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COVID-19 roundup

Monday, Sep 13, 2021

* Tribune

For much of the pandemic, the rate of new COVID-19 infections among people younger than 20 trailed the rates for other age groups. But that’s changed. In the most recent week’s worth of data, those under 20 experienced the highest rate of new infections.

For the week ending Sept. 4, Illinoisans under 20 saw more than 300 new cases per 100,000 people in that group. That’s 22% higher than the state average, which is near 245 per 100,000 residents. […]

The state’s southern region topped 1,320 weekly new cases per 100,000 kids [12-17] — or six times the rate of that age group in Lake and McHenry counties. The good news, for the southern region, is its latest figures were slightly lower than the prior week, stopping what had been a steep climb since mid-August. […]

The average number of kids admitted [to hospitals] each day in Illinois with confirmed cases of COVID-19 has risen from less than one a day in July to about six now. When adding in suspected cases upon admission, the number increases to nearly 44 kids a day, on average, which is about as bad as the spring 2021 surge and close to levels of last fall’s surge.

* Also from the Tribune

President Joe Biden’s newly issued mandate that companies with 100 or more employees must require vaccinations or weekly COVID-19 testing among their workforce may be just what the doctor ordered for a number of Chicago-area companies, including WeatherTech, the southwest suburban car floor mat manufacturer.

The company, which has 1,700 employees on its sprawling Bolingbrook campus making everything from dog bowls to cellphone holders, has no vaccine or testing mandates in place, despite having “several very sick employees” and one death from COVID-19, according to WeatherTech founder and CEO David MacNeil.

MacNeil, a strong proponent of COVID-19 vaccinations for his employees, said the legal landscape for imposing a company mandate was unknown — at least before Biden announced his proposed mandate Thursday.

“I welcome government help in getting the job done,” MacNeil said Friday.

Keeping employees and their families healthy is good for business. Period.

* And Chicago is attempting to use the fight against COVID as one angle in its business recruitment program

Chicago is taking aim at Texas’ new social policies with a full-page ad in Sunday’s Dallas Morning News, urging companies uncomfortable with the state’s recently enacted abortion and voting laws to head to the windy city.

World Business Chicago, the city’s public-private economic development arm, purchased the print ad, which opens with “Dear Texas” before jumping into reasons companies should consider moving north. It cites the Midwest city’s startup ecosystem, attraction of tech and engineering graduates and a top-ranked logistics and transportation sector as strengths.

Then it hones in on what it perceives as Texas’ new weakness.

“In Chicago, we believe in every person’s right to vote, protecting reproductive rights and science to fight COVID-19,″ the ad states.

* On that same topic, here’s the New York Times

Like other Republican governors around the country, Tate Reeves of Mississippi reacted angrily to the coronavirus vaccine mandates President Biden imposed on private businesses. Declaring the move “terrifying,” he wrote on Twitter: “This is still America, and we still believe in freedom from tyrants.”

There is a deep inconsistency in that argument. Mississippi has some of the strictest vaccine mandates in the nation, which have not drawn opposition from most of its elected officials. Not only does it require children to be vaccinated against measles, mumps and seven other diseases to attend school, but it goes a step further than most states by barring parents from claiming “religious, philosophical or conscientious” exemptions.

Resistance to vaccine mandates was once a fringe position in both parties, more the realm of misinformed celebrities than mainstream political thought. But the fury over Mr. Biden’s mandates shows how a once-extreme stance has moved to the center of the Republican Party. The governors’ opposition reflects the anger and fear about the vaccine among constituents now central to their base, while ignoring longstanding policy and legal precedent in favor of similar vaccination requirements.

…Adding… A truly dumb take

With a majority of colleges in Illinois requiring students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 before attending classes, one organization is pushing back.

Young Americans for Liberty is coordinating with student leaders at 23 public campuses around the country, including at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, to speak out against the forced mandates.

Spokesman Eric Brakey says the organization is not anti-vaccine, but rather anti-vaccine mandate at taxpayer-funded academic institutions.

“That is not what America is supposed to be,” Brakey said. “Those are the kind of policies we saw in the Soviet Union that we used to make fun of a generation ago.”

* Related…

* A Second Major Seasonal Virus Won’t Leave Us Any Choice: Businesses and schools must adapt, because the dual threat from COVID and the flu will be too severe.

* Galesburg doctor says new COVID-19 cases are more severe, ICU patients younger: Carpenter said all six ICU beds at OSF St. Mary Medical Center were filled during his shift Tuesday. All six were COVID-19 patients and all six were on ventilators. “We are seeing a higher number of patients requiring ventilator care than with the previous round,” Carpenter said. Likewise, this spike is having more serious effects on a younger demographic.

