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The trend is not our friend

Thursday, Oct 22, 2020

* Jake Griffin

State health officials Wednesday reported 69 more Illinois residents have died from COVID-19, the highest single-day total the state has seen since mid-June.

COVID-related deaths have been growing in recent weeks as the state has begun to experience an exponential growth of new cases of the respiratory disease that has caused four of the state’s 11 health regions to have additional restrictions imposed.

“We should understand that’s always the pattern,” Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said at a media briefing Wednesday with the governor. “A certain number of cases will become hospitalizations, and a certain number of hospitalizations will go on to be deaths.”

The state’s death toll from the respiratory disease now stands at 9,345, and the state is now averaging 39 deaths a day over the past week. A month ago, the daily average of deaths for the week was 20, according to IDPH figures.

* Mitchell Armentrout

By the end of this week, COVID-19 restrictions ordered by Pritzker will be in place in four of the state’s 11 regions — including Chicago’s south and west suburbs in Kankakee, Will, Kane and DuPage counties — due to rising testing positivity rates.

All other regions are at or over 7% positivity and trending steadily upward toward the 8% threshold set by the Democratic governor that triggers restrictions. That includes Chicago and the rest of its suburbs.

“People are lowering their guard,” Pritzker said at his latest coronavirus briefing. “Wear the mask. If there’s nothing else that you hear me say, today and everyday, please wear the mask. Keep social distance.”

* Jamie Munks and Dan Petrella

Illinois on Wednesday recorded its highest daily coronavirus-related death toll since June as state officials released an early version of its plan for how a vaccine will be distributed once one is approved and available.

The plan “is designed to provide an equitable distribution across the state with priority access going to our most vulnerable populations, front-line health care workers and first responders who directly interact with and treat COVID patients, as well as staff and residents in long-term care facilities,” Pritzker said during his daily coronavirus news briefing.

The plan will “evolve as vaccine trials come to a conclusion and the FDA decides which to approve,” Pritzker said, noting that there are a range of unknowns around whether vaccinations will require multiple doses and if they will need cold or room temperature storage.

While President Donald Trump has vowed that a vaccination could be available soon, most experts think it won’t be until next year before that happens, a point backed up on Wednesday by Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.

* Sean Crawford

A bigger challenge might be getting enough people to willingly take it. Ezike acknowledged education will be needed to get buy-in from the broader population.

“Getting the vaccine is one step. Getting it into people’s arms is another. And so, we need both of those to get to a better state with this pandemic,” she said. “Once a safe and effective vaccine is available, CDC planning assumptions indicate 80 percent of the population would need to be immunized to achieve herd immunity.”

That could take a while. Along with the logisitics of getting the vaccine to people, there are also questions about production. Ezike added it could take “many, many months” before it is widely available.

Under Illinois’ plan, the vaccines will be free to all residents, although some health providers may charge a fee to give the shot.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 6:12 am:

    I’m cautiously optimistic about a vaccine (even with all these obstacles, we’ll all be much more hopeful once one is approved. And I’m glad the UK is going to be doing challenge testing in January to help ID the best one).
    But in the interim I’m frustrated by the Governors preference for lecturing over enforcement. Now the Tribune is reporting open rebellion. Actions need to start matching rhetoric.

  2. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 8:46 am:

    How many more will succumb before a vaccine is ready for mass distribution? I’m seeing little to no change in people’s behaviors. In fact, pandemic fatigue is making things worse and is why we’re seeing this current surge. As we’ve discovered, you can’t force or even shame people into being compassionate.

  3. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 8:59 am:

    ===“People are lowering their guard,”===

    That’s a very nice way of putting it.

    One thing JB doesn’t get nearly enough credit for is his temperament. It may seem like a minor thing in the big picture, but I’ve noticed it. He understands the importance of presenting a firm presence when addressing the public and has not once that I can remember snapped out in anger at the obvious cause of the increase. I’m almost certain the last two governors this state has had would not have been able to carry themselves in this manner.

