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Coronavirus in Illinois updates: 50,231 vaccine doses administered, 408 new COVID-19 cases and 23 additional deaths reported Wednesday

Chicago Tribune logo Chicago Tribune 6/9/2021 Chicago Tribune staff, Chicago Tribune
© Vashon Jordan Jr/Chicago Tribune

For months, President Joe Biden has laid out goal after goal for taming the coronavirus pandemic and then exceeded his own benchmarks. Now, though, the U.S. is unlikely to meet his target to have 70% of Americans at least partially vaccinated by July 4.

The White House has launched a month-long blitz to combat vaccine hesitancy and a lack of urgency to get shots, particularly in the South and Midwest, but it is increasingly resigned to missing the president’s vaccination target. The administration insists that even if the goal isn’t reached, it will have little effect on the overall U.S. recovery, which is already ahead of where Biden said it would be months ago.

Meanwhile, Illinois public health officials on Wednesday reported 408 new and probable cases of COVID-19 and 23 additional deaths. The seven-day statewide positivity rate now stands at 1.0%.

There were 50,231 doses of the vaccine administered Tuesday and the seven-day rolling average of daily doses is 45,852. Officials said 68% of Illinois adults have received at least one vaccine dose and 51% of adults are fully vaccinated.

Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area:

12:05 p.m.: 50,231 vaccine doses administered, 408 new cases and 23 deaths reported

Illinois public health officials on Wednesday reported 408 new and probable cases of COVID-19 and 23 additional deaths. That brings the state’s totals to 1,386,262 cases and 22,997 deaths.

There were 41,758 tests reported in the previous 24 hours and the seven-day statewide positivity rate is 1.0%.

There were 50,231 doses of the vaccine administered Tuesday and the seven-day rolling average of daily doses is 45,852. Officials said 68% of Illinois adults have received at least one vaccine dose and 51% of adults are fully vaccinated.

—Chicago Tribune staff

10:55 a.m.: Animal-to-human jump or lab leak? Here’s what we know about the US investigation into COVID-19′s origin.

Once dismissed by most public health experts and government officials, the hypothesis that COVID-19 leaked accidentally from a Chinese lab is now receiving scrutiny under a new U.S. investigation.

Experts say the 90-day review ordered on May 26 by President Joe Biden will push American intelligence agencies to collect more information and review what they already have. Former State Department officials under President Donald Trump have publicly pushed for further investigation into virus origins, as have scientists and the World Health Organization.

Many scientists, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, say they still believe the virus most likely occurred in nature and jumped from animals to humans. Virus researchers have not publicly identified any key new scientific evidence that might make the lab-leak hypothesis more likely.

Virologists also say it is unlikely that any definitive answer about virus origins will be possible in 90 days. The work to fully confirm origins and pathways of past viruses — such as the first SARS or HIV/AIDS — has taken years or decades.

Here’s a look at what is known about the U.S. investigation of the virus. —Associated Press

10:40 a.m.: City offers Chicago Fire tickets in vaccination effort aimed at Poles, Bulgarians

Free tickets to a Chicago Fire game will be offered Saturday at a Northwest Side event aimed at getting members of Chicago’s Polish and Bulgarian communities vaccinated against COVID-19, the city’s public health department said.

Chicago Fire midfielder Stanislav Ivanov, a Bulgarian, will be at the event, which runs from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave. Polish and Bulgarian translators will in attendance.

Both the two shot Pfizer vaccine and the single shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health. Vaccinations are open to anyone 12 and over, although those under 18 will need to be with a parent or guardian.

—Chicago Tribune staff

10:30 a.m.: The pandemic has pushed more gatherings outdoors, boosting demand for backyard shade structures

Any socially distanced conversation that happens in dermatologist Amy Forman Taub’s north suburban backyard occurs under her extra-wide patio umbrella.

“It’s a godsend,” she says, explaining that she pivots the big parasol to fend off the sun no matter where it is in the sky.

The pursuit of shade is a preoccupation playing out in backyards across the country as two public health imperatives collide: the need to hold gatherings in a socially distant manner and, when possible outdoors, and the long-standing guidance to minimize exposure to direct sunlight to avoid skin and eye damage.

As COVID-19-minimizing protocols force people outside, many Americans will be freshly cognizant of shade, Taub said. “Shade is a good thing,” she said. “Without shade in your backyard, it’s difficult to avoid damage.”

Read more here. —Joanne Cleaver

7:55 a.m.: Cubs will have to live with COVID-19 protocols — but David Ross says not to judge his players who haven’t received the vaccine

With the Chicago Cubs failing to reach the 85% threshold of fully vaccinated Tier 1 personnel to relax MLB’s COVID-19 protocols, fans have played a guessing game as to which players have not received the vaccine.

It’s all speculation, but it’s easy to look for clues on social media and in players’ comments.

Cubs manager David Ross told a group of Chicago reporters Tuesday at Petco Park that it isn’t fair to judge individuals for their personal beliefs.

“The hard part in society in general is just negative judgment on people on any level and not knowing the person and where their stance comes from,” Ross said. “It’s something that’s hard for me to get on board with from a thousand-foot view.

Ross said it isn’t for him to tell his players what they should do, even if he is fully vaccinated.

“I don’t want to equate it to religion, but everybody has their own things they believe, and I have to respect that,” he said. “We have to trust that. It’s not the easiest conversations to have with different guys. Some guys have some really strong views on stuff and reasons why, and I think we have to respect that.

Read more here. —Paul Sullivan

7:50 a.m.: Man shoots CTA bus after driver tells him to wear mask, police say

A 38-year-old man was arrested after he hit a CTA bus with gunfire in the West Pullman neighborhood late Tuesday after a bus driver told him he couldn’t get on if he wasn’t wearing a mask, police said.

The man was arrested after discharging a firearm numerous times around 10:45 p.m. Tuesday in the 300 Block of West 119th Street, police said.

Two rounds hit the doors of a CTA bus that had been headed east on 119 Street.

Read more here. —Navya Gupta

6 a.m.: With vaccination rates lagging behind other areas, Cook County offers food vouchers, Six Flags tickets to those getting shots in Harvey

The Cook County Department of Public Health is offering food pantry vouchers and tickets to Six Flags Great America as incentives to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates in the south suburbs.

The vouchers and amusement park tickets are being distributed at the county’s Harvey vaccination site in the gym at Thornton Township High School, 15001 Broadway.

On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays through the end of next week, those getting the vaccine will receive a voucher for a food basket at the Thornton Township Food Pantry, 15340 Page Ave., Harvey.

On Wednesdays of this week and next, those getting their shot will receive a Six Flags ticket.

Supplies of food pantry vouchers and Six Flags tickets are not limited, according to the county.

Read more here. —Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown


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