* Springfield family of fully vaccinated COVID-19 victim sends a message to doubters in her obituary: “Vaccinated individuals with other health conditions … may not have developed as strong of an antibody response with the vaccine as others and may not be able to fight off their illness and COVID as well,” said Gail O’Neill, director of the Sangamon County Department of Public Health. That apparently was the case with Candace Ayres, who had dealt with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis the past 10 years, her son said.

* Chicago Public Schools parents plan to protest at Mayor Lightfoot’s home in call for remote learning

- Posted by Rich Miller        

35 Comments »
  1. - Betty - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 11:48 am:

    Why are federal post office employees exempt form Biden’s vax mandate


  2. - Nick - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 11:51 am:

    “Resistance to vaccine mandates was once a fringe position in both parties, more the realm of misinformed celebrities than mainstream political thought.”

    Not so fringe even before this, unfortunately. It was just a few years ago in 2019 that you saw measles reach a recent global record, and a lot of battles here in the States over religions/philosophical exemptions that anti-vax parents are citing.


  3. - Nick - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 11:53 am:

    In fact

    https://thehill.com/news-by-subject/healthcare/429261-hundreds-protest-in-washington-for-right-not-to-vaccinate-children

    I’m honestly shocked I hadn’t thought of stuff like this as being a precursor to more current events.


  4. - Rich Miller - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 11:55 am:

    ===Why are federal post office employees exempt===

    Quasi independent agency. Why are you so dense?


  5. - 47th Ward - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 12:01 pm:

    ===Those are the kind of policies we saw in the Soviet Union that we used to make fun of a generation ago.===

    Youth is wasted on the young. This makes me sad for our future.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 12:04 pm:

    Don’t students need *some* vaccinations to attend UIUC outside Covid?


  7. - fs - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 12:04 pm:

    == Those are the kind of policies we saw in the Soviet Union that we used to make fun of a generation ago.==

    These are the types of arguments we saw from anti-vaccine groups that we used to bipartisanly make fun of 18 months ago.


  8. - Blake - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 12:04 pm:

    I’m honestly uncertain how effective a business recruiting tool the first two of the 3 points cited will be. Business often doesn’t seem deterred by culturally less-free places than Texas. Obviously the engineering/tech, logistics sites, & transportation parts are helpful.


  9. - ZC - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 12:05 pm:

    We need more conservative organizations today committed to truly educating tomorrow’s conservative and Republican youth, not weaponizing them.


  10. - Roadrager - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 12:09 pm:

    ==We need more conservative organizations today committed to truly educating tomorrow’s conservative and Republican youth, not weaponizing them.==

    There is no money for that or in it, so good luck. This may not be the conservative movement some want, but this is the one we have, thanks to five decades of playing footsie with the Moral Majority, white supremacists, and conspiracy theorists.


  11. - MrX - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 12:10 pm:

    Young Americans for Liberty is a Ron Paul fan club that has hosted Nick Fuentes, a big name in the white supremacist world, at events.


  12. - Betty - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 12:13 pm:

    Nice


  13. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 12:16 pm:

    ==Keeping employees and their families healthy is good for business. Period.==

    Right, AFSCME 31?


  14. - wayward - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 12:24 pm:

    Some of the comments under the State Journal-Register’s Facebook post about the obituary were pretty awful.


  15. - Jibba - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 12:31 pm:

    ==Those are the kind of policies we saw in the Soviet Union===

    How about an example? Mandating vaccinations at school is more of a US and first world thing, if you really think about it.


  16. - truthteller - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 12:38 pm:

    if COVID was not seen as a political weapon in the early stages in the US, we would not be facing or hearing such bullcrap from republicans. NOw, let darwinism prevail


  17. - Downstate - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 12:54 pm:

    Any ideas why Biden’s directive exempts postal workers and congressional members and employees from the mandate?


  18. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 12:56 pm:

    === postal workers===

    Asked and answered.

    ===congressional members and employees===

    Separation of powers.

    Federal agencies are under the executive.


  19. - Mama - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 1:14 pm:

    Rich, thanks for posting this:

    ==* Springfield family of fully vaccinated COVID-19 victim sends a message to doubters in her obituary: “Vaccinated individuals with other health conditions … may not have developed as strong of an antibody response with the vaccine as others and may not be able to fight off their illness and COVID as well,” said Gail O’Neill, director of the Sangamon County Department of Public Health. That apparently was the case with Candace Ayres, who had dealt with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis the past 10 years, her son said.==


  20. - Sir Reel - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 1:25 pm:

    Here’s an idea. Let all the Young Americans for Liberty go to Mississippi. Let all the anti-vaccers go to Mississippi. Concentrate them in one liberty-loving state, so the rest of us can go on with our lives.


