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

State Tops 3 Million Vaccines Administered; Pritzker Announces Awareness Campaign

Mar 5, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

More than 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered statewide as of Friday, and Gov. JB Pritzker announced a new $10 million public awareness campaign aimed at encouraging residents to get vaccinated.

The announcement comes as Illinois set another single-day record for vaccines administered Friday with over 132,000 doses administered statewide.

Updated at 12:55 p.m. ET

As several states face criticism for lifting coronavirus-related public health restrictions, a study published Friday confirms that state-imposed mask mandates and on-premises dining restrictions help slow the spread of COVID-19.

As hopes increase that life will soon get back to normal, there's one pandemic ritual that a lot of kids and parents are going to miss.

A year ago, as the coronavirus began to rage, fitness instructor Joe Wicks, known as The Body Coach, started a daily exercise class for kids on YouTube called "PE With Joe." The idea was to help children stay active during the lockdown.

Australia has asked the European Commission to review Italy's decision to block a shipment of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to the Pacific Island nation this week.

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Hakan Nural unsplash

Several  hospitals in underserved areas will soon be getting 500 extra does per week, of the COVID-19 Vaccine.  Damon Harbison, President of SSM Health says, this is good news.

Comptroller Hopeful Outdoor Events on Track for Summer, Indoor Events for Fall

Mar 4, 2021
People
Blueroomstream.com

In a Senate Tourism and Hospitality Committee hearing Thursday, State Comptroller Susana Mendoza said she is hopeful outdoor events can return as early as this summer with large indoor events such as conventions and trade shows beginning in the fall.

Mendoza said that the return to holding events would be gradual and based on a number of factors, including COVID-19 transmission and vaccination rates.

As President Biden pushes to get U.S. schools fully open soon, an art exhibit aims to help people visualize what it means that they're closed.

It turns out a COVID-19 vaccine that stirred controversy in India may be effective after all.

After DorShann Lewis, a Black working mother in Fishers had her baby late last year, she relied on virtual visits to see her doctor. 

“It was much more convenient,” she says. “I didn’t have to deal with the mask and just the overall fear. And just having the flexibility to be at home and to know that I was safe at home with the kids.”

Every October when the weather turns cold, Carol Clapp leaves her family farm in Epping, N.H., and travels halfway around the world to spend the next six months in New Zealand.

So when COVID-19 exploded globally last March, the long-distance snowbird became stranded in a paradise of sorts.

"I've had quite a year here," said Clapp, 73, over a Zoom call from the porch of her house in the small town of Riverton, as the birds in the eucalyptus trees chirped.

State Announces New Vaccination Sites

Mar 3, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

The state announced new mass vaccination sites in Adams and Cook counties Wednesday and added National Guard support for sites in the state’s southernmost seven counties.

That brings the number of state-supported mass vaccination sites to 18, according to the governor’s office, while there are more than 880 sites throughout the state where eligible recipients can be vaccinated. Information on where to find vaccination sites and appointments is available at coronavirus.illinois.gov, although appointments are still limited due to limited supply.

Updated at 8:38 p.m. ET

President Biden said on Wednesday that states like Texas and Mississippi are making a big mistake by ending mandates to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at a time when the nation is making a push to boost vaccinations.

"The last thing — the last thing — we need is the Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything's fine, take off your mask. Forget it. It still matters," Biden told reporters as he met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Oval Office.

The country's rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is picking up speed, with a third new vaccine ramping up production and an accelerated timeline promising enough supply for every American adult by the end of May.

Dutch police in a town north of Amsterdam are investigating an explosion outside of a coronavirus test center early Wednesday.

Police say the explosion went off at about 6:55 a.m. outside of the center in Bovenkarspel, a town about 40 miles northeast of Amsterdam. There were no injuries from the blast. Investigators told local media that the explosion appeared intentional, as remnants of an exploded metal cylinder were found outside of the building.

