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COVID-19 roundup

Monday, Dec 7, 2020

* 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.

* Oy

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…

* Trib

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

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Publius - Monday, Dec 7, 20 @ 2:09 pm:

    It’s getting harder and harder to sell the world that the USA is exceptional. I talk with people all over the world on a regular basis and they just wonder how things can be so messed up in this country.

  2. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Dec 7, 20 @ 2:20 pm:

    I visited a small restaurant in Ava over the weekend to place an order to go. Since I saw no one on the inside but the owner, I went in to pick up my food. The owner/cook/ server broke down in tears. After years of 70hr work weeks, she didn’t think she’d make it thru the first of the year. Tragedies abound for sure.

  3. - Smalls - Monday, Dec 7, 20 @ 2:32 pm:

    As for substitute teachers, most in the Chicago area are paid around $15 per hour, give or take a couple dollars. Generally, not a wage that is worth putting your life on the line for. School districts need to pay up to get quality substitutes.

  4. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Dec 7, 20 @ 2:33 pm:

    To the post. Coincidentally,Australia has granted land tax relief to many non residential property owners. Now that’s something we should have done day 1.

  5. - don the legend - Monday, Dec 7, 20 @ 2:43 pm:

    ==Tragedies abound for sure.==

    No doubt. It’s a tragedy that Congress and the President have completely failed our country by not executing a nationwide response with direct aid to small business.

    A direct payroll subsidy would have kept so many businesses open and employees paid and insured. A total failure on their part.

  6. - lake county democrat - Monday, Dec 7, 20 @ 2:43 pm:

    Auerlio’s - we lay it on sick.

  7. - Groundhog Day - Monday, Dec 7, 20 @ 3:04 pm:

    Regarding that S. Korea restaurant study—yeah, it is airborne, despite that fact being underplayed for a year.

  8. - Glenn - Monday, Dec 7, 20 @ 3:15 pm:

    - Publius - Monday, Dec 7, 20 @ 2:09 pm:

    Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

  9. - BartlettBob182 - Monday, Dec 7, 20 @ 3:36 pm:

    What a disaster. Can’t wait for it to be over.

  10. - Dr. Love - Monday, Dec 7, 20 @ 3:59 pm:

    There is a long list of people who owe Bruce Rauner and his administration an apology over the Quincy VA home.
    This stuff is harder than it looks from the outside.

  11. - Lakeshored - Monday, Dec 7, 20 @ 4:22 pm:

    “they just wonder how things can be so messed up in this country”

    Tell them to stop watching CNN or reading the NYT. These are businesses that are in the business of selling ads. They can’t sell ads if they can’t create news. Record high employment, manufacturing returning to US shores, groundbreaking Middle East peace deals. These were all avoided by the news organizations because they made orange man look good.

    The same thing happened with Reagan. People didn’t realize how great he was until they started actually looking at his accomplishments.

  12. - Demoralized - Monday, Dec 7, 20 @ 4:51 pm:

    ==hese were all avoided by the news organizations because they made orange man look good.==

    There’s always a victim and “orange man’s” supporters are the king of victimhood.

  13. - Lakeshored - Monday, Dec 7, 20 @ 4:55 pm:

    “There’s always a victim.”

    Is that you Jussie?

    Or are you referring to Nick Sandmann. If you don’t know who that is, his story is worth knowing when you consider your news sources.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 7, 20 @ 4:56 pm:

    === These were all avoided by the news organizations because they made orange man look good.===

    The “orange man” also said the virus would go away right after the election.

    He lost, time for national leadership on Covid 19, we lack that right now.

  15. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 7, 20 @ 4:57 pm:

    === There’s always a victim.===

    Then trying whataboutism with another victim.

    The racist president has been defeated, what we need now is in Illinois a strong plan to defeat Covid 19 until a new president is sworn in to help.

  16. - Still Anon - Monday, Dec 7, 20 @ 10:47 pm:

    Hmm, positive tests in the US were high in April and May, declined into September/October and rose again into December. At the same time Australia has few cases. Perhaps the seasonal nature of viruses is at play?

  17. - Techie - Tuesday, Dec 8, 20 @ 12:01 pm:

    @Groundhog Day

    You’re absolutely right. I recall reading in the spring about the case of the restaurant in China that was documented pretty early on. It was pretty clear evidence of airborne transmission more than 6 feet, but many didn’t see to want to acknowledge it for some reason.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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