Sunday, September 20, 2020
Home Africa COVID-19 in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Monday - Chicago Tribune

COVID-19 in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Monday – Chicago Tribune

The ban on evictions in Illinois has been extended until late September as public health experts warn the state is among the areas of the country facing a “perfect storm” of risk factors for transmitting the highly contagious disease this fall.

The ban had been set to expire Saturday, but Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order over the weekend extending the moratorium to Sept. 22. It prohibits landlords from filing eviction cases.

The action came after public demonstrations and calls from public officials like Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, whose office is responsible for evicting tenants. In a letter to Pritzker last week, he urged the ban be extended until all city and county rent relief grants are dispersed.

Earlier this summer, lawyers for the governor argued that the ban was proper because it was designed to stop the coronavirus from spreading among newly evicted residents, who would have a hard time finding a new home.

On Sunday, Illinois public health officials reported 1,893 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and six additional deaths. That brings the state’s total to 220,178 cases and 7,880 fatalities.

Here’s what’s happening Monday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:

9:46 a.m.: First case of coronavirus reinfection confirmed in Hong Kong

Researchers in Hong Kong are reporting the first confirmed case of reinfection with the coronavirus.

“An apparently young and healthy patient had a second case of COVID-19 infection which was diagnosed 4.5 months after the first episode,” University of Hong Kong researchers said Monday in a statement.

The report is of concern because it suggests that immunity to the coronavirus may last only a few months in some people. And it has implications for vaccines being developed for the virus.

The 33-year-old man had only mild symptoms the first time and no symptoms this time around. The reinfection was discovered when he returned from a trip to Spain, the researchers said, and the virus they sequenced closely matched the strain circulating in Europe in July and August.

9:19 a.m.: Massive outages reported for Zoom videoconferencing

The popular videoconferencing platform Zoom is experiencing widespread outages Monday as users have been unable to join calls all morning. According to ZDNet, the outages have been reported in the eastern portion of the U.S. and in the U.K.

9:08 a.m.: Will COVID-19 cancel Halloween?

This year’s calendar was a Halloween-lover’s dream: Oct. 31 falls on a Saturday, and Chicago’s costume shops, haunted houses and candy companies were gearing up for a blowout season of spooky thrills.

So what happens when the scariest thing on Halloween isn’t ghouls, witches or zombies, but the prospect of trick-or-treating in the middle of a pandemic?

“Obviously it’s not going to be what it has been,” said George Garcia, owner of Fantasy Costumes, who has been selling costumes in the Portage Park neighborhood for more than half a century. “We waited six years to get Halloween on a Saturday, and now this.”

Headed into a Halloween unlike any other, towns are weighing whether to announce trick-or-treating hours while haunted house operators determine if there’s any way to make a room packed with screaming teens safe. Costume shops are trying to adapt, by offering inflatable costumes and trick-or-treating bags that promote social distancing.

“With everything going on, people are going to be looking for a little bit of escape or relief,” Garcia said.

7:57 a.m.: Back-to-school laptop shortage hits schools nationwide. ‘You can’t have a kid do distance learning without a computer.’

Schools across the United States are facing shortages and long delays, of up to several months, in getting this year’s most crucial back-to-school supplies: the laptops and other equipment needed for online learning, an Associated Press investigation has found.

The world’s three biggest computer companies, Lenovo, HP and Dell, have told school districts they have a shortage of nearly 5 million laptops, in some cases exacerbated by Trump administration sanctions on Chinese suppliers, according to interviews with over two dozen U.S. schools, districts in 15 states, suppliers, computer companies and industry analysts.

As the school year begins virtually in many places because of the coronavirus, educators nationwide worry that computer shortfalls will compound the inequities — and the headaches for students, families and teachers.

6:30 a.m.: Illinois Republicans sense momentum against Democrats but uncertain how to deliver their message

In the age of COVID-19 and a variety of fits and starts, the Republican National Convention that kicks off Monday will be held largely in a virtual digital setting just as the recently completed Democratic convention.

Unlike the Democratic convention, where states’ delegates were told to stay home as former Vice President Joe Biden was nominated for president, Republicans are allowing 336 delegates to actually go to the host city, representing the 50 states, plus territories.

Illinois GOP State Chairman Tim Schneider and Richard Porter, the state’s Republican National Committeeman, will attend. Demetra Demonte, the state’s Republican National Committeewoman, had planned to go but opted out for family health reasons.

That leaves the rest of the 67-member delegation, all pledged to President Donald Trump’s renomination based on the state’s March 17 primary results, in a bit of quandary. Unlike the state’s Democrats, who met virtually for a rally session before each night’s prime-time festivities, the state GOP delegation’s schedule has become a work in progress.

“I have no idea what to expect,” said Illinois Senate Republican leader Bill Brady of Bloomington, an at-large delegate. “I’ll be getting together with some colleagues to watch the convention and we’ll talk and see. But I just have no idea what to expect out of this, given the framework.”

Other delegates said they are attempting to organize convention “watch parties” and Porter, en route to Charlotte, said “you can put together Zoom meetings in 15 minutes, so I do think at the end of the day there will be some of that.”

6:15 a.m.: Trump announces plasma treatment authorized for COVID-19, a treatment that has had inconclusive results

President Trump on Sunday announced emergency authorization to treat COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma — a move he called “a breakthrough,” one of his top health officials called “promising” and other health experts said needs more study before it’s celebrated.

The announcement came after White House officials complained there were politically motivated delays by the Food and Drug Administration in approving a vaccine and therapeutics for the disease that has upended Trump’s reelection chances.

On the eve of the Republican National Convention, Trump put himself at the center of the FDA’s announcement of the authorization at a news conference Sunday evening. The authorization makes it easier for some patients to obtain the treatment but is not the same as full FDA approval.

The blood plasma, taken from patients who have recovered from the coronavirus and rich in antibodies, may provide benefits to those battling the disease. But the evidence so far has not been conclusive about whether it works, when to administer it and what dose is needed.

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