing to the most vulnerable communities, and people who work in those vulnerable settings.
* Has Illinois use the federal airbridge to bring back PPE from China? Why and for what, how are the goods that come on the airbridge sold, is it based on pre existing pre pandemic contracts and pricing and option or some other means?…
So it’s my understanding this is how the [program] works. It is not intended to bring goods to the state of Illinois, or to the city of Chicago. That’s not how the [program] works. How it works is, it was designed by the White House to, and we say air bridge it’s cargo planes, and what they’re bringing over are the PPE that are going to be that are handed over to distributors, existing distributors of medical supplies who have an existing set of customers, some of whom are in Illinois, some of whom are not in Illinois. So those goods get distributed by those private businesses as they see fit. Also some of the airbridge capacity is bringing over PPE that’s going to the federal stockpile and the needs of the federal government, our military for example. So that just, you know, I want to clarify for everybody. The airbridge really does not supply that state or local governments.
* According to the IDOC Governor Pritzker has commuted the sentence of 20 inmates, of those 28 are murder or involuntary manslaughter, of those 26 of those are serving life sentences and of that [garbled] had years left on their sentence. The governor has said in the past, most of the people being released they would have three to 12 months left, but the IDOC documentation says differently with some having several years. Can you explain why there is a discrepancy and with such violent criminals being released, how do you ensure public safety when commuting sentences. Has the governor himself reviewed the recommendation from the PRB or does he sign off on recommendations without reviewing the file?…
So I want to make clear to everybody that there are a lot of people who are released from prison because their sentences came to an end. Then there are people who are in the final six or nine months of a term in a sentence, and the, we’ve had the Department of Corrections director looking at only non violent offenders and and seeing if there are opportunities at this moment to release people early on good time, so that we can allow people who are non violent offenders to have a slightly shorter sentence but for the purpose of making sure that we’re keeping the staff at corrections and the prisoners themselves safe.
So that’s most of what we’re talking about when we talk about releases from our prisons. The few that the questioner is asking about are people who petition for clemency directly to the governor, they do that through the PRB, the Prisoner Review Board. That’s a board that reviews these cases and votes on them and makes recommendations, and even provides information because they have hearings and discuss those cases. And then they are recommended to me from them. And then I make a decision based upon those recommendations. Those members of the PRB are very responsible people, many of them have been on there for several years before I became governor. Their recommendations do have an enormous influence on me and very important to me is to make sure that anybody that we are releasing you know fits a set of criteria that minimize any risk to communities.
* Governor, the President is ending federal social distancing policies, leaving it up to the states. And conservatives here are fighting you on the stay at home order. How are you pivoting to adjust to all of that to the challenges?…
How am I pivoting to adjust to the challenges of it? Yeah. Look, we’re staying the course here of making sure that we’re keeping an eye on the health and safety of every Illinoisan wherever they live, whether they live in, you know, far southern Illinois and Cairo, [garbled] live in Freeport, or Rockford, and everywhere in between.
And guess what, just because they don’t live in Chicago or Cook County or the collar counties, does not mean that people are not in danger. And that’s why I’ve been very careful looking at the numbers all across the state but region by region, to make sure that as we look at reopening we’re extraordinarily focused on the details of each region. I’ve listened to many many mayors, many have written plans for their region that they wanted me to see. And we’re taking all of that into account as we talk to our epidemiologists and scientists to look at a phased in plan.
Reminder to everybody that it was actually the White House that put out at least the first plan that I had seen that looks at when and how could you reopen the nation’s economy. And, again, a reminder that plan, put together by the President, under his leadership and Vice President Pence, it says is that an area has to reach a peak, and then have 14 days of reduced numbers, hospitalizations, etc. And then you can begin with phase one, phase two, phase three under that plan. We’re following a lot of that guidance as we put our own plan for Illinois together.
