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COVID-19 roundup

Monday, Oct 26, 2020

* Tribune

Suburban Cook County and the Metro East region outside St. Louis will come under stricter rules meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 on Wednesday, including a shuttering of indoor dining and bar service. […]

The suburban Cook County region has had eight consecutive days of test positivity rate increases and seven days of increased hospital admissions. It is the first region to surpass the state-set thresholds in these two areas at the same time. The other regions that have triggered tougher rules have done so by reaching an 8% positivity rate threshold.

* Two issues merge

Gov. Pritzker is pushing another wave of business lockdowns despite the courts overturning his emergency orders.

Small businesses are hanging on by a thread and many won’t survive. What’s more, Pritzker is trying to push a progressive tax that would be a nail in the coffin of businesses that survive the pandemic.

Join us for an event featuring two of America’s top economic minds, Dr. Art Laffer and Stephen Moore.

They will discuss their recently published comprehensive study describing the devastating impact the proposed “fair tax” will have on the future of Illinois.

What, no Donna Arduin?

* AP

The U.S. set a daily record Friday for new confirmed coronavirus infections and nearly matched it Saturday with 83,178, data published by Johns Hopkins University shows. Close to 8.6 million Americans have contracted the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and about 225,000 have died; both totals are the world’s highest. About half the states have seen their highest daily infection numbers so far at some point in October.

* ABC News

A recent surge in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in El Paso, Texas, has caused city officials to order a curfew for residents.

The curfew has been imposed for 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. to limit mobility in the community, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said at a press conference Sunday. For the next two weeks, citizens are required to stay home unless they are traveling to and from work or accessing essential services.

Only one person is permitted to access essential services at a time, and trick-or-treat activities on Halloween are not allowed, Samaniego said. Violators will be fined $250 for failing to wear a face mask and $500 for any other violations of the order. […]

Since Oct. 1, the county has seen a 160% increase in COVID-19 positivity rates and a 300% jump in hospitalizations.

Intensive care units at all area hospitals reached 100% capacity as of Saturday, Samaniego said. An overflow of ICU patients are being airlifted to other cities.

* The Salt Lake Tribune

With new coronavirus cases shattering records on a daily basis, Utah’s hospitals are expected to begin rationing care in a week or two.

That’s the prediction of Greg Bell, president of the Utah Hospital Association, who said administrators of the state’s hospitals confronted Gov. Gary Herbert on Thursday with a grim list: Criteria they propose doctors should use if they are forced to decide which patients can stay in overcrowded intensive care units.

* Speaking of hospitals

There are more than 41,000 Covid-19 patients hospitalized in the United States, a 40 percent rise in the past month. And unlike during the earlier months of the pandemic, more of those patients are being cared for not in metropolitan regions but in more sparsely populated parts of the country, where the medical infrastructure is less robust. […]

Skeptics need only look at places like Kansas City, Mo., where this month medical centers turned away ambulances because they had no room for more patients. And in Idaho, a hospital that was 99 percent full warned last week that it may have to transfer coronavirus patients to hospitals as far away as Seattle and Portland, Ore.

Hospitals in hard-hit parts of the country are resorting to a tactic commonly used during the pandemic as it eats away at medical resources: limiting their services.

In Tennessee on Saturday, the Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia suspended all elective procedures requiring an overnight stay to make room for Covid-19 patients. Most of the facility’s 26 I.C.U. beds are already filled.

* A bit of good news

To better understand the experiences of teenagers during this unique time, my colleagues and I fielded a survey of 1,523 U.S. teens from May to July this year, asking about their mental health, family time, sleep, technology use, and views on the race-related protests and the police. We assessed mental well-being using four measures: life satisfaction, happiness, symptoms of depression, and loneliness. We then compared the 2020 teens’ responses with responses to identical questions from a similar survey in 2018.

Surprisingly, teens’ mental health did not collectively suffer during the pandemic when the two surveys are compared. The percentage of teens who were depressed or lonely was actually lower in 2020 than in 2018, and the percentage who were unhappy or dissatisfied with life was only slightly higher.

This relatively positive picture for mental health occurred despite many of the challenges faced by the teens in our survey. Nearly one out of three teens (29 percent) knew someone diagnosed with COVID-19. More than one out of four (27 percent) said a parent had lost a job, and exactly one out of four was worried about their families having enough food to eat. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) were worried about catching the virus, and two-thirds worried about not being able to see their friends.

So why was teen mental health stable, or even better, during the pandemic?

Go read the rest.

* Tribune live blog headlines

Cook County to give direct payments to suburban residents hurt by COVID-19 pandemic: ‘What they need is cash’

Coronavirus deaths are rising again in the US and cases are climbing in nearly every state

Farm-fresh produce delivered to your door? Because of COVID-19, a growing number of services are offering just that.

Cook County officials to announce availability of COVID-19 cash assistance program for residents

* Sun-Times live blog

Illinois one of seven states reporting record high COVID-19 infection levels this weekend

Trump’s top aide: ‘we’re not going to control the pandemic’

18-year-old University of Dayton student from La Grange has died of COVID-19.

Democrat Rep. Sean Casten, Republican Jeanne Ives at odds over COVID-19 response in Illinois 6 Congress race

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - OK Boomer - Monday, Oct 26, 20 @ 1:45 pm:

    The death of the young man from La Grange is absolutely heartbreaking. Eighteen-years-old, varsity baseball player with no underlying conditions. Will his death even be qualified as a Covid death since he died of “Covid complications”? It is a frightening prospect that we truly do not know the true mortality rate of this hideous disease.

