COVID-19

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Report Into LaSalle Home Deaths Raises Questions About Criminal Probe

May 3, 2021
People
Capitol News Illinois file photo by Jerry Nowicki

Some Republicans in the General Assembly, including House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, are calling for a criminal investigation into the COVID-19 related deaths at the state-run LaSalle Veterans’ Home.

The push for a criminal probe comes after a state investigative report was released Friday that found there were widespread failures at the LaSalle facility and the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs that contributed to 36 resident deaths there since November.

The number of children contracting COVID-19 in the U.S. is much lower than the record highs set at the start of the new year, but children now account for more than a fifth of new coronavirus cases in states that release data by age, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. It's a statistic that may surprise many: Just one year ago, child COVID-19 cases made up only around 3% of the U.S. total.

The head of the European Commission said Monday that she is recommending that nonresident travelers vaccinated against COVID-19 and those from "countries with a good health situation" be allowed to travel to the European Union this summer.

However, von der Leyen cautioned in a tweet Monday that if variants of the coronavirus emerge, "we have to act fast: we propose an EU emergency brake mechanism."

Following days of deadly protests across Colombia against a planned nationwide tax increase, President Iván Duque has withdrawn the proposal that he insisted was needed to fix the country's pandemic-battered economy.

Protests that began last week have led to multiple deaths, and they continued over the weekend despite a promise by Duque on Friday to remove some of the bill's most controversial provisions. On Sunday, he announced the proposed overhaul would be shelved and replaced.

Wearing a face mask will continue to be a requirement at airports, aboard commercial flights and on other public transportation across the country through the summer.

The federal mask mandate, which was set to expire on May 11, will remain in effect through Sept. 13, according to updated guidance issued by the Transportation Security Administration on Friday.

The gates of Disneyland are opening again Friday to welcome customers for the first time since the resort was closed at the start of the global pandemic. Only California residents will be allowed to visit, and daily crowd sizes will be limited due to safety protocols.

"I can't wait to just be there and feel it and listen to the music and smell the churros," Robert Laird, a Disney megafan, said in an interview with NPR's Morning Edition.

“Lack of COVID-19 preparation,” paired with “failures in communication” both in and outside of the state-run LaSalle Veterans Home contributed to a major COVID-19 outbreak that killed 36 residents at the facility and infected dozens more, according to a report published by Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration Friday.

Brazil surpassed 400,000 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday at the tail-end of the country's deadliest month of the pandemic yet.

At last count, 401,186 people had died in Brazil based on data tracked by Johns Hopkins University, a toll only the U.S. has topped.

More Brazilians have died from the virus in the first four months of this year than in all of 2020, with the death toll having jumped from 300,000 to 400,000 in the past five weeks alone.

SIU's campuses in Carbondale and Edwardsville will hold tuition and mandatory fees flat next year - as administrators say higher education shouldn't be out of reach because of cost.

New York City, which one year ago was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, will "fully reopen" for business on July 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. The announcement marks a stirring rebound for a city that lost more than 10,000 people in just the first month of the pandemic.

"We are ready for stores to open, for businesses to open," de Blasio said on MSNBC's Morning Joe. Offices and theaters, he said, would be able to operate at "full strength."

The organizers of Japan's Summer Olympics, due to start just weeks from now, say they will administer daily coronavirus tests to athletes and will decide in June on what is a safe number of spectators.

At a virtual meeting on Wednesday, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and representatives of the other organizers discussed measures to keep the coronavirus in check during the games, which begin July 23.

"The IOC is fully committed to the successful and safe delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020," Bach said in his opening remarks.

Southern Seven Head Start has temporarily closed its Jonesboro Head Start Early Learning Center following one confirmed case of COVID-19 in the building on Tuesday.

Young people who get the COVID-19 vaccine in West Virginia won't just gain protection against a deadly virus — they'll also make money.

The state will offer a $100 savings bond to everyone between the ages of 16 and 35 who gets vaccinated, Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, announced at a Monday briefing. It's part of an ongoing push to get shots into the arms of younger residents, who have been largely slow to roll up their sleeves so far.