* Can you clarify in what situations people will have to wear face coverings while outdoors. Beginning tomorrow, should people have one on hand if they go out for a walk or a jog or a bike ride around the neighborhood?…
I would suggest having one on hand. Again, it could be a T shirt that’s made into a face covering it doesn’t have to be a specific surgical mask or other kind of mask, but something that covers your nose and mouth. You don’t have to wear it at all times if you’re going running, jogging outside or bicycling. But if you encounter a crowd, a public space with a lot of people in it, that’s when you need to are required to put on a face covering. And of course, going to a grocery store or a pharmacy where you’re going to run into other people, we’re requiring face coverings in those circumstances.
* If there’s a detected outbreak in a food manufacturing factory does IDPH suggest testing for all employees? When is a shutdown recommended? And is the state tracking outbreaks at essential food manufacturers? What are you seeing?…
Dr. Ezike: Yes we are tracking all outbreaks throughout the state, including and we’ve had outbreaks at every type of facility, in meat processing plants, it’s daycares, it’s churches. We’ve seen them in every single type of setting. So we obviously start with the local health departments are the boots on the ground they are the first line of support for these facilities that are in their locale. We are always ready to assist in certain instances we have pulled in the CDC or NIOSH specifically that deals specifically as an arm of the CDC that deals with occupational safety of workers and so being able to identify different strategies that need to be employed to help keep the worker safe and also how to temper such outbreak so that goes on on a regular basis with any of the outbreaks that are identified.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Press release…
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 2,563 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 141 additional deaths.
Clinton County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 80s
Cook County: 1 female 20s, 2 males 20s, 1 male 30s, 1 male 40s, 4 females 50s, 6 males 50s, 2 females 60s, 16 males 60s, 5 females 70s, 16 males 70s, 15 females 80s, 9 males 80s, 6 females 90s, 6 males 90s, 1 female 100+
DuPage County: 1 male 40s, 1 female 50s, 1 male 50s, 2 males 60s, 2 males 70s, 4 females 80s, 5 males 80s, 1 female 90s, 4 males 90s
Jasper County: 1 female 80s
Jefferson County: 1 female 80s
Kane County: 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
Lake County: 1 male 20s, 1 male 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 3 females 80s, 2 males 80s, 1 female 90s
Macon County: 1 male 60s
Madison County: 1 female 80s, 1 unknown 90s
McHenry County: 1 male 80s
Out of State: 1 male 80s
Peoria County: 1 male 70s
St. Clair County: 1 female 90s
Will County: 1 male 40s, 2 females 80s
Winnebago County: 1 female 70s
Brown County is now reporting a case. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 52,918 cases, including 2,355 deaths, in 97 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have processed 13,200 specimens for a total of 269,867.
…Adding… From Dr. Ezike…
As of yesterday, 4953 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 1289 patients were in the ICU and 785 patients were on ventilators.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Another front to deal with…
* Hannah was kind enough to send me the suit…
Plaintiffs believe that, in these dark times, Illinoisans need the Spirit of Almighty God, but Pritzker’s orders have left them to settle for the lesser spirits dispensed out of the state’s liquor stores. The churches and pastors of Illinois are no less “essential” than its liquor stores to the health and well-being of its residents. Defendants have thus intentionally denigrated Illinois churches and pastors and people of faith by relegating them to second-class citizenship. Defendants have no compelling justification for their discriminatory treatment of churches and pastors and people of faith, nor have they attempted in any way to tailor their regulations to the least restrictive means necessary to meet any arguable compelling interest.
Plaintiffs intend to reopen and hold public worship services this Sunday, May 3. They justifiably fear arrest and prosecution if they do so, without immediate relief from this Court.
Plaintiffs seek temporary and permanent injunctive relief against Pritzker’s orders shuttering their church, church ministries, and pastoral activities, as illegal and unconstitutional on their face and as applied to Plaintiffs.
