COVID-19

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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

For nearly an hour Saturday, about 50 vaccination opponents and right-wing supporters of former President Donald Trump delayed COVID-19 vaccinations when they protested at the entrance to Dodger Stadium, the site of a mass vaccination campaign.

Holding signs that said things such as "COVID=Scam," "Don't be a lab rat" and "Tell Bill Gates to go vaccinate himself," the protesters caused the Los Angeles Fire Department to close the stadium entrance as a precaution. People in hundreds of cars, waiting in line for hours, had to wait even longer.

Updated at 8:23 p.m. ET on Monday

A group of Republican senators met with President Biden on Monday evening to detail a smaller counterproposal to his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, an alternative they believe could be approved "quickly by Congress with bipartisan support."

The European Union reversed a brief decision to try to restrict the export of COVID-19 vaccines across the border from Ireland into Northern Ireland.

European vaccination campaigns have been struggling as supplies of vaccines on the continent have run low. The decision to invoke an emergency protocol of the Brexit deal was seen as an effort to keep supplies from going from the EU to Britain.

Starting early next week, travelers and commuters will be required to wear face masks on nearly all forms of public transportation as part of a sweeping new order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Dr. Paul Stoffels, the chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson, told NPR on Friday that the topline results from the company's coronavirus vaccine study fail to tell the full story about just how effective it actually is.

Johnson & Johnson said that 28 days after vaccination, its vaccine is 66% effective in preventing moderate to severe cases of COVID-19. But Stoffels says that Johnson & Johnson's vaccine is very effective where it matters most: preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

The Navajo Nation has lifted a strict weekend curfew that has been in place for months to expand COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

Vaccinations Up Again as Positivity Rate Continues to Decline

Jan 29, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The state on Friday reported 58,357 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered over the previous 24 hours, setting a one-day high mark for the third straight day.

Still, only 26.4 percent of the 496,100 doses distributed to the federal Pharmacy Partnership program have been administered to residents of long-term care facilities through nationwide pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens.

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Provided By the Office of United States Senator Dick Durbin.

One of the sticking points of President Biden's COVID-19 rescue plan is the matter of hundreds of billions of dollars to help state and local governments fill their COVID-affected budget holes.  US Senator Dick Durbin says he supports the plan and is hoping for more.

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

The European Union will soon start administering AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine — the third vaccine it has endorsed. The European Commission gave conditional authorization to the vaccine on Friday, hours after regulators recommended the move.

The European Medicines Agency said the AstraZeneca vaccine will prevent the deadly coronavirus from affecting people who are at least 18 years old. The vaccine has been administered in the U.K. since early this month.

A global study of nearly 44,000 found that the COVID-19 vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson is 66% effective in preventing moderate to severe disease.

The study was conducted in the U.S., Latin America and South Africa. The vaccine did better at preventing disease in the U.S. – 72% — and less well in South Africa – 57% efficacy. The efficacy seen in Latin America was 66%.

InFocus 105: Renewal

Jan 29, 2021

January is traditionally a time of renewal and new starts. How does that apply to a global health crisis? We'll take a closer look at how new vaccines and treatments are changing the way healthcare professionals are caring for patients and working to keep others healthy. The New Year may also bring new rules that affect how we live and work. We'll explore what some of those options look like, and what you need to know as you make your own resolutions and plans.

The biotech company Novavax says its COVID-19 vaccine is 89% effective at preventing the illness, according to an interim analysis of a large study conducted in the U.K.

The results come from a clinical trial involving more than 15,000 volunteers, of whom more than a quarter were older than 65.

The company says 62 cases of COVID-19 were seen in the study. Fifty-six occurred in the group that got placebo; six were seen in people who received the vaccine.

Slightly more than 6% of American adults have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine — but a disproportionately small number of them are Black and Hispanic people.

When the first coronavirus wave hit New York state last spring, nursing homes and assisted living facilities were devastated.

An investigation by the office of state Attorney General Letitia James issued Thursday found the death toll was far worse than officials disclosed.

"A larger number of nursing home residents died from COVID-19 than [New York Department of Health] data reflected," the preliminary report concluded.

Updated at 2:35 p.m. ET

Health officials have identified the first U.S. cases of the coronavirus variant that was initially detected in South Africa. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the variant, known as B 1.351, has been found in South Carolina.

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WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.

Europe's COVID-19 immunization program is in crisis mode as existing supplies of available vaccines are critically low — just as many European nations are facing another wave of infections.

