COVID-19

Credit Photo Provided / Photo Provided

This is a guide to the things we do know, from scientists, doctors and public health experts — a resource that changes alongside our understanding of this virus.

FAQ:  The Essential Coronavirus FAQ
MAP:  The real-time spread of coronavirus
STATE:  Tracking by State 
HOSPITAL:  Capacity by County

The novel coronavirus outbreak almost certainly did not start in a Chinese lab but its path from animals to humans needs further investigation, a World Health Organization team said Tuesday after wrapping up a visit to China.

The comments came as scientists from the WHO and Chinese health bodies jointly presented preliminary findings after two weeks of investigating in Wuhan, the Chinese city that first detected the virus in late 2019.

The U.S. is currently administering about 1.4 million vaccination shots a day. About 9.5% of people in the U.S. have already gotten one dose.

But demand still outstrips supply in cities across the country, while anecdotes abound about difficulties of trying to get appointments.

Scientists say vaccinations need to be as fast as possible to prevent more contagious coronavirus variants from taking over.

Senate Committee to Hold Hearing on COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

Feb 8, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The state’s seven-day rolling average COVID-19 case positivity rate remained below 3.5 percent Monday while a state Senate committee announced it will hold a hearing regarding the state’s vaccination plan.

The statewide positivity rate stood at 3.3 percent Monday, marking the ninth consecutive day that figure has been below 4 percent. Public health officials reported 1,747 new and probable cases of COVID-19 out of 47,210 test results over the previous 24 hours.

Updated at 11:36 a.m. ET

House Democrats are renewing their investigation into the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus crisis, citing new documents and what they call evidence of political interference in the government response to the virus.

African countries are far behind when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations, largely because rich countries in North America and Europe have already bought much of the existing and future supply.

Ever since the pandemic closed the nation's schools in March 2020, there has been no official national source for understanding where schools have reopened, how many hours of live instruction students are getting online and just how unequal the access to learning has been over the past 11 months.

The federal government plans to release new guidance next week about how to safely reopen schools in the midst of the pandemic — guidelines that could add new grist to a debate over whether schools should wait until teachers are vaccinated before requiring their return to the classroom.

As the United States has struggled to get the spread of the coronavirus under control, many schools have turned to virtual learning. President Biden has pledged to get most students back to in-person learning by the end of April, but there are questions about how to do so safely.

Every NFL team will offer their stadium as a possible mass vaccination site to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a letter to President Biden. The move would expand an effort that currently includes seven teams.

State Reaches New Record for Single Day Vaccine Doses Administered

Feb 5, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The statewide seven-day rolling positivity rate in Illinois declined to 3.3 percent Friday as the state reached a single-day vaccination record with nearly 75,000 doses administered the day prior.

The rolling case positivity rate has been steadily declining since Jan. 1 when the positivity rate reached 8.1 percent. Friday’s was the lowest rate seen since Oct. 4.

Officials in New York say they're working to overcome resistance to the coronavirus vaccine in the Black and Latino communities, while also trying to make doses more readily available.

New state data released Friday showed many Black New Yorkers aren't taking the vaccine even when it's offered free of charge.

Only 39% of Black New Yorkers said they'd take the vaccine as soon as it was available to them, according to the state data. Hispanic New Yorkers were somewhat less hesitant, at 54%.

Public university presidents recently wrote Gov. JB Pritzker, asking him to make higher education a priority area for COVID-19 vaccinations. But with only a limited number of doses available, Pritzker said he made the decision to place higher ed staff and students in the 1C class--or at least behind K-12 employees.

Updated at 12:58 p.m. ET

The Biden administration is finalizing contracts with six companies to increase the supply of at-home coronavirus tests – a plan that would bring more than 60 million tests to the U.S. market by the end of this summer, officials from the White House COVID-19 Response Team said on Friday.

The presidents of Illinois' public universities believe the state should make it a higher priority to provide COVID-19 vaccinations for higher education's faculty, staff, and students.

A third coronavirus vaccine candidate has requested emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. Johnson & Johnson submitted its application Thursday for the company's single-dose inoculation.

Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin approved a joint resolution Thursday overriding Gov. Tony Evers' most recent COVID-19 state of emergency, abolishing a state-wide mask mandate. In response, Evers declared a new state of emergency. Effective immediately, Wisconsinites must again wear masks in public places.

All Regions Reopen Under Phase 4

Feb 4, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

All of Illinois’ COVID-19 mitigation regions are under Phase 4 guidelines as of Thursday, allowing for youth sports and indoor dining with loosened restrictions.