* The pastor was served a cease and desist order by Stephenson County Department of Public Health Adminstrator Craig Beintema last month…
On or about March 31, 2020, Defendant Beintema delivered a “Cease and Desist Notice” to Pastor Cassell […]
The Notice instructed Pastor Cassell that “your establishment, The Beloved Church, is required to adhere to [EO 2020-10].” And further that “[i]f you do not adhere to this Executive Order, the Illinois Department of Public Health has the authority to order that a place be closed and made off limits to the public.” It also stated, “[i]n addition to such order of closure issued … you may be subject to additional civil and criminal penalties.” And “[f]urthermore, police officers, sheriffs and all other officers in Illinois are authorized to enforce such orders.” The Notice specifically states that “Essential Businesses and Operations have not been defined to include religious gatherings of 10 or more people.”
In view of this Notice and Pritzker’s orders, Plaintiffs have suspended all communal activities at the Church building, including the Sunday services. Plaintiffs justifiably fear arrest, prosecution, fines, and jail time if they open their church building or hold religious services of any kind.
Then they go into the 30-day argument, the quarantine and isolation argument (even though they were served by the local public health department), a claim that since the curve has flattened, then Illinois is in a better place than it was in March (true, but it flattened at the peak, so it’s not a good place to be in), the regionalization argument, the Free Exercise Clause of the 1st Amendment argument, freedom to assemble, due process, etc.
* What they want from the judge…
Plaintiffs seek a declaration that Pritzker was without the power or authority to issue EO 2020-18, by which Defendant Pritzker purported to extend the prohibitions set forth in EO 2020-10 through April 30, 2020; that he is without the power or authority to issue any additional extension of the prohibitions set forth in EO 2020-18 and EO 2020-18 as he has publicly announced he intends to do; and that he is without the power or authority to quarantine or isolate Illinois residents or order shutdowns of Illinois churches, without following the strictures of the IDPH Act and allowing residents and churches the due process provided them under the IDPH Act and related administrative rules.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Looks like more reporters and security than actual protesters…
They’re demanding a governor unilaterally overturn a decades-old statute, even though their own legislative efforts have come up short time and time again.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: People need to stop using a global pandemic to advance their own failed legislative causes via executive action. It’s a truly dangerous way of thinking.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Second City Cop…
The leftists in many state governments are actively attempting to wreck the economy in the hopes of removing the current Administration in DC. This is what Virginia had in place, but it’s basically the same across the country:
• Moving downward: percentage of positive tests over 14 days
• Moving downward: hospitalizations over 14 days
• Enough hospital beds and intensive care capacity
• Increasing and sustainable supply of PPE
* That’s the White House plan. An excerpt from an April 16 post entitled “White House releases its plan”…
* The White House’s plan for “reopening” the economy has a lot of thoughtful and wise preconditions. For instance, this is something we’ve been talking about this week and it’s in an integral part of the initial “gating criteria”…
Downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period
Downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period (flat or increasing volume of tests)
That is hugely important. And we are not yet there by any means and nobody really knows when we will be, either nationally or in Illinois. To be on the safe side, the guidelines also include a mandate for a two-week downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses and covid-like syndromic cases.
* Also, hospitals must be doing this…
Treat all patients without crisis care
Robust testing program in place for at-risk healthcare workers, including emerging antibody testing
If you click here, you’ll see all the points listed above are actually not from “leftist” governors, but from the White House.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Mark Brown…
[Clay County Circuit Judge Michael McHaney] even advanced a particularly ignorant notion of how he thinks COVID-19 death statistics are being juiced in Illinois.
“With respect to these statistics you’re throwing out here and all of that, isn’t it true that if I die in a car wreck, and I happen to test positive for COVID-19, my cause of death for purposes of what this governor is doing is COVID-19?” McHaney asked.
Let me answer that one, seeing as how the state’s lawyer said he didn’t know. The answer is: “No!”
I’ve been studying the Cook County Medical Examiner’s daily report of COVID-19 related deaths for weeks, and — as other reporters have noted — I can tell you there’s not a single car wreck victim among the 1,603 persons who had died through Thursday. And remember that Cook County accounts for more than 72% of the state’s COVID-19 death toll.
