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COVID-19 roundup

Friday, Jun 19, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* First she declared that indoor restaurant dining couldn’t return until July 1, then she complained about the governor not allowing indoor dining until June 26th, and now

Chicago restaurants can open for indoor dining with the rest of the state starting June 26, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Friday, an about-face from her plan to allow them to reopen July 1. […]

Restaurants will be restricted to 25% capacity, with a maximum of 50 people per room or floor, and tables must be at least 6 feet apart, with 10 people or fewer per table.

Tina Sfondeles

On Friday, the governor’s office said they “are pleased to see that the Mayor has aligned the timing of the city’s plan with the state’s plan, allowing restaurants in Chicago to open indoor dining a week from today.”

According to an email obtained by the Sun-Times, the Illinois Restaurant Association has been pushing for 50% occupancy for indoor restaurants, and the state’s safety guidance is likely to include that rate. That would also include gatherings of less than 50 people with social distancing and other safety provisions.

* Being outside and mostly wearing masks appears to have avoided a problem

The first protests against George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis began on May 26, the day after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes and killed the 46-year-old. By the next night, protesters were filling the streets in cities across the country despite concerns over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As the protests went on, worries over a spike in the coronavirus grew. Last week, members of the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force warned governors of a protest-related increase in cases. Dr. Deborah Birx, the task force’s coordinator, said on a call last week that yelling from protesters could present a particular problem and potentially cancel the positive benefits of wearing masks.

But given the virus’s incubation period, it was always going to take time to find out if the protests would lead to a spike in cases. That time has come, and three weeks after the protests began, cities across the country where some of the biggest demonstrations took place are reporting no surge in COVID-19 cases.

* NBC 5

Northwestern University researchers have discovered Chicago has a unique COVID-19 virus strain that appears to be directly linked from the early outbreak in China, the university said in a news release Thursday.

Another variant discovered in Chicago COVID-19 patients, which happens to be the predominant variant worldwide, and in the U.S. is centered in New York, generates more of the virus in the upper airways than the Chicago version. […]

“These differences might help us understand where a vaccine might be most effective, because they show where these proteins are under selective pressure,” [Dr. Egon Ozer, an assistant professor in infectious diseases at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine physician] said. “That could indicate where you might get the most bang for your buck in the potential vaccine.”

Ozer said that because Chicago is a transportation hub, the city is a melting pot for different variants of the virus.


Illinois is now set to enter the next phase of the governor’s reopening plan as early as next week, which includes allowing even more businesses to open their doors.

Illinois lawmakers have now created a new working group to help with the process.

Lawmakers created the Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission during this year’s special session. Gov. JB Pritzker signed it into law last week.

Their goal is to give Pritzker guidance on reopening the state’s economy.

* ABC 7

Illinois has closed the driver’s license facility on Golf Road in Schaumburg. Officials said it’s because an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

The Secretary of State’s Office said the Illinois Department of Public Health has been consulted and that the public is not directly impacted. Employees who work at the facility are quarantining for 14 days.

…Adding… I meant to post this Greg Hinz piece and forgot

Government leaders and industry officials haven’t been the only ones at the table as the city and state this spring have rolled out a mass of often highly controversial rules as to which businesses can reopen when amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a little-noticed development, consultants from Boston Consulting Group and Bain, working through a Chicago civic organization, have effectively staffed working groups that draft proposed rules and submit them to Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot for final approval.

Those rules cover everything from when inside dining will be allowed to how many people can shop at a store, when movie theaters might reopen and how late in the evening drinks-to-go should be allowed.

The pro bono work is defended as proper and a good deal for taxpayers by the two key officials involved—Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes and Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar. The Civic Consulting Alliance, a business-backed government aid group, has provided such help for years, and is particularly of use now with government officials all but overwhelmed, they say.

* Tribune live blog

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart does not have to comply — at least for now — with a portion of a preliminary injunction precluding group housing or double-celling at the county jail due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Eager to head back to the lakefront? A rising Lake Michigan — near the historic high water mark — awaits.

CTA and Pace buses will begin collecting fares again, as riders slowly return to public transit

* Sun-Times live blog

Masks will be required in all University of Illinois classrooms next year

A ‘last responder’s’ COVID-19 message: ‘If they won’t listen to a doctor, maybe they’ll listen to an undertaker’


  1. - Not a Billionaire - Friday, Jun 19, 20 @ 1:58 pm:

    China claims a new variant inn the Beijing outbreak and says it gave its genome sequence to the WHO.
    Also mink farms have had transfer from Humans to mink and mink to humans.

  2. - Wut - Friday, Jun 19, 20 @ 1:59 pm:

    Seems like the Governor’s Office got the Mayor to open restaurants earlier despite her rhetoric. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

  3. - West Sider - Friday, Jun 19, 20 @ 2:04 pm:

    Lightfoot is listening to science and adjusting accordingly. I will go after her- where she deserves it- but this is being smart- and measured.

  4. - striketoo - Friday, Jun 19, 20 @ 2:09 pm:

    Illinois says to Arizona, Texas, and Florida. Hold my beer.

  5. - Pundent - Friday, Jun 19, 20 @ 2:21 pm:

    =Lightfoot is listening to science and adjusting accordingly. I will go after her- where she deserves it- but this is being smart- and measured.=

    You must have missed the rant yesterday where Lightfoot was blaming the Governor for not opening restaurants earlier all the while advancing her own plan which called for restaurants to open 5 days later than the governor’s plan.

    Lightfoot shows flashes of hitting the right chord but more often than not comes off as petty and unprepared. This is a further example of this. She has a tendency to contradict herself from one day to the next. More often than not its a totally unforced error on her part.

  6. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jun 19, 20 @ 2:52 pm:

    “cities across the country where some of the biggest demonstrations took place are reporting no surge in COVID-19 cases“

    That’s great news and a big relief.

    Today Florida beat yesterday’s record number new COVID-19 cases. Just heard that the Florida governor will not require face coverings, that it will be a local government decision. Also Arizona set a record number of new cases today. Historically terrible job by the president and certain governors.

  7. - Captain Who - Friday, Jun 19, 20 @ 3:24 pm:

    Just a thought here. The virus does not seem to spread as well outdoors as it does in doors. Could the increased rates in those southern and western states be due partially to people going indoors more to escape the heat? If so what happens in these parts in mid August?

  8. - Pundent - Friday, Jun 19, 20 @ 3:38 pm:

    I think Captain Who may be on to something. Even more reason to where a mask indoors when social distancing isn’t possible.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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