  4. - Smalls - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 9:29 am:

    As LC Dem says, a majority of restaurants are just going to stay open. They have nothing to lose. If they close now, most of them will never reopen, so they figure they might as well stay open until someone forces them closed. How will Pritzker deal with this?

  5. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 9:46 am:

    Go ahead, open.

    Then, when a couple of customers test positive and get on good old Facebook to blame it on your establishment, fair or foul, you can deal with that publicity.

  6. - cermak_rd - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 9:48 am:

    I’m not in favor of using the law to close down places that are not complying. Let it be on their own conscience. In a perfect world I would hope that their permanent customer base will shrink and they’ll be out of business in a few years anyway.
    I mean, do you want to go to a place run by Hansel and Gretel’s host at Ye Old Merry Candy House restaurant?

    People who want to not get sick are masking up, staying away from others as much as possible (even if you have an external job, go to work, come back home stay until you have to go back to work) If we don’t have full contact tracing maybe we should concentrate what we do have on collecting samples from people who get sick at work and then contact trace to where the person who spread it to them got it and if it was an illegally opened restaurant, then sue (and yes I have read a number of papers about genetic tracing of outbreaks. It may actually be possible to prove the chain).

  7. - Southern Skeptic - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 9:49 am:

    We are in deep doodoo and it is getting worse. Hang in there campers. It’s gonna be a very bumpy ride.

  8. - Skeptic - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 9:54 am:

    “I’m not in favor of using the law to close down places that are not complying.” I’m sure there are a lot that agree with you. But then there were a lot of people that cheered when Sterogenics got closed down for not complying.

  9. - thoughts matter - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 9:56 am:

    If they open in defiance for indoor dining , please persuade them to add their names to the various Facebook defiance groups and place those red heart signs out front. That will make it easier for us to avoid them and for enforcement officers/ employees.

    Anecdotally I visited a local business (not a food establishment). There was no sign on the door regarding masks one way or the other. You had to go clear to the back of the store to reach the counter/customer service. On the cash register there was a small sign in small print. It informed you that the staff would not be wearing snacks, but you were welcome to do so if you wanted. So that meant that some of their customers standing there were also unmasked. I was not pleased. That sign should heave been on the front door so you could choose not to go in.

  10. - cermak_rd - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 10:02 am:


    See the difference for me is that there were reports and evidence about the Sterogenics situation. IN this case, there is not yet evidence that the Candyhouse restaurant is spreading Covid. FInd that link and you can shut them down too by suing in civil court where their defiance of state health orders will work against them.

  11. - JoanP - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 10:08 am:

    =contact trace to where the person who spread it to them got it and if it was an illegally opened restaurant, then sue=

    Kind of like we let restaurants ignore sanitation standards and then sue, rather than yanking their licenses?

    The idea is to STOP people from getting COVID in the first place.

  12. - Pundent - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 10:08 am:

    = IN this case, there is not yet evidence that the Candyhouse restaurant is spreading Covid.=

    I think the goal of mitigation is to contain disease spread before people become exposed not after. If we can only take action after somebody has acted recklessly, we’ll never get ahead of this.

  13. - Drake Mallard - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 10:10 am:

    If an establishment openly defies these health related closures, why would you ever eat there again with their total disregard for their customers health?

  14. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 10:23 am:

    What Drake Mallard said.

    Locally owned restaurants pride themselves on a local identity, knowing their customers personally.
    They don’t think many of these customers won’t remember their antics once things can safely re-open?
    For me, this is no different than a restaurant constantly cited for uncleanliness.

  15. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 10:24 am:

    “not yet evidence that Candyhouse is spreading”

    Methinks you are missing the point of this exercise.

  16. - Hieronymus - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 10:34 am:

    What Drake & Flyin’ said.

    We continued to patronize only those favorite places of ours that offered carryout or curbside service only. And when some of them reopened their dining rooms, we crossed them off of our list for the duration.

    Yes, it may be a business decision, but we’re not obligated to patronize them, either.

    And for those businesses that only pay lip service to mask and distancing rules and guidelines, they better believe that we’ll remember it, and consequently take our business elsewhere going forward.

