A new vaccine lottery in Illinois will offer a total of $10 million in total prize money to residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears have announced that they will allow 100% capacity for home games at Soldier Field this fall.
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
Illinois Offering $10M in Lottery for Residents Who Get COVID Vaccine
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A new vaccine lottery in Illinois will offer a total of $10 million in total prize money to residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday.
The "All In for the Win" lottery will give out the $10 million in the form of $7 million in cash prizes for adults and $3 million in scholarships for youth, all distributed through weekly drawings, Pritzker said.
The Illinois Lottery will draw names each week beginning July 8, Pritzker said. The cash prizes will range from $100,000 to $1 million, he said, while children can win a Bright Start college savings plan worth $150,000 apiece.
Anyone who gets at least one vaccine dose in Illinois is eligible to win, Pritzker said, noting there are "no sign-up, no forms, no waiting in line" and that anyone who gets their first dose before July 1 will be eligible for the first drawing on July 8 and every drawing thereafter.
"You did your part already, and this is a way of saying thank you," Pritzker said. "It's also our way of saying to those who haven't yet been vaccinated: please join us. Vaccines are incredibly effective. And they keep you protected, but they also make your community safer."
Lightfoot, Chicago Health Officials Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the city’s Chicago Department of Public Health on Thursday declared racism a public health crisis, citing the 9.2-year life expectancy gap between Black and non-Black Chicagoans that has increased in the past 10 years.
"At almost every single point in our city's history, racism has taken a devastating toll on the health and wellbeing of our residents of color—especially those who are Black," Lightfoot said in a statement.
Chicago Bears to Allow 100% Capacity for Fans at 2021 Home Games
Just days after the state of Illinois moved into the final phase of its coronavirus reopening plan, the Chicago Bears announced Wednesday that they will allow 100% capacity for home games at Soldier Field this fall.
The Bears confirmed the news in a letter to season ticket holders, saying that they appreciate the patience of fans over the last 15 months.
“We are thankful and humbled by the unwavering passion you have shared with us,” Team President Ted Phillips said. “Once again, it’s time to enjoy Bears football in-person!”
The Bears did not have fans in the stands for any of their games during the 2020 season.
Chicago Outdoor Pools to Reopen at Full Capacity Next Week
Chicago will reopen outdoor public swimming pools next week at full capacity as another step forward in Phase 5 of the city's reopening plan from the coronavirus pandemic.
Following the closure of city-operated pools last year due to COVID-19, outdoor pools are set to reopen June 25 and remain open through Sept. 6, according to the Chicago Park District website.
Across the city, Chicago operates 49 outdoor pools, as well as 28 indoor pools, some of which have already been open under enhanced guidelines due to the pandemic.
Metro Announces Return of Live Music With Summer Lollapalooza Aftershows
Metro will see a return of live performances this summer after more than a year of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including newly announced Lollapalooza aftershows.
The Wrigleyville music venue, located at 3730 N. Clark St., is set to reopen July 27 with shows announced into the new year.
The opening concerts during the last week of July feature artists in Chicago's summer Lollapalooza music festival, bringing performances from Limp Bizkit, Jimmy Eat World and Freddie Gibbs to the city's North Side.
Here's Metro's Lollapalooza aftershow lineup:
- Omar Apollo, Serena Isioma and Oston: July 27
- LP and Lauren Sanderson: July 28
- Limp Bizkit: July 29
- Jimmy Eat World: July 30
- Band of Horses and Michigander: July 31
- Freddie Gibbs: Aug. 1
No States on Chicago's Travel Order for Second Consecutive Update
For the second consecutive time since Chicago's emergency travel order took effect in July, there are no states on the list requiring a quarantine or negative test for people coming to the city who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.
All U.S. states and territories remain in the "yellow" tier of the travel order as of Tuesday, with fewer than 15 new cases per 100,000 residents per day, the Chicago Department of Public Health said.