  21. - Downstate - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 1:27 pm:

    Postal Workers - “quasi independent agency”

    Rich,
    Wouldn’t “independent” apply to every privately held company with over 100 employees, covered by Biden’s directive?
    Why would “quasi” offer some differentiation for the directive?


  22. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 1:28 pm:

    ==I’m honestly uncertain how effective a business recruiting tool the first two of the 3 points cited will be.==

    Depends on whether or not the business is interested in attracting women and minorities to their ranks (and, especially, to leadership positions). As Texas works to impose government will on reproductive rights and to reduce access to the ballot those folks may choose to live and work elsewhere.


  23. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 1:33 pm:

    - Downstate -

    Are you vaccinated?

    Thanks.

    If you’re concern is for those wanting NOT to be vaccinated, I’m curious.


  24. - Leap Day William - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 1:33 pm:

    == Don’t students need *some* vaccinations to attend UIUC outside Covid? ==

    Yes, when I was working toward my MS as a part-time on-campus student (thanks, tuition waiver), I had to provide my entire vaccination record and get up to date on a couple of them.


  25. - Ducky LaMoore - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 1:40 pm:

    “Those are the kind of policies we saw in the Soviet Union that we used to make fun of a generation ago.”

    No, these are the same kind of policies we have been championing since FDR.


  26. - Rich Miller - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 1:40 pm:

    ===Wouldn’t “independent” apply to every privately held company with over 100 employees, covered by Biden’s directive?===

    Yes, which is why USPS is under that directive and not the federal employee directive. C’mon.


  27. - Unconventional wisdom - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 2:02 pm:

    I am vaccinated. If advisable I will get a booster.
    I am tired of wearing a mask when many do not take the shots. Making no distinction only encourages those who do not take the shots to continue not to take them.

    In the meantime, there is at least some good news: New research first surfaced by The New York Times has found that the chances of the average, fully vaccinated American contracting COVID-19 are about 1 in 5,000 per day.

    https://www.fatherly.com/news/vaccination-risk-breakthrough-infection/


  28. - JS Mill - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 2:16 pm:

    I quit trying to reason with the anti-vax/mask people.

    Being in public education, I have to sit patiently and let them speak their peace, but I no longer engage or give them any satisfaction with debate discussion.

    When they are done with their screed, I move on without acknowledgement. Which is hard as I have always prided myself on being polite and giving people the respect of my time and attention.

    I still sit politely and act as though I am listening, but I no longer give it any of my mental energy or even acknowledge their insanity.


  29. - Sasha Fierce - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 2:18 pm:

    Sir Reel, it is easy for us to look at states like MS, LA, GA and TX with its governors and legislatures and throw away the states without thinking of the people who are trying to keep themselves safe and values and beliefs align with science. If not for the gerrymandering, the vestiges of slavery/Jim Crow, defunding public education, cut of the social safety net, and stripping of voting rights these states would look similar to blue states, they are truly purple if not for the purposeful work. All that to say Dr. Frankenstein (the republican party) needs to put down its monster or put it on a leash and not at the expense of my memaw and pepaw in MS.


  30. - Suburban Mom - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 2:49 pm:

    ===“Those are the kind of policies we saw in the Soviet Union that we used to make fun of a generation ago.”===

    Tell me a Boomer wrote your press statement without telling me a Boomer wrote your press statement.


  31. - Ducky LaMoore - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 2:56 pm:

    “I still sit politely and act as though I am listening, but I no longer give it any of my mental energy or even acknowledge their insanity.”

    Yep. Spent a whole weekend with my in-laws. I did not say a word. Once we were home, I said to my wife, “Gosh your mom is (bleeping) insane.” She nodded and thanked me for not trying to reason with someone who is completely unreasonable.


  32. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 3:30 pm:

    ==New research first surfaced by The New York Times has found that the chances of the average, fully vaccinated American contracting COVID-19 are about 1 in 5,000 per day.==

    Sadly, Ms. Ayers was among the 1 in 5,000.


  33. - Amalia - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 3:52 pm:

    Q covid woman from the bridge with her hospital harassment team has died. one of the tv stations said she refused to wear a mask. What will Michael Flynn do now?


  34. - MyTwoCents - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 4:44 pm:

    Blake, it seems like those issues are impacting business decisions. Salesforce just had an example from Texas, offering to pay for moving expenses for employees who want to move due to the abortion law.
    https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/11/business/salesforce-texas-abortion-law/index.html


  35. - Downstate - Monday, Sep 13, 21 @ 4:58 pm:

    OW,
    Am I vaccinated? Yes.

    As for the post office workers, the Washington Post reported that they weren’t covered by the mandate.


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