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COVID-19 roundup

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2020

* 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.

* More

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!

* Finke

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.

* But

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.

* Tribune

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

- Posted by Rich Miller        

22 Comments
  1. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 2:02 pm:

    Ignoring Science will be the death of us…Asymptomatic transmission has an actual meaning…for those who really care.


  2. - Norseman - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 2:07 pm:

    === Aurora Sportsmen’s club … 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. ===

    So let me understand the conservative mind. Shooting galleries (not talking about owning guns here) - constitutionally protected. Health care, not so much. Add on fishing and golfing as constitutional rights and we really see the priorities of the conservative minds. Me, me, me versus we or us.


  3. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 2:11 pm:

    I saw “Kash” Jackson pushing that protest online…not sure if he’s involved in organizing it in any way


  4. - jim - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 2:18 pm:

    “That’s the same state’s attorney who is prosecuting a nine-year-old for murder.”

    Come on, Rich, I think you know there’s a lot more to that case than your single sentence would suggest. they’re not serious about prosecuting him, they’re serious about maintaining some control so the kid can get the help he needs.


  5. - Leigh John-Ella - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 2:21 pm:

    – During a special meeting Tuesday morning broadcast via Zoom, –

    So it’s not too dangerous to open businesses but it is too dangerous for the Harrisburg council to meet in person.

    Got it.


  6. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 2:21 pm:

    “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. If we get to 1.2… then we will hit the full capacity of our health system as early as July.”

    But what about their judges’ fishing?

    – MrJM


  7. - tea_and_honey - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 2:25 pm:

    I’m sick of this rhetoric that we should “decide what is best for us individually, whether that is going back to work or staying at home.” If your place of employment opens back up and you don’t feel comfortable going in to work due to your own health status or the status of someone you live with, you no longer qualify for unemployment. So you don’t really get to “decide” what’s best for you. You get to decide whether to go to work or go without money to live on.


  8. - bogey golfer - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 2:31 pm:

    I have been viewing Gov. Cuomo’s daily briefings, and last week he referenced the ‘R’ rate. It is an interesting monitor going forward. The recovery period will go well into 2021, unless a vaccine can be globally distributed.


  9. - Shawn TD - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 2:32 pm:

    I agree. Shooting ranges should be allowed to open. Just like golf, make a reservation to shoot.


  10. - Rudy’s teeth - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 2:32 pm:

    Liberty and freedom will be severely restricted if one is hooked up to a ventilator in an ICU bed. Pay attention to science now more than ever.


  11. - Homebody - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 2:38 pm:

    @tea_and_honey

    In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread. -Anatole France


  12. - MiddleGround - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 2:40 pm:

    If local govt isn’t going to enforce and the Governor wants to assert his authority, he could just pull all licenses of those that defy the Order. Cancel one or two liquor licenses or other required licenses as an example and he won’t need to involve the State Police in those areas.


  13. - Joe Bidenopolous - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 2:55 pm:

    Personally, I’m keeping a list, and right now it has Bailey, Cabello, Davidsmeier, Hammond, and Ugaste on it.

    I wonder if the ARDC will have anything to say about the Woodford SA willfully violating the law?


  14. - So Blue - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 2:56 pm:

    Conservatives are demonstrating that they are out of touch with most Americans. Poll after poll clearly demonstrates that around 80% of Americans are not ready to reopen the economy on a large scale. These same polls outline that the nation’s governors are more trusted than President Trump.

    You cannot snap your fingers and the economy will magically reopen. American consumers will make that decision.


  15. - Anon - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 3:01 pm:

    Chicago area unemployment reached 4.8% in March as coronavirus took its toll. Experts say that number will jump in April.

    Remember its the response that Governments are taking to the COVID 19 that is causing unemployment to climb. Not the virus. Try to frame the argument better.


  16. - WIU Fan - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 3:11 pm:

    Norine Hammond never fails to show her disdain for education and science. During the state budget impasse, she was willing to watch WIU twist in the wind rather than veer away from Republican dogma. And now, during a time when scientific knowledge should hold precedence, she is again willing to follow Republican dogma instead of paying attention to science. This is also during a time when COVID-19 cases are growing in her district.


  17. - jim - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 3:30 pm:

    “I wonder if the ARDC will have anything to say about the Woodford SA willfully violating the law?”

    Joe B — he’s not violating the law. He’s exercising the prosecutorial discretion that goes with his office.


  18. - Chatham Resident - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 4:08 pm:

    From the “Don’t Be a Covidiot” department. A Springfield man was arrested the night of Apr. 19 for entering the Capitol after hours (it was Sunday evening anyway, in addition to the whole complex being closed to the public). He refused to leave and then battered an SOS officer. Channel 20 just reported on this today:

    https://newschannel20.com/news/local/man-arrested-after-refusing-to-leave-statehouse


  19. - Pundent - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 4:19 pm:

    =Remember its the response that Governments are taking to the COVID 19 that is causing unemployment to climb.=

    People (business owners and employees) overwhelmingly do not want to return to work until they feel it is safe. The President heard that loud and clear from 200 CEOs a couple of weeks ago. You do remember the Opening Our Country Council don’t you?


  20. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 4:43 pm:

    I wonder what it’s like to have a national leader and national response that can provide a straight statistical answer to how fast/how slow the pandemic has to spread in order for the healthcare apparatus to be able to continue to function without shortages.


  21. - Elmer Keith - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 6:06 pm:

    “Aurora Sportsmen’s club today issued letters of inquiry to Governor Pritzker, Attorney General Kwame Raul…” Who exactly is the Aurora Sportsmen’s club? No names or faces of any of the board members appear on their website.

    “…a letter was sent to Attorney General Barr alerting him to what we believe is an overreach of the governor’s emergency authority…” That’s because your anonymous good old boy club has no influence outside your little fantasy world. “Everyone knows me around here” is a fantasy in the minds of you and your elderly members.

    “…members of our board of directors have reached out to State of Illinois and DeKalb County officials…” Who exactly are your board of directors, and why aren’t their names on the website?

    Some background: President-for-life David Lombardo is a northern Illinois version of Richard Pearson at ISRA. Lombardo is on the ISRA (secret) board, and like Pearson, he betrayed gun owners by endorsing the Duty to Inform that then NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde negotiated with police unions in Brandon Phelps’ 2013 concealed carry bill. Lombardo is/was a “part-time” Kane county deputy, which means he’s a politically connected good old boy with a shiny badge.


  22. - Huh? - Wednesday, Apr 29, 20 @ 6:59 pm:

    Woodford County has been a bit strange for a long time. This just cements the oddity.

    Used to work there. They hired a guy whose claim to fame was he was born in the same town as Lucille Ball. And he wasn’t afraid to let you know.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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