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COVID-19 roundup

Thursday, Aug 12, 2021 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I’m not a huge fan of focusing on case counts these days since people are vaccinated and, therefore, fewer will wind up hospitalized than they would have last November. But the vax rate in Jackson County is under 40 percent, and that’s a recipe for possible disaster

A single-day record for new COVID-19 cases has been set in Jackson County.

The Jackson County Health Department was notified of 115 cases Wednesday, eclipsing the previous daily record of 87 cases from November 12.

Through the first 11 days of August, the department says there have been 451 new cases in Jackson County, which exceeds every monthly case total except for Nov. 2020 through January 2021.

25 percent of August cases have been in teenagers and younger children.

Get your shots and mask up, folks. We don’t want to wind up like Florida or Texas.

* Sun-Times

Federal public health officials say COVID-19 is now spreading at a high rate across nearly all of Illinois as the Delta-fueled surge lifts infections to the highest level seen statewide in four months.

Transmission is considered high in all but 13 of Illinois’ 102 counties, including the entire Chicago area except for northwest suburban McHenry County, according to metrics set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the spread is still labeled “substantial” in McHenry and nine of the other remaining counties.

The CDC laid out the sobering color-coded state map Wednesday as the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,933 new cases of the disease, the most in a day since April 9.

The state is now averaging nearly 3,000 new COVID-19 diagnoses each day, a rate that has multiplied by eight since the first week of July.

The seven-day average statewide positivity rate is up to 5.1%, which marks a seven-month high, while the total of 1,558 hospitalized coronavirus patients is the greatest burden facing Illinois care centers since May 15.

* Call me dubious about this claim

Some two weeks after the opening day of Lollapalooza, the music festival shows no signs of having been a “super spreader event,” the city’s top public health official said Thursday.

Of the approximately 385,000 people who attended, 203 attendees have been diagnosed with COVID-19, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said Thursday during a news conference at City Hall. As of Wednesday, none of those who tested positive have had to be hospitalized or have died, Arwady said.

For instance…

* The governor’s people admitted to me that he misspoke at the very end because, in context, he was actually talking about people dying from getting the vaccine, not from the disease. Still, he should be more careful because all he’s doing is giving ammo to those who would sow doubt…

* More from Greg

A digital civil rights group says Illinois’ “Vax Verify” program is a step in the wrong direction, and the worst they’ve seen yet.

Electronic Frontier Foundation Director of Engineering Alexis Hancock reviews such systems from around the country and said Illinois’ program requiring people to verify their information through credit tracking firm Experian is severely flawed.

“This system is horrible in Illinois,” Hancock said. “Using Experian is definitely one of the worst ones I’ve seen yet.”

Hancock raised concerns about what that means for people who are not vaccinated, or may even be undocumented residents with little to no trackable credit history, among other issues.

“If you have frozen your credit for whatever reason, you have to unfreeze your credit with Experian in order to actually access a vaccination record from this Vax Verify system.”

Then there’s what she called “scope creep,” and how consumers could be impacted without proper protection to prevent private businesses from tracking citizens. […]

A spokesperson for the ACLU of Illinois said showing vaccine proof is good for public health and expects such measures would withstand legal challenges.

Yeah, I think I’d go with the ACLU on this sort of thing.

* Bloomberg

This year billions of dollars in U.S. pandemic relief for small businesses finally made it to minority neighborhoods, reaching hair salons, daycares and restaurants in some of the poorest and most-segregated urban areas of the nation.

So far the infusion of Paycheck Protection Program funds has failed to translate into a meaningful economic recovery in many of these neighborhoods, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Nowhere is this more on display than in Chicago, the only metro area tracked by Bloomberg where majority-Black zip codes have received more stimulus dollars per capita than White areas—albeit by a small amount—yet the pace of business reopenings is lagging and the local rate of Black unemployment is high. PPP loans are forgiven if businesses use a large part of the funds to keep employees on payroll, and the struggle to access federal aid early on in the crisis meant many small firms couldn’t stave off layoffs or even closures.

* Not a mask in sight this morning

Posted by Marissa District 40 on Thursday, August 12, 2021

Marissa is in St. Clair County, which has a test positivity rate of 10.1 percent.

* The folks in Marissa and everywhere else need to finally come to the realization that this is not 2020 COVID

The number of kids infected with Covid-19 is soaring as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads and schools reopen, pushing children’s hospitals around the country to the brink.

Nearly 1,600 kids with Covid-19 were hospitalized last week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — a new seven-day record and a 27 percent increase from the week before. Tennessee’s health commissioner expects the state’s children’s hospitals to be full by the week’s end. Louisiana reached that point more than a week ago. And Arkansas’ only children’s hospital has just two ICU beds remaining.