  17. - 1st Ward - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 10:39 am:

    Crains reported that Illinois will have its own vaccine approval requirement after the FDA approves something. Seems like a widely available will not be ready until 2022 at this rate.

  18. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 10:46 am:

    ===If we can only take action after somebody has acted recklessly, we’ll never get ahead of this.===

    We are a reactive society more than a proactive society. Even with the IDPH regional measures, we wait until a threshold is reached before applying measures. I agree it will delay getting this behind us, but there is a tripwire in place to try to “put a lid on it”. Enforcement is another issue. It took decades for social pressure to alter attitudes toward, say, DUI, and we don’t have decades here.

  19. - Google is Your Friend - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 10:58 am:

    Where’s the law and order crowd now? Bueller? Bueller?

  20. - harp5339 - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 11:05 am:

    == I’m almost certain the last two governors this state ==

    The thought of Blago being at the helm during this just made my blood run cold. He would have been hiding in the bathroom since March.

  21. - Skeptic - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 11:18 am:

    “He would have been hiding in the bathroom since March.” Remember that he also imported unapproved flu vaccines (which went bad and had to be discarded) so I’d put money down that he’d be for hydroxycholorquine as well.

  22. - Michael Feltes - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 11:34 am:

    “‘We should understand that’s always the pattern,’ Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said at a media briefing Wednesday with the governor. ‘A certain number of cases will become hospitalizations, and a certain number of hospitalizations will go on to be deaths.’”

    “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” - Al Bartlett

  23. - Flying Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 12:07 pm:

    Michael Feltes-

    I love a good quote. Thanks.

  24. - cermak_rd - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 12:51 pm:

    The thing is I think what I would likei is for restaurants that flout the rules but don’t wind up being infections vectors to be ignored, but perhaps prosecuted in the court of public opinion. Remember most of these places run on a tight margin and if they alienate 20% of their customers that’s a bad move.

    The ones who are implicated in a transmission event I want to be sued both their business and their own personal assets at risk (case of gross negligence in flouting the rules). So a business death penalty +.

    And finally I want the businesses considering ignoring the health and hygiene rules to look at those risks and ask themselves if they feel lucky.

  25. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 12:57 pm:

    Speaking of exponential function…if you were charged with saving the last tree…which branches would you prune?

    If you were in charge of limiting and reducing World population?

  26. - Chatham Resident - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 1:29 pm:

    When the vaccine is developed and approved, will all State Employees (as well as teachers and other government employees) be among those “vulnerable populations” that will be first in line to get the vaccines?

  27. - Michael Feltes - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 3:53 pm:

    > If you were in charge of limiting and reducing World population?

    Now you’re beginning to get at the dilemma. No one who wants that job should be allowed to have it. To forbid other people to have a child is a deeply inhuman thing to do, to say nothing of the tremendous challenges that something like China’s one-child policy creates for any society in the medium term, on the scale of decades. Yet in the long term, on the scale of centuries, unrestrained growth of resource consumption (population per se is only part of this term, per capita consumption is in some ways more important) inevitably leads to ecological overshoot and collapse. Self-restraint is a non-dominant strategy in the game theoretical sense. This is the core of the problem.

  28. - yinn - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 4:08 pm:

    Catherine the Great inoculated her family and the whole of the Russian court against smallpox in order to show how safe it was (90-95% survived the procedure, called variolation). She ended up saving millions of her people from the scourge.

    When a vaccine against Covid-19 is found to be safe and effective, perhaps our leaders should quite publicly take it. I’ve heard people say they will get vaccinated when Dr. Fauci does.

    Incidentally, I found out when I read Robert Massie’s biography of Catherine is one of her contemporaries, General George Washington, quarantined his troops and eventually inoculated his whole army.

  29. - yinn - Thursday, Oct 22, 20 @ 4:12 pm:

    ==If you were in charge of limiting and reducing World population?==

    This is a problem that goes away when we eliminate poverty, especially extreme poverty with its attendant high mortality, and when contraception is available to all who want it.

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