- Posted by Rich Miller
More than 3.8 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week as the U.S. economy slid further into a crisis that is becoming the most devastating since the 1930s.
Roughly 30.3 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the six weeks since the coronavirus outbreak began forcing millions of employers to close their doors and slash their workforces. That is more people than live in the New York and Chicago metropolitan areas combined, and it’s by far the worst string of layoffs on record. It adds up to more than 1 in 6 American workers.
In Illinois, another 81,245 people filed initial claims for benefits in the week that ended April 18, a drop of 21,691 from the previous week, the Labor Department said. Since mid-March, almost 819,000 Illinois residents have applied for unemployment insurance benefits.
With more employers cutting payrolls to save money, economists have forecast that the unemployment rate for April could go as high as 20%. That would be the highest rate since it reached 25% during the Great Depression.
819,000 Illinois workers would be about 13 percent of March’s civilian labor force.
U.S. consumer spending plunged 7.5% in March, reflecting the growing impact of the coronavirus pandemic as Americans complied with stay-at-home orders.
The Commerce Department said that the spending decline was the sharpest monthly drop on records that go back to 1959, exceeding the previous record, a decline of 2.1% in January 1987.
Personal incomes also fell sharply last month, declining by 2% with wages and salaries, the largest part of incomes, falling by 3.1% as millions of Americans started getting lay-off notices. […]
The government reported Wednesday that the overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, shrank at an annual rate of 4.8% in the January-March quarter, led by the biggest quarterly drop in consumer spending since 1980.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* As I told you yesterday, Germany was able to get its R-Naught value down to 0.7 from its peak of 1.3 when it started opening up its economy a bit this month.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a scientist by trade, allowed small retailers with stores up to 8,600 square feet to reopen. Larger stores were also allowed to reopen if they cordoned off everything beyond the 8,600 square feet limit. Auto and bike dealers, bookstores and other businesses were also allowed to reopen. Some schools reopened.
The whole world was watching in the hope that Germany’s so far successful experiment would work.
But then the government announced that the R value had moved almost back up to 1 and Merkel warned the country could start closing down again…
“If we get to a point where each patient is infecting 1.1 people, then by October we will be back at the limits of our health system in terms of intensive care beds,” Mrs Merkel added.
“If we get to 1.2… then we will hit the full capacity of our health system as early as July.
“And if it’s 1.3, we hit the full capacity of our health system in June. So you can see how little room for manoeuvre we have.”
* A quick look at the R0 value…
Pronounced “R-naught,” it represents the number of new infections estimated to stem from a single case.
In other words, if R0 is 2.5, then one person with the disease is expected to infect, on average, 2.5 others.
An R0 below 1 suggests that the number of cases is shrinking, possibly allowing societies to open back up. An R0 above 1 indicates that the number of cases is growing, perhaps necessitating renewed lockdowns or other measures.
But R0 is messier than it might look. It is built on hard science, forensic investigation, complex mathematical models — and often a good deal of guesswork. It can vary radically from place to place and day to day, pushed up or down by local conditions and human behavior.
That last paragraph is something to keep in mind.
* Hannah Meisel at the Daily Line has reported that the IDPH Director claimed on Monday Illinois’ most recent R0 figure was 1.4.
Gov. JB Pritzker was on WJPF Radio yesterday and broke a little news…
At the beginning of this, there was an estimate by the scientists that for every one person that was infected, 3.5 other people were going to get infected. And that’s what it was when we had no stay at home order and this was just a free for all and nobody knew what was going on.
Because of our stay at home order, that number now came down to about 1.25.
So, can you imagine how many people have been kept safe and healthy, out of the hospital out of an ICU bed, out of a ventilator and kept from dying as a result of what the people of Illinois, not me, what the people of Illinois have done for each other, wearing masks, or face coverings staying at home or, you know, staying out of large groups and so on. We’ve really made a lot of progress.