Country music legend Dolly Parton got a taste of her own medicine on Tuesday when she received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine whose research she helped fund.

Parton, 75, documented the moment in a video posted to social media in which she encouraged eligible viewers to get the shot and broke into a modified rendition of "Jolene" to that effect.

While COVID-19 restrictions of public gatherings are slowly easing, the pre-pandemic normal is still some time away.

For the first time since a late fall spike of COVID-19 infections, San Francisco will allow indoor dining and, gyms, movie theaters and museums to open to the public Wednesday morning.

Mayor London Breed and Grant Colfax, San Francisco Director of Health, announced the easing of coronavirus restrictions Tuesday. The changes will allow many businesses that were forced to shut last fall to reopen at some capacity, a news release said.

President Biden said on Tuesday that the U.S. will produce enough vaccines for every adult in the U.S. by the end of May, while making a fresh push to vaccinate school staff over the next month.

"We're now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May," Biden said, crediting his administration's efforts to boost production and moving up the timeline from the end of July, which is what the president was saying just a few weeks ago.

Updated at 4:28 p.m. ET

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that he is lifting the state's mask mandate and increasing capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100%. Abbott, a Republican, said the mandates are no longer needed due to advancements of vaccines and therapeutics to protect against COVID-19.

Pharmaceutical giant Merck will help manufacture Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced, calling it "an unprecedented historic step," considering that the two companies are normally competitors.

Merck will produce the drug substance at the heart of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine as well as work on filling vaccine vials and getting them ready for distribution.

JERUSALEM - Israel's Supreme Court on Monday ordered an end to a controversial surveillance program to track COVID-19 infections through cellular phone location data, citing concerns about the country spying on its own citizens.

JERUSALEM - Israeli health officials have urged their country's leaders to help vaccinate the entire Palestinian population against COVID-19, citing a public health imperative, an outgoing senior health official told NPR Monday.

Johnson & Johnson has begun shipping nearly 4 million doses of its newly authorized COVID-19 vaccine across the U.S., officials said Monday, and is expected to further scale up supply in the coming weeks and months.

"We think literally within about the next 24 to 48 hours, Americans should start receiving shots in arms," Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson's CEO and chairman of the board, told NBC's Today.

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Courtesy of Camp Ondessonk

Thousands of children across Illinois missed out on outdoor opportunities through summer camp last year, when COVID-19 caused the cancellation of hundreds of camps and activities in 2020.

This year, camp directors say they're determined to get kids back outside.

Several cities across the country that count obesity as an underlying condition have opened COVID-19 vaccine appointments to people with a body mass index of 30 or higher — the medical benchmark for obesity.

While BMI isn't a foolproof standard by which to assess potential health risk factors, obesity medicine physician Dr. Fatima Stanford told NPR, "overall, it's a good measure" in this case.

A third COVID-19 vaccine is on the way, and this one requires only one shot for immunization.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized Johnson & Johnson's vaccine for emergency use Saturday, a day after a panel of advisers to the agency voted unanimously (22-0) in its favor.

In a unanimous 22-0, a panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration recommended that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson be authorized for emergency use in adults during the pandemic.

The vote in favor of the vaccine, which requires only one shot for protection, was taken to answer this question: Do the benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine outweigh its risks for use in people 18 years of age and older.

UPDATED: Officials Announce Federal Vaccination Site at Chicago’s United Center

Feb 26, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

State and federal officials on Friday announced a new federal mass COVID-19 vaccination site will be opening March 10 at the United Center in Chicago.

The new site will prioritize access for seniors and be open to any Phase 1B-plus eligible residents throughout the state, which now includes those 16 years of age or older with underlying conditions.

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Friday of an uptick in the country's confirmed COVID-19 cases, saying recent progress may be "stalling" as highly infectious new variants become more predominant.

The owner of British Airways is calling for digital health passes for passengers as a step toward getting airlines back in the sky after devastating losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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