Spain on Wednesday became the first European country to partly suspend its immunization campaign due to a low supply of vaccines, despite having the third-highest caseload in Europe. Local officials announced this week that the program in Madrid, the capital, will idle for two weeks.

State records highest one-day total of vaccines administered

Jan 27, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The number of vaccinations administered in one day in Illinois saw a record spike Tuesday as the statewide seven-day rolling positivity rate continued to decrease to levels not seen since mid-October.

The rolling case positivity rate hit 4.5 percent as of Wednesday, decreasing for the 19th consecutive day to hit its lowest number since Oct. 13.

After receiving the go ahead from the Illinois Department of Public Health to start playing high school sports in regions that have reached Phase 4 mitigation status, the Illinois High School Association Wednesday released its schedule for its each sport for the remainder of the school year.

Updated at 2:24 p.m. ET

At the first briefing by the Biden administration's COVID-19 response team on Wednesday, the message was clear: Science and scientists will lead the response. And the team has inherited a fractured and lagging strategy.

The briefing was led by Jeffrey Zients, a businessman who was a top economic adviser in the Obama administration. Asked how the Defense Production Act might be used to produce more vaccine doses faster, Zients said nothing has been ruled out.

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University of Illinois

A new online tool may help people detect the symptoms of COVID-19 sooner.

The idea is to take a quick smell and taste test every morning with your favorite drink whether that be coffee, juice or something else.

University of Illinois assistant professor of Food Science Yanina Pepino says the web-based tool tracks how strong your senses are over a period of time, that way you will be able to detect any drastic changes.

A number of European countries have announced new mask recommendations and requirements, pushing aside fabric masks in favor of surgical masks or medical-grade respirators.

Updated at 10:58 a.m. ET Wednesday

Data from K-12 schools that reopened for in-person instruction in the fall show little evidence that schools contributed meaningfully to the spread of COVID-19, according to a new article published Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.

California lifted stay-at-home orders for all regions on Monday as the government said hospital intensive care unit capacity is expected to increase.

The stay-at-home orders applied to regions of the state where availability in ICUs had dropped below 15%. Southern California, the Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley were still under the order when it was lifted.

Two More Regions See Mitigations Scaled Back as COVID-19 Positivity Rate Continues to Decline

Jan 26, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Two more Illinois regions will see COVID-19 mitigations scaled back amid declining positivity numbers, state officials announced Tuesday.

The state’s seven-day rolling case positivity rate stood at 4.6 percent Tuesday, the 18th consecutive day that figure has dropped, and the lowest mark it has reached since Oct. 14. The state reported 3,667 new and probable COVID-19 cases Tuesday out of 69,285 test results reported over the previous 24 hours.

SIU Researcher Discusses New COVID Variant

Jan 26, 2021
A virus protein with spikes.
Daniel Roberts / Pixabay

SIU researchers have discovered a new variant of the coronavirus. I sat down with assistant professor of biochemistry, Keith Gagnon, whose RNA lab discovered the new strain.

Gagnon said the new variant appears to be unique and widespread.

“It has a set of mutations that are distinct and different from those that we've seen previously, including the UK variants,” Gagnon said. “So we're going to give it a different name. And it appears to have emerged in the US and spread to the US pretty widely and is now one of the most dominant forms”

News that AstraZeneca's promised COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to Europe will be delayed isn't sitting well with officials, who are pushing the company to honor the agreed-upon delivery schedule.

"Europe invested billions to help develop the world's first COVID-19 vaccines," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video statement Tuesday. "And now, the companies must deliver. They must honor their obligations."

Dutch demonstrators again defied the country's new curfew to protest government restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus. Hundreds of people have been arrested in recent days as the protests turned violent with rioters attacking police.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte disputed the motivations of the rioters.

"What motivated these people has nothing to do with protesting," he told reporters Monday. "It's criminal violence and we will treat it as such."

A new variant of coronavirus first detected in Brazil has been confirmed in Minnesota. The variant was detected by the Minnesota Department of Health, which announced Monday that the new strain is thought to be more transmissible. This is the first documented case of the variant in the United States.

Updated on Tuesday at 9:41 p.m. ET

A gorilla at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, Calif., underwent monoclonal antibody therapy after contracting COVID-19 this month.

Winston, an elderly silverback gorilla, and two other troop members tested positive for the coronavirus after they had symptoms such as mild coughing. "The virus was confirmed in 3 gorillas and we assume they all were exposed," Nadine Lamberski, the zoo's chief conservation and wildlife health officer, told NPR in an email. She said all the troop members were managed accordingly.

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