Any states above that case rate would fall into the "orange" tier which requires a 10-day quarantine or negative test no earlier than 72 hours before arrival in Chicago for those who are not fully vaccinated.
As of Tuesday, no states in the Midwest were above 4.8 cases per day per 100,000 residents, CDPH said, releasing the following data showing how each state's case rate has fallen in the past two weeks:
|State||Cases per 100,000 on 6/1/2021||Cases per 100,000 on 6/15/2021|
Chicago officials also noted that the city's daily case rate dropped "considerably," from 14.9 to 2.8, between May 7 through Tuesday.
More Evidence Suggests COVID-19 Was in Illinois by Christmas 2019
A new analysis of blood samples from 24,000 Americans taken early last year is the latest and largest study to suggest that the new coronavirus popped up in the U.S. in December 2019 — weeks before cases were first recognized by health officials.
The analysis is not definitive, and some experts remain skeptical, but federal health officials are increasingly accepting a timeline in which small numbers of COVID-19 infections may have occurred in the U.S. before the world ever became aware of a dangerous new virus erupting in China.
The study, published Tuesday online by the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, is by a team including researchers at the National Institutes of Health. They analyzed blood samples from more than 24,000 people across the country, collected in the first three months of 2020 as part of a long-term study called “All Of Us” that seeks to track 1 million Americans over years to study health.
The researchers looked for antibodies in the blood that are taken as evidence of coronavirus infection, and can be detected as early as two weeks after a person is first infected.
The researchers say seven of the nine study participants — three from Illinois, and one each from Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — were infected earlier than any COVID-19 case was originally reported in those states.
One of the Illinois cases was infected as early as Christmas Eve, said Keri Althoff, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the study's lead author.
Jason Heyward, Anthony Rizzo Discuss Decision Not to Get COVID Vaccine
Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and outfielder Jason Heyward both made headlines over the weekend, as both players discussed their respective decisions not to receive coronavirus vaccination shots.
Rizzo told media on Friday that he had not been vaccinated against the virus, while Heyward discussed his decision not to receive the vaccine on Sunday.
The discussion comes as the Cubs continue to fall short of an MLB-mandated level of vaccination that would allow the club to dispense with many of the coronavirus restrictions still being implemented. At least 85% of the team’s “Tier 1” employees would need to receive the vaccine in order for those restrictions to be lifted, but President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer has said that the club hasn’t reached that level, and that he doesn’t anticipate that the club will.
Rizzo revealed Friday that he had not received the vaccine, saying that it hasn’t been an “easy decision” not to receive the treatment.
“It’s not an easy decision to make, but I think it’s the right decision for me and my family right now,” he said during an interview on ESPN 1000’s “Kap & J. Hood” show.
Rizzo said that he is “taking some more time to see the data” on vaccines.
Health Officials in Illinois Say More Than 9,200 COVID Cases Linked to Variant Strains
The Illinois Department of Public Health has now linked more than 9,200 cases of coronavirus to five different variants of the virus, including nearly 6,200 cases of a strain that originated in the United Kingdom.
According to the latest data from IDPH, a total of 9,211 cases of the virus are now linked to variant strains of the illness.
By far the most prevalent of those strains is the Alpha strain. Formerly known as B.1.1.7, the strain has infected at least 6,187 residents in Illinois, according to officials.
Illinois is also seeing an uptick in cases connected to the Gamma strain of the virus. That strain, formerly known as P.1, has caused 2,405 cases of coronavirus in Illinois, and was originally discovered in Japan and Brazil, according to the CDC.
Phase 5: Everything to Know as Illinois and Chicago Reopen
Illinois fully reopened Friday, entering Phase 5 of the state's reopening plan.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who announced last month that the state was on pace to move into the final phase of its reopening plan, made the official announcement Thursday, citing continuing declines in COVID metrics and increases in vaccinations.
Still, while the phase does mark a full reopening, not all restrictions have been lifted.
Arwady ‘Very Confident' Illinois Can Avoid COVID Surge After Moving to Phase 5
While some residents have expressed concerns that rollbacks