* Joe Mahr at the Tribune…
The new COVID-19 surge is hitting Illinois’ most vulnerable residents harder than ever, with a record 480 deaths recorded in the past week among people living in long-term care facilities.
A Tribune analysis found the surge in deaths was particularly steep outside the greater Chicago area, underscoring the challenges of keeping the virus out of nursing homes and assisted living facilities when infections are spreading in the surrounding communities.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker offered a deep sigh Friday when asked what more could be done to tamp down the surge in long-term care deaths.
“This is frankly the same challenge that exists in all the other populations, and even more so, when we’re at the highest levels of the pandemic,” he told reporters.
A striking, informative study was just released from South Korea, examining a transmission chain in a restaurant. It is perhaps one of the finest examples of shoe-leather epidemiology I’ve seen since the beginning of the pandemic, and it’s worth a deeper dive.
If you just want the results: one person (Case B) infected two other people (case A and C) from a distance away of 6.5 meters (~21 feet) and 4.8m (~15 feet). Case B and case A overlapped for just five minutes at quite a distance away. These people were well beyond the current 6 feet / 2 meter guidelines of CDC and much further than the current 3 feet / one meter distance advocated by the WHO. And they still transmitted the virus.
That’s the quick and dirty of it. But there’s a lot more detail here, and like many stories, it is best told through a picture:
At a time when many Joliet-area restaurants and bars are not following Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s rules outlawing indoor dining amid the coronavirus pandemic, Aurelio’s Pizza has announced it is joining that group.
If Aurelio’s kept obeying Pritzker, Joliet’s long-time pizzeria at 3101 West Jefferson St. will be an empty building at this time next year, the restaurant management predicted.
* Down under…
A nationwide shortage of substitute teachers was a chronic problem long before the arrival of the pandemic. But now, a dearth of available subs across the Chicago area has reached a crisis level at many school districts, where the roster of educators available to step in when teachers are absent has dwindled precipitously at a time of unprecedented need for their services.
* Data can mean different things at different times…
The current rise in hospitalizations began in late September, and for weeks now hospitals have faced unprecedented demand for medical care. The number of hospitalized patients has increased nearly every day: Since November 1, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has doubled; since October 1, it has tripled. […]
It is clearest in a single simple statistic, recently observed by Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. For weeks, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 had been about 3.5 percent of the number of cases reported a week earlier. But, he noticed, that relationship has broken down. A smaller and smaller proportion of cases is appearing in hospitalization totals.
“This is a real thing. It’s not an artifact. It’s not data problems,” Jha told us.
Why would this number change? As hospitals run out of beds, they could be forced to alter the standards for what kinds of patients are admitted with COVID-19. The average American admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 today is probably more acutely ill than someone admitted with COVID-19 in the late summer. This isn’t because doctors or nurses are acting out of cruelty or malice, but simply because they are running out of hospital beds and must tighten the criteria on who can be admitted.
* In other news…
GALESBURG — At Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. JB Pritzker gave one local hospital worker a pleasant surprise.
Terri McCrery, infection preventionist at OSF Healthcare’s St. Mary Medical Center was recognized as one of five Healthcare Heroes by the governor at his daily COVID press briefing. The recognition came for her work alongside her husband and Lisa Kelly, who co-own Monmouth-based MC Sports and More, and a generous donation they made to OSF employees.
McCrery’s husband Troy had the idea to make shirts and donate them to raise the spirit of those working in the hospitals. This was when Heart Hunters, the locally founded movement encouraging people to put colorful hearts in their windows to cheer on healthcare workers, was near the peak of its popularity.
* Tribune live blog headlines…
Millions of hungry Americans turn to food banks for the 1st time: ‘This is a hard thing to accept that you have to do this’
Better order those gifts now. Retailers are warning of shipping delays as millions shop online. Here’s what to know.
CDC’s ‘stay home’ advice is more terrible news for airlines
‘What are we going to do when we lose the unemployment money?’ Millions fear cutoff of US jobless aid
Lawmakers say COVID-19 relief bill won’t offer $1,200 checks direct payments to most Americans
Red Cross appeals for blood donations as COVID-19 cases surge
Cook County to announce extension of resident cash assistance program
Vaccine shortages have led to theft, smuggling and doses going to the famous instead of the needy. Will it happen again with COVID-19?
* Sun-Times live blog headlines…
CTU files challenge to delay CPS reopening next month
Canada to get vaccine by end of year
Food insecurity on rise as many Americans turn to food banks for 1st time
DePaul cancels 4th straight basketball game due to COVID-19
‘Obamacare’ defender tapped to lead coronavirus response in Biden administration
Illinois driver facilities to stay closed through early January
Reopening Chicago’s schools during the peak of the pandemic is a dangerous folly
State prisoners should be among those who get pandemic vaccine quickly
* NBC Chicago headlines…
Monday Marks Deadline for Chicago Public Schools Parents to Submit Decision on Return to Classrooms
Daughter Shares Heartbreak After Losing Both Parents to COVID-19
Former State Sen. Martin Sandoval Dies After COVID-19 Diagnosis
People Under the Age of 18 May Not Receive Early Doses of Coronavirus Vaccine: Ezike