As dire as the situation is now, hospital leaders and public health officials predict it will get even worse in the coming weeks. They are already contending with unseasonably high levels of RSV, a respiratory virus that can be dangerous for young children and infants. Flu season is on the horizon. And schools across the country are welcoming children back, creating opportunities for Covid-19 and other viruses to spread even faster.

* Get your shots and wear a mask to help out others

Edward Hospital in Naperville and Elmhurst Hospital, which are part of the same system, saw patients nearly double in a week, with 52 on Wednesday compared to 28 on Aug. 4.

Sixteen of the 52 patients were vaccinated, spokeswoman Janet Hosey said. “The vaccinated COVID-19 inpatients are predominantly immunocompromised or elderly,” she said.

* More…

* Eviction moratorium aimed to help tenants hurt by pandemic leave some landlords struggling

* Delta variant ‘spreading quickly among kids, adolescents’ in ‘unmasked situations,’ pediatrician says

* Mississippi braces for ‘failure’ of hospital system due to covid-19 surge and lack of ICU beds

* How the Pandemic Now Ends: The ventilation in our buildings can be improved. Scientists should be able to create vaccines against the existing coronaviruses. Western people can wear masks when they’re sick, as many Asian societies already do. Workplaces can offer paid-sick-leave policies and schools can ditch attendance records “so that they’re not encouraging people to show up sick,” Wiley said. All of these measures could be as regular a part of our lives as seat belts, condoms, sunscreen, toothpaste, and all the other tools that we use to protect our health. The current pandemic surge and the inevitability of endemicity feel like defeats. They could, instead, be opportunities to rethink our attitudes about the viruses we allow ourselves to inhale.


  1. - Vaccinated for real - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 12:37 pm:

    I received both doses of the vaccine at the Illinois State Fairgrounds months ago. I looked myself up on the IDPH thing and it said “no records found.” When I show my card at the fairgrounds so I can go to the grandstand, are they going to look me up, not find anything, and say my card is counterfeit? I sent an email, but I have little faith I will get a response anytime soon.

  2. - Vaccinated for real - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 12:41 pm:

    I apologize. Disregard my previous post. Just tried it again and the records showed up.

  3. - Joe Bidenopolous - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 12:51 pm:

    Back in the heady days of June, we decided to go ahead and sign up our 11 year old to a sleep away camp in August. The camp was going to require masks and testing prior to start so, ok.

    A few weeks before she was supposed to go, we got word that the camp was eliminating the testing requirement and loosening the mask restrictions to only indoors for those unvaccinated (at 11, ours would’ve been the youngest of campers).

    At that point, we decided nope and ate the $$. That camp ended this past weekend and you can guess what happened. Multiple cases (not sure how many yet) and the camp itself is now shutdown for a couple of weeks.

  4. - BilboSwaggins - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 12:51 pm:

    The breakthrough metrics on the IDPH website are sort of flawed as well. For example, the percentage of deaths of breakthrough cases is a percentage of the total deaths from COVID since January, when we were coming off of our largest wave and when virtually nobody was vaccinated.

    Additionally, the IDPH website previously had a section that showed deaths by demographics across the board. They should also have this for breakthroughs. It’s not really their fault alone, the CDC and the US nationally are doing a terrible job taking a closer look at breakthrough cases, who is affected the most, and giving guidance to vaccinated people based on that. We are no where close to having beaten this, especially given the recent reports of vaccine efficacy drop off after 6 months for people 65 and older. The most vulnerable people to begin with.

  5. - Cool Papa Bell - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 1:03 pm:

    I don’t think the Lolla numbers are all that dubious. It will be impossible to say they got COVID at the concert and not on public transport or eating before hand, or riding in a car.

    I’ve looked for tracing data and COVID counts in Milwaukee after the Bucks won the NBA title. They had 50K plus in a small contained area, with people mostly from the same metro. And for now weeks later there is no real discernible spike in Milwaukee. And that gathering was before Lolla.

    But as always - mask up and vaxx up.

  6. - tea_and_honey - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 1:04 pm:

    The zip code level data IDPH now had on their website shows some interesting outliers in vaccination rates that get lost in the statewide and even county wide numbers. There are several zip codes with around 16% of the population having received 1 dose. It’s great that the overall state percentage is growing, but there are still a lot of areas with super low rates.

