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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

Peeling paint. Cracked buckets. Employees dragging unsealed bags of medical waste. Procedures ignored. Inadequately trained staff.

Scientists and public health experts agree that masks are effective at lowering the spread of the coronavirus indoors, where the vast majority of transmission is likely to occur.

But what about outside?

About two dozen states have statewide mask mandates that generally require people to wear masks outside when they're not able to stay at least 6 feet apart. Many cities have their own rules.

Lawmakers Push to Require Nursing Homes to Offer Virtual Visits

Apr 20, 2021

Lawmakers and advocates are calling for the Illinois General Assembly to pass a bill that would require nursing homes to offer virtual visits for residents to prevent social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

AARP Illinois, the senior advocacy group which helped craft Senate Bill 2137, held a virtual news conference Tuesday to emphasize the necessity of such legislation as the ongoing pandemic prevents nursing home residents from in-person visits and participating in other daily social activities.

The European Union's drug regulator said Tuesday it had concluded there is a "possible link" between the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and several cases in the U.S. of a rare type of blood clot, but emphasized that the shot's benefits "in preventing COVID-19 outweigh the risks of side effects."

Southern Seven Head Start reports that it has temporarily closed its Vienna Head Start Early Learning Center following one confirmed case of COVID-19 in the facility.

On Monday, Australia and New Zealand launched their long-anticipated travel bubble that will allow residents of each country to visit the other without having to quarantine upon arrival.

Emotional videos capturing long-awaited reunions in arrival halls in various airports across Australia and New Zealand have been circulating online since the first passengers touched down. Thousands are reported to have made the journey across the Tasman Sea in the bubble's opening first day.

Global COVID-19 Deaths Top 3 Million

Apr 17, 2021

Global deaths from COVID-19 has surpassed 3 million, according to the latest data from John Hopkins University.

Leading in those deaths are the United States, with more than 566,000, and Brazil, with more than 368,000. They are followed by Mexico, India and the United Kingdom.

The global death toll reached 1 million in September 2020 and 2 million in January.

Quarter of Illinois’ Population Fully Vaccinated

Apr 16, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Nearly one quarter of the state’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data released Friday by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

With more than 3.18 million state residents fully vaccinated, the percentage of fully vaccinated Illinoisans has reached 24.95 percent as of Thursday.

Senator Tammy Duckworth is encouraging all Illinoisans to get the COVID-19 vaccines for the sake of the community.

In a virtual town hall Thursday night, leaders including Duckworth and Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike stressed the need for vaccines. Duckworth emphasized the need for people to work as a community and get vaccinated to protect each other, especially those too young to get the shot. Ezike encouraged those who have already been vaccinated to reach out to friends and neighbors.

A second varsity high school football game in southern Illinois has fallen victim to the pandemic.

State Unemployment Falls to 7.1% in March

Apr 15, 2021

The statewide unemployment rate in Illinois fell three-tenths of a percentage point in March, to 7.1 percent, as the daily count of new COVID-19 cases and the case positivity rate appeared to be leveling.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday that preliminary numbers show employers added 32,200 nonfarm jobs during the month, with the biggest gains showing up in the leisure and hospitality sector, which took the biggest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On normal days, the gym at this Indianapolis school would be filled with kids in phys ed classes. But last Saturday it was the scene of a pop-up vaccination clinic.

And the mood was just as up-beat. One nurse brought her husband to the KIPP Indy Legacy High School to get vaccinated — to cheers from everyone around.

At the entrance to the gym, volunteers used laptops to help people check in. Most got their shots without a wait. After all, community workers had pre-registered 200 area residents to make the experience as easy as possible.

As the abbreviated Illinois high school football season enters its final two weeks, the COVID-19 virus has reared its ugly head in one southern Illinois program.

One in 4 Americans would refuse a coronavirus vaccine if offered, a recent NPR/Marist poll found. Another 5% are "undecided" about whether they would get the shot. And some researchers are growing worried that this reluctance will be enough to prevent the nation from reaching what's known as herd immunity.

Denmark will stop administering the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, health officials said Wednesday.

In a statement, the Danish Health Authority emphasized that the shot's benefits outweigh the risks for those who do get it, but said they had decided to discontinue its use because of its possible link to rare cases of blood clotting and the "fact that the COVID-19 epidemic in Denmark is currently under control and other vaccines are available."

**UPDATED to include information on postponed J&J Vaccine clinics**

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 12-18:

Appointments also available through Illinois' COVID Vaccine Registration Page

Local Health Departments Pause Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

Apr 13, 2021

Health departments across Illinois are pausing administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine.