  2. - In 630 - Monday, Oct 26, 20 @ 2:06 pm:

    Utah and El Paso are the near futures the likes of Darren Bailey and restaurant owners keeping their dining rooms open are dragging us toward.

  3. - thoughts matter - Monday, Oct 26, 20 @ 2:27 pm:

    On the subject of teens mental health.,,, I think it’s because there was no peer pressure for one. They were at home. No one cared how they dressed as long as they were dressed. No one careD who was little miss popular or the football quarterback. Yes, they had school work. But they didn’t have someone encouraging them to take that drink, swallow that pill, take that sexual leap. No one sent the bullying messages on social media-,because it’s not as much fun to bully someone if you don’t see that you are making them miserable.

  4. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 26, 20 @ 2:30 pm:

    === I think it’s because there was no peer pressure===

    That was my thought. There’s a reason why so many kids want to leave their home towns after they graduate HS

  5. - walker - Monday, Oct 26, 20 @ 2:33 pm:

    To argue that since COVD has drastically lessened business incomes, a graduated income tax will kill small businesses, is pure nonsense.

    Business owners tragically “hanging on by a thread” will not be taking big net incomes out of their businesses as they recover.

  6. - Flying Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Monday, Oct 26, 20 @ 2:46 pm:

    Get a load at what the socialists in Texas have been forced to do.

    Compared to them Pritzker looks like Bailey.

  7. - Cubs in '16 - Monday, Oct 26, 20 @ 3:27 pm:

    ===I think it’s because there was no peer pressure===

    My thought as well. Truth is, school just isn’t a positive experience for a large number of students for the reasons -thoughts matter- lists. Targets of peer pressure and bullies welcomed the temporary reprieve.

  8. - Suburban Mom - Monday, Oct 26, 20 @ 3:36 pm:

    That story about teenaged mental health is really reassuring. My kids aren’t that old yet, but just today I was really worrying about the long-term impact of the long quarantine will be on them. But what they talked about in the article mirrors a lot of what I’ve seen with my own kids. (Let me caveat before I begin by saying, we’re fortunate to be in a district doing distance learning really well.)

    My kids really like the fact that during breaks in their day, they can chat with mom or play together or work on a Lego project or go on bike rides, and that we have lunch as a family, and they don’t have to bundle up for the weather and can drink hot chocolate at their desk when it’s chilly. They miss their friends and some in-person things, but my 9-year-old in particular has thrived in the less-regimented distance learning setting, and it just feels very humane to spend more of the day as a family and less time commuting and running around.

    Now, about the fact that I’ve had three children talking at me all at once, literally non-stop, since march ….

  9. - Thomas Paine - Monday, Oct 26, 20 @ 3:44 pm:

    It is good to see credible research on mental health published.

    1. High school is an enviroment rich in bullying.

    2. High school is an enviroment rich in binge-drinking.

    3. Social distancing has kids in general and teens especially spending more time with their parents. That makes it more likely that parents will pick up on cues their child is depressed or anxious. It also makes it more likely parents will support them emotionally.

    its not surprising parents are more likely to perceive that their child is sad or depressed during the pandemic, but is wrong to assume that’s because sports are cancelled, or school is remote. 250,000 Americans are dead, any normal person is going to be sad and worried.

  10. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Oct 26, 20 @ 3:44 pm:

    ===Intensive care units at all area hospitals reached 100% capacity as of Saturday===

    This is a very real possibility for our more rural medical facilities to reach.

    Good luck, everyone. You could still get sick even after doing everything right but now that hospital bed might be filled up because a lot of folks never even bothered to try.

  11. - dr - Monday, Oct 26, 20 @ 3:56 pm:

    Was just saying the other day the elementary school kids are the ones missing out with online school. Elementary school was fun! Junior High and High School errrr not so much. Lucky to be online.

  12. - JS Mill - Monday, Oct 26, 20 @ 4:10 pm:

    I find the report on teens really interesting especially being the parent of two teens and a school administrator.

    When my daughter was on homebound instruction her mental health vastly improved even though she still had access to social media, but the lack of a physical presence of so many her teen peers seemed to lower her anxiety and stress. Same happened when they stay at home order hit.

    She wasn’t a target per se, and in reality most kids are a “target” at one time or another. But the social issues we were able to avoid when we went home are now 24/7. when schools shut down it changed that dynamic.

    FWIW: The Lee County HD was great to work with in August and September. As the numbers have climbed they are now overwhelmed and telling us to contact them only if there is a positive case. They were directing us to contact them if there was a possible case before. Says a lot.

  13. - Rayne of terror - Monday, Oct 26, 20 @ 4:28 pm:

    I have a hs sophomore and while he works exceptionally hard at his academic work, he also gets to roll out of bed at 8 for an 8:20 remote start instead of leaving the house at 6:30 for a 7 am start. There are no extra curriculars other than marching band and it only meets once a week. No homecoming dance to stress about. On Saturdays he and two friends that he sees go hiking during the day and sit around a fire at night.

  14. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Oct 26, 20 @ 4:43 pm:

    JBs comments regarding the use of the McCormick ctr as a field hospital makes me scratch my head.

  15. - TheInvisibleMan - Monday, Oct 26, 20 @ 6:26 pm:

    Kane County judge just ruled in favor of the TRO for FoxFire.

  16. - Cityrat - Monday, Oct 26, 20 @ 6:32 pm:

    Amazing how the Atlantic missed the Mean Girl factor. High school can be hellish.

  17. - @misterjayem - Monday, Oct 26, 20 @ 11:34 pm:

    “Amazing how the Atlantic missed the Mean Girl factor.”

    But Rich remembered Donna Arduin.

    – MrJM

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