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Gov. JB Pritzker announced a new state program Monday that aims to increase vaccine access in low-income, vulnerable communities and to connect residents across the state to COVID-19 assistance programs for transportation, food, utilities or other resources.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Health Navigator Program serves areas of the state outside of Chicago and Cook County, and is funded by $60 million in grants from the Illinois Department of Public Health to regional organizations.

The United States will release 60 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from drugmaker AstraZeneca to other countries over the next several months, the White House announced Monday.

The vaccine, which has not been authorized for use in the U.S., will be released once it clears safety reviews by the Food and Drug Administration. That could happen in the "coming weeks," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing.

As of Monday, April 12, anyone 16 and older is eligible for a COVID Vaccine in Illinois.

State and county health departments are partnering with health providers and pharmacies to help administer COVID-19 vaccine. Here is our list for the week of April 26:

Appointments also available through Illinois' COVID Vaccine Registration Page

The Navajo Nation has vaccinated more than half of its adult population against COVID-19, outpacing the U.S. national rate and marking a significant turnaround for what was once the site of the highest per-capita infection rate in the country.

Last year, the coronavirus pandemic forced many summer camps to close and families to change their plans. Now, new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says camps will be able to open for in-person activities, provided they take specific steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

American tourists who have been fully vaccinated will be allowed to visit the European Union this summer, according to officials in Brussels.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said she expects all 27 EU member states will accept travelers who've received COVID-19 vaccines that the European Medicines Agency has approved. That would include the three vaccines that have been authorized for use in the United States — Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer-BioNTech.

People
Southern Illinois University

SIU President Dan Mahony talks with WSIU's Jennifer Fuller about his nomination for the inaugural SIU Vice President for Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion... along with expectations for the coming summer and fall semesters amid COVID-19.

A massive fire at a Baghdad hospital dedicated to COVID-19 patients has left at least 82 people dead and dozens injured. Amid calls for action by international organizations, Iraq's prime minister ordered an investigation.

Early reports say the blaze Saturday at Ibn Al-Khatib Hospital in the Iraqi capital was set off by an exploding oxygen cylinder. The flames raged through the facility where patients were being treated for the coronavirus.

Iraq Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Khaled Al-Muhanna said 110 people were injured in the explosion.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "recommends that pregnant people receive the COVID-19 vaccine," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Friday, citing a new study on the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

Early clinical trials of the two-dose shots did not include pregnant individuals, limiting data and creating a sense of uncertainty for many.

Updated April 23, 2021 at 7:16 PM ET

Use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is allowed again now that a panel of experts has voted to put it back in distribution despite rare blood clotting problems.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday after the panel voted that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, and its benefits outweigh the known risks.

Japan's central government has declared a third state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic with new restrictions imposed in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures. Local leaders requested the move as they face a sharp rise in new coronavirus cases.

The declaration comes as Tokyo prepares to host the Summer Olympics, slated to begin in July, and just before Japan enters one of its biggest holiday seasons, Golden Week, in late April.

The California State University and University of California systems announced on Thursday that all 33 campuses will require students and staff returning for in-person instruction this fall to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The potential lasting effects of COVID-19 infection are many — and people with more severe initial infections are at greater risk for long-term complications, according to a study published Thursday in Nature.

The study, thought to be the largest post-acute COVID-19 study to date, sheds more light on the lingering effects of COVID-19 known as "long COVID."

JERUSALEM — Israel and Bahrain on Thursday reached what Israel calls the world's first bilateral agreement for mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccine passports for quarantine-free travel between two countries, an Israeli diplomat who helped forge the deal tells NPR.

"This is the most effective way to enable movement of people between countries," says Ilan Fluss, head of the Israeli foreign ministry's economic division. "A lot of countries are looking at testing, but it is not enough."

The U.S. State Department has vastly expanded its "Do Not Travel list," issuing new Level 4 advisories for more than 115 countries and territories this week. The agency cites "ongoing risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic."

The U.S. Do Not Travel list now includes Canada, Mexico, Germany and the U.K. A Level 3 warning is in place for a smaller group of nations, such as China, Australia and Iceland. Japan is also on the Level 3 list, despite a worrying rise in new coronavirus cases there.

The date of the varsity football game between Carterville and Du Quoin has been changed.

Du Quoin High School athletics says to comply with IHSA rules, the game will be played Friday night at 7.

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