* The news out of Germany is not heartening…
Germany faces the prospect of returning to a stricter lockdown after a surge in coronavirus infections and deaths.
The country has slowly been easing its lockdown after faring much better than its European neighbors as a result of an aggressive policy of mass testing.
But the country’s virus reproduction rate - known as “R” - which measures how many people the average person with Covid-19 infects has bounced back to just below one.
That means one person with the virus infects one other on average. Earlier this month, the rate was at 0.7. […]
Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned if the R rate increases even slightly above 1 then the country’s health service faces being overwhelmed.
“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,” she said.
“If we get to 1.2 . . . then we will hit the full capacity of our health system as early as July.
Earlier this month, the country took its first step to gradually restart public life as the propagation rate of the virus fell.
Small retailers with a surface area of up to 8,600 square feet, car and bicycle dealerships, as well as bookstores, were allowed to reopen while keeping social distancing in place. Next week, some students are expected to return to school.
* Hannah Meisel at the Daily Line…
Illinois Department of Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike on Monday said the most recent confirmed R0 figure for Illinois was 1.4 — a number epidemiologists use to determine the reproductive ratio of a virus — or how fast a virus is spreading in a given population.
Illinois’ R0, or R naught, value is decreasing, but hasn’t yet fallen enough yet to let up on the state’s stay-at-home order, Ezike said. The R0 value is the reproductive ratio of a virus.
Germany didn’t start to reopen until it was at R0.7 and now it’s rising again. Illinois is somewhere around R1.4. But, hey, a few folks are screaming about reopening right away, so let’s listen to them!
Jacksonville Republican Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer said Wednesday Illinois lawmakers should be called back to Springfield to vote on whether to extend the state-at-home order that Gov. JB Pritzker is planning to extend.
Davidsmeyer, along with Reps. Norine Hammond of Macomb and Dan Ugaste of Geneva, contended that Pritzker does not have the authority to extend the order beyond its original 30 days. Pritzker declared the original order – which was to expire April 30 – will be extended until the end of May, although with modifications.
“What we are talking about here is the governor’s authority to go past that 30 days of emergency power,” Davidsmeyer said. “Whether you agree with the governor or disagree with the governor, we believe that a separate but equal branch of the government, the General Assembly, should have input in the direction of the state of Illinois.”
So far, there has been no public commentary by either House Speaker Madigan or Senate President Harmon about reconvening.
* WMBD TV…
The Woodford County state’s attorney said he will not enforce Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order extension at the county level.
State’s attorney Greg Minger sent an email to chief deputy of the Woodford County Sheriff’s Office Dennis Tipsword this week, essentially saying he will not prosecute those who violate the governor’s order. He said the people should determine what is best and safest for them and their community, whether that means staying home or going back to work and opening nonessential businesses.
“I cannot let the powers that be continue to impose their will on the people in violation of separation of powers, due process, and our most basic concepts of liberty and freedom for all,” Minger wrote. “We need to live in a world with COVID-19…no doubt about it. But the basic ideals our country were established on and that people have fought so hard for over the past more than 200 years cannot be eroded in this way.”
That’s the same state’s attorney who is prosecuting a nine-year-old for murder.
* Press release…
Aurora Sportsmen’s club today issued letters of inquiry to Governor Pritzker, Attorney General Kwame Raul, and Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Erin Guthrie seeking rationale for the governor’s executive orders and the subsequent rule-making surrounding them. Additionally, a letter was sent to Attorney General Barr alerting him to what we believe is an overreach of the governor’s emergency authority in prohibiting constitutionally protected activities.
Over the past three weeks members of our board of directors have reached out to State of Illinois and DeKalb County officials for a clear explanation for the reasons ASC can not operate beyond the fact that we were not specifically named as an essential business in the governor’s executive orders. None have been provided. We are now publicly seeking answers.
While some firing ranges are allowed to operate under the Governor’s March 20th, 2020 Executive Order #10, ranges that do not have a retail presence selling firearms or firearms related accessories or ammunition have been told they are to remain closed.
Aurora Sportsmen’s Club believes the mandated closure of shooting ranges that do not have a retail presence is unconstitutional under Heller v. District of Columbia, McDonald v. City of Chicago, and particularly Ezell v. City of Chicago.
We believe that if dog groomers and marijuana dispensaries, neither of which are protected by an enumerated constitutional right, are allowed to operate, then shooting ranges such as Aurora Sportsmen’s Club should be allowed to operate as well.
Aurora Sportsmen’s Club continues to weigh it’s legal options and the responses to our letters of inquiry from government officials in Springfield will weigh heavily on our decisions moving forward.
The Harrisburg City Council decided not to defy Illinois Gov. J.B. Prtizker’s stay-at-home order by allowing retailers, hair and nail salons to open May 1 as Mayor John McPeek originally proposed. Instead, McPeek and council members opted for a softer approach. They are encouraging area government and business leaders to write letters to the governor asking that he begin to take steps to further loosen restrictions in areas with relatively few COVID-19 cases.
During a special meeting Tuesday morning broadcast via Zoom, the council heard from several Harrisburg business owners who believe they should be able to begin accepting clients again, with restrictions. But McPeek said the potential consequences are too risky for the city to endorse a policy in opposition to the state’s. Some of the business owners also said that, while they want to open, it would not be worth it for barbers, cosmetologists and aestheticians to risk their state licensure.
Protesters who want Gov. J.B. Pritzker to announce a plan to reopen the Illinois economy have scheduled a Friday rally outside the Thompson Center in the Loop. […]
The Loop event is being organized by Freedom Movement USA, which on its website describes itself as “a group of like-minded Republican activists.” The organization has held pro-President Donald Trump rallies in other parts of the state.
I looked around Facebook and this is a pretty small group.
* Tribune live blog…
Chicago area unemployment reached 4.8% in March as coronavirus took its toll. Experts say that number will jump in April.
Experimental drug remdesivir proved effective against COVID-19 in major study, drugmaker Gilead says
Trump order keeps meatpacking plants open, but unions say workers unsafe
Voices of the pandemic: How the coronavirus changes the lives of Chicagoans, in their own words
Divvy extends free rides for health care workers, lower charges for others
Medline wants FDA approval to sterilize N95 masks with ethylene oxide. Two other federal agencies are against it, citing cancer risks for health care workers.
Illinois COVID-19 restrictions will ease for nonessential retailers and animal groomers, but it won’t be business as usual
* Sun-Times live blog…
South Side seniors keep up weekly bingo date with video chat
Roomier trains, wider bike lanes and more proposed solutions for safer public transit during coronavirus
Married 70 years, husband and wife with COVID-19 held hands in hospital before their deaths
NBC Sports Chicago to host star-studded COVID-19 fundraiser, pay tribute to front-line workers
Chicago police announced Tuesday seven more cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of cases in the department to 421.
Eighteen employees at a Tootsie Roll manufacturing plant in Chicago have tested positive for COVID-19 since the end of March.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi is pressuring the FDA to police COVID-19 antibody tests
Pandemic’s disorder in the court