So having said that, it is time for us to begin to turn the dial up a little bit to allow people to do more, we want to make sure the economy gets better for people more people get to go back to work and that’s the the future here. But we just have to be extremely careful.
That’s good news, but we’re nowhere near where Germany was when it started reopening. And we’re still above a level that Germany dreads and not far below the country’s original peak.
* Also, as the governor also noted yesterday, hospitalizations are perhaps the most accurate number we have…
Our hospitalizations are somewhat stable. And that, to me, says something really good about the future because, unfortunately, fatality numbers are lagging indicators. Hospitalizations are somewhat a leading indicator, or at least the best tell for how are we doing, are we actually getting this under control or not.
* Back to Hannah Meisel…
- Posted by Rich Miller
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* The attorney general’s appeal of the TRO preventing the state from enforcing the governor’s executive order on Rep. Darren Bailey was filed yesterday. Part of the appeal focuses on whether the TRO itself is legally valid. Here’s some of the rest…
The primary objective of statutory interpretation “is to ascertain and give effect to the legislature’s intent.” Whitaker v. Wedbush Secs., Inc., 2020 IL 124792 ¶ 16 (citations omitted). “The most reliable indicator of legislative intent is the statutory language.” Id. Section 7 grants the Governor the authority to declare that a “disaster exists” in certain circumstances, including during a public health emergency or epidemic. 20 ILCS 3305/7. If the Governor determines that a disaster exists and issues a disaster proclamation, he may exercise “emergency powers” for a 30-day period thereafter; specifically: “[u]pon such proclamation, the Governor shall have and may exercise for a period not to exceed 30 days the following emergency powers[.]” Id. The plain text of section 7 contains no limitation on the number of proclamations the Governor may issue to address a particular disaster. On the contrary, section 7 establishes a single criterion necessary: that a disaster “exists.”
Here, the Governor concluded that a disaster existed on March 9, and issued his first proclamation. On April 1, in issuing a second proclamation, the Governor concluded that a disaster still existed. By issuing proclamations on those dates, the Governor properly exercised the “emergency powers” conferred by section 7 for “a period not to exceed 30 days” after each issuance.
Nonetheless, Bailey argued—and the circuit court agreed—that the Governor has acted unlawfully because the 30-day period is triggered by the disaster’s initial date. That is belied by the Act’s plain text, which ties the period to the issuance of a proclamation (not the disaster). Nor does allowing successive disaster proclamations “render the 30-day limitation meaningless.” The 30-day limitation requires the Governor to make the periodic determination that a “disaster” still in fact “exists.” The Governor has not purported to exercise emergency powers indefinitely; he has issued disaster proclamations for 30- day periods. But if the factual circumstances change—as every Illinoisan hopes they will—the Governor may no longer be able to reasonably conclude that a disaster still exists. At that point, the Governor’s emergency powers would expire 30 days after issuance of the most recent disaster proclamation.
* More on legislative intent…
The theory that the Governor is permitted only a single, 30-day proclamation per disaster, if applied more broadly, threatens to nullify the emergency actions the Governor has taken since April 8. Accepting Bailey’s argument means COVID-19 would once again begin its exponential spread throughout the State, resulting in the inevitable loss of many lives. That cannot be the result the General Assembly intended.
Finally, although the General Assembly has amended the Act at least 11 times—most recently in 2018—it has not added any language to stop Illinois governors from maintaining their practice of issuing multiple or successive disaster proclamations when the disaster continues to exist. Nor has the General Assembly convened in recent weeks to pass legislation indicating that the Governor has acted outside of his lawful authority. On the contrary, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the General Assembly has cancelled its previously cancelled sessions. […]
Critically, the General Assembly did not prohibit the Governor from taking the actions that Bailey challenged. Bailey argued that the authority given to the Governor by section 7 of the Act lapsed on April 8, not that the Act affirmatively prohibits the Governor from taking action apart from that 30-day grant of authority. [Emphasis added.]
- Posted by Rich Miller
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