The seven-day rolling average case positivity rate continued its steady decline, dropping to 3.4 percent, a number not seen since Oct. 6.

Lawsuits Over Indoor Dining Ban Proceed as All Regions Reopen

Feb 4, 2021
Capitol News Illinois file photo

Although the governor’s latest indoor dining ban has been lifted in all areas of the state, some lawsuits brought by restaurants challenging the ban remain active.

Among those are the cases filed by Tom DeVore, a southern Illinois lawyer who represents Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, and advises hundreds of other business clients who are staying open during the pandemic.

A confirmed COVID-19 case at a quarantine hotel in Melbourne, Australia, is forcing organizers of a major tennis tournament to mandate that more than 500 players and their staffs "be tested and isolate until they receive a negative test result" just days before play is set to begin.

Athletes prepping for the Australian Open, the year's first Grand Slam tournament and scheduled for Feb. 8 – 21, will not be permitted to leave their rooms until they test negative for the coronavirus.

An expert believes the economy will look different as we rebound from the pandemic-related recession, and he said some post-pandemic economic trends are already beginning to emerge.

Illinois to Ramp Up Vaccine Distribution

Feb 3, 2021
People
Blueroomstream.com

The state will soon start ramping up the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines as part of its effort to further limit the spread of the disease.

In addition to receiving increased shipments of vaccine from the federal government, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced that it plans to redirect 97,000 excess doses of vaccine from the federal Pharmacy Partnership program, which is in charge of administering vaccines to residents and staff at nursing homes, to make them available to people eligible under Phase 1B of the vaccination program.

Images
OSF HealthCare

The Southern Seven Health Department is looking for volunteers to help with COVID vaccine clinics.

Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Bobi Cavins said people don’t need to have medical experience to volunteer with the Medical Reserve Corps.

“We have medical volunteers and we have non-medical volunteers. It’s just a group of volunteers that will help with emergencies, or natural or manmade occurrences, that the health department needs assistance with,” she said.

Updated at 5:33 p.m. ET

Like residents around the country, millions of Floridians are anxious to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but the process of signing up for the shots has been confusing. Until recently, the process was different in each of the state's 67 counties.

Many Americans will likely want to celebrate this Sunday's Super Bowl as they have in previous years, with large, snack-filled watch parties. But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president's chief medical adviser and the nation's top infectious disease official, is urging people to break from tradition to prevent a potential spike in COVID-19.

COVID Update: Suburban Cook County Exits Mitigation Tier

Feb 2, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

On Tuesday, suburban Cook County moved into more relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, leaving only three of the state’s 11 COVID-19 mitigation regions still under Tier 1 and Tier 2 restrictions.

Regions 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10 and 11 have all entered Phase 4, meaning indoor dining and competitive high school sports can resume in those areas.

The Biden administration has announced that it will begin shipping about 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses a week directly to thousands of pharmacies in an attempt to address equity concerns and speed up the country's crucial inoculation effort.

The vaccines sent to pharmacies will be in addition to the millions of doses sent weekly to states, territories and tribes and that are sometimes administered at local pharmacies.

Unable to tame a third wave of coronavirus infections after a month-long state of emergency, Japan announced Tuesday it is extending the emergency for another month. The move comes despite a mounting toll on the economy and the threat of bumping up against the country's Summer Olympics preparations.

Updated at 9:50 a.m. ET

Russia's Sputnik V vaccine is 92% effective in protecting people from developing COVID-19 symptoms, according to a study published in The Lancet on Tuesday.

The study follows a Phase 3 trial in Moscow hospitals and clinics that included nearly 22,000 participants age 18 and older.

The vaccine, known as Gam-COVID-Vac, "was well tolerated in a large cohort," the researchers said. It was administered in two doses, 21 days apart.

Capt. Tom Moore, the 100-year-old World War II veteran who has raised millions of dollars to support health workers in the fight against COVID-19, now has the coronavirus and is in the hospital, according to his daughter. Moore was awarded a knighthood last year, after he inspired people in the U.K. and around the world.

"Over the last few weeks he was being treated for pneumonia and last week tested positive for COVID-19," Hannah Ingram-Moore said in a statement.

A U.S. House subcommittee is investigating coronavirus outbreaks at meatpacking plants, citing the deaths of more than 250 employees nationwide and accusing the Trump administration of failing to enforce worker safety laws.

Pages