  7. - cermak_rd - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 1:18 pm:

    Actually from looking at the lolla crowd pics of the L etc. I don’t think it will be that bad. First it was outside, with most people turned toward the bands and less toward each other. Second an awful lot of the crowd looked at least middle class or higher and many looked young enough to still be living at home. I think parents in that case would be likelier than not to have insisted on vaccination. Plus Lolla is just not an attraction to the red part of the state or region. I mean, to them Chicago is an apocalyptic hellplace so I doubt they would send their kids there to watch music acts.

  8. - A Jack - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 1:31 pm:

    People were packed into CTA platforms and trains as tight as sardines nightly after Lolla. And I saw maybe a 50% mask rate, despite it still being required on CTA trains. Many of the people I met were from out of state, so I am not sure how you can positively say or not say Lolla was a super spreader.

  9. - A Jack - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 1:39 pm:

    @cermak…. If you were in the crowd you had strings of people pushing their way forward toward the stage and then pushing back out to get to other stages. The crowd was in a constant flux. If you can use the smell of pot smoke as a gauge, we were all breathing the same air except for the occasional breeze.

  10. - Montrose - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 1:42 pm:

    I am confident the 203 people at Lolla have tested positive for COVID is an undercount, but if 1% of attendees tested positive, that would 3,850 people, almost 20x that 203 number, so it could be wildly off and Lolla still not be a super spreader event.

  11. - Nearly Normal - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 1:44 pm:

    This is a good summary of what is known about the Delta variant and how to fight it. Author is Special Assistant to the National Director of Pathology and Lab Medicine for the Veterans Affairs system, advising on elements of the COVID testing for the system.

  12. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 3:08 pm:

    I don’t think we’ll “beat” this virus. With anti-vaccers, other countries importing the virus and some government leaders ignoring science, it’ll always be around somewhere. Get used to the new normal.

  13. - Pundent - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 3:18 pm:

    I’m not sure what meaningful conclusions we’ll be able to draw from Lolla. While it’s entirely possible that unvaccinated attendees or those that weren’t recently tested did manage to get in, the fact of the matter is that a very high percentage of people followed the protocol because they didn’t want to face the consequence of not being tested. Put another way, there were more people that were vaccinated or had a negative test than you would likely see at any other large gathering. And the vaccine requirements was likely an incentive for many in attendance to actually get the shot. Personally I’d like to see more events doing this particularly if they’re outdoors because I think it could help with some of those that are dragging their feet. We’re at a stage of dealing with this virus where we have to think differently about how we manage and encourage behavior. With vaccines now widely available we have to think about social science as much as we do medical science.

  14. - EssentialStateEmployeeFromChatham - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 3:22 pm:

    ==I’m not sure what meaningful conclusions we’ll be able to draw from Lolla. ==

    Let alone what the State Fairs will be between now and Labor Day. Potential superspreader events in Springfield and DuQuoin? Staying far, far away from the fair, perhaps for good (although I haven’t been at the fair in 6 years anyway).

  15. - Bone of Contention - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 3:31 pm:

    Sir Reel, it will always be with us regardless of the protocols we follow., just like every other respiratory virus.

  16. - Pundent - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 3:32 pm:

    =Potential superspreader events in Springfield and DuQuoin?=

    Maybe. But there is a distinction between those events and Lolla as there is no vaccine or negative test requirement. I think that’s important. Time will tell.

  17. - Seats - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 3:33 pm:

    My IDPH records signed up for yesterday still not showing as being vaccinated. Sent an email yesterday, not sure who I need to contact. The vaccinations show up on “MyChart” medical app.

  18. - BTO2 - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 4:01 pm:

    Terrible choice that IDPH used to host vaccination system. Why in the world does it need all the info about finances.
    Silly employee salary lookup system is better than this.
    No records for for me as well. What a waste of time.

  19. - Anon - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 4:21 pm:

    I’ve been vaxxed, I support vaxxing, and I support masking of the unvaxxed.

    But, I am fed up with the following.

    News report: data shows it was a superspreader

    Response: Absolutely it was. We knew it was going to be.

    News report: News report: data shows it was not a superspreader.

    Response: Oh, now let’s not be hasty. We need to wait a bit longer and it will certainly turn into one.

    C’mon people - let’s not hope for bad things. Follow the data.

  20. - N’ville - Thursday, Aug 12, 21 @ 9:41 pm:

    Get your shots and mask up folks. We don’t want to end up like Louisiana.

  21. - thechampaignlife - Friday, Aug 13, 21 @ 8:19 am:

    ===showing vaccine proof is good for public health ===

    ACLU saying that vaccine proof is good is not an endorsement of the specific system being used. As an IT professional who analyzes IT security risks regularly, I can confirm that EFF’s concerns are spot on. Something like the U of I’s Rokwire platform would be much more compartmentalized and privacy-focused.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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