The FDA and CDC recommended states hold off on distributing the shot after 6 women who received the vaccine developed a rare blood clotting disorder. Nearly 7 million people in the US have received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine so far. Jackson County Health Department administrator Bart Hagston said the blood clotting disorder is extremely rare, and those who have had the vaccine more than three weeks ago shouldn’t be worried.

State Sued Over Veteran’s COVID-19 Death at LaSalle Veterans’ Home

Apr 13, 2021
Capitol News Illinois

A wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a Korean War veteran who contracted COVID-19 at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home accuses the facility of negligent care that violated state law.

Richard John Cieski Sr. was one of 36 veterans who died last year during the COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle home that began in November.

Lawyers for Cieski’s estate said this legal action is the first civil lawsuit seeking to hold the state, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the LaSalle facility responsible for a COVID-19 related death at the state-run veterans home.

State Pausing use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine per Federal Recommendations

Apr 13, 2021

On advice of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Illinois will pause distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson.

The federal agencies made that recommendation Tuesday morning after reporting rare and severe blood clots in six people who had taken the vaccine. The CDC and FDA are reviewing the data regarding those cases.

Southern Illinois University

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIUC Chancellor Austin Lane, as the campus prepares for spring commencement, and looks ahead to the summer and fall semesters.

Updated April 13, 2021 at 2:11 PM ET

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday they are recommending a "pause" in the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine out of an "abundance of caution" while a review of reports of rare, potentially dangerous blood clots is conducted.

HYDERABAD, India — One of the largest gatherings of people in the world continues in northern India amid a sharp rise in coronavirus cases and a weakening supply of vaccines.

People infected with the U.K. variant of the coronavirus didn't experience more severe symptoms and weren't more likely to die from this particular strain, according to a new study of hospitalized patients published Monday.

The strain, called the B.1.1.7 variant, remains more contagious than original strains of the virus however, according to the study in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

It took less than two weeks for the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan to vaccinate almost all of its eligible population.

The country's vaccination campaign kicked off on March 27. By April 8, according to the Ministry of Health, 93% of eligible adults had gotten their first dose. Officials said 472,139 people between ages 18 and 104 had been vaccinated as of that date, and they urged other eligible individuals to follow suit.

Days after declaring racism a serious public health threat, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a pair of studies further quantifying the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color.

The studies, published Monday in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, examine trends in racial and ethnic disparities in hospitalizations and emergency room visits associated with COVID-19 in 2020.

Vaccination Pace Increases; State Prisons Reopening for Visits

Apr 12, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Over the past seven days, 132,188 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered daily on average in Illinois as of Monday, an increase of more than 27,000 from the daily average one week ago.

That average was driven upward by a one-day record of 175,681 doses administered Friday, the third day in a row the record was broken.

On a recent Saturday, a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic is in full swing at the Corinthian Baptist Church in Des Moines.

People sit patiently, scattered throughout the church’s pews for the required 15 minute waiting period after their shot.

In the dimly lit room, they face a stained glass mural. It serves as a reminder of the church’s significance in the Black community. It depicts scenes like slaves arriving from Africa, Black church choirs and civil rights leaders.

Friends of Carbondale Dog Parks
Friends of Carbondale Dog Parks / Friends of Carbondale Dog Parks

The Friends of Carbondale Dog Parks is about two months from opening, but they’re facing some tough choices.

The Friends of Carbondale Dog Parks was supposed to open last summer, but COVID-19 caused construction to be delayed until now.

Tourism and Hospitality Leaders Call for State Support, Guidance Amid COVID-19 Recovery

Apr 9, 2021

Leaders from the state’s tourism and hospitality industry asked legislators for additional support and reopening guidance during a Thursday committee hearing as the state plans next steps for its COVID-19 economic recovery.

Michael Jacobson, President and CEO of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, told the House Tourism Committee Thursday that hotels have “been among the hardest hit” segment of the economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the industry may not see a full recovery until 2024 at the earliest.

Judge Declines to Dismiss Lawsuit Over Indoor Dining Ban

Apr 9, 2021
Capitol News Illinois

A Kane County restaurant’s legal challenge to Gov. JB Pritzker’s ban on indoor dining can continue, a Sangamon County judge ruled this week.

Attorneys for Pritzker tried to have the lawsuit dismissed but Sangamon County Judge Raylene Grischow on Wednesday declined to do so. While Grischow decided not to dismiss the case, she did not reach a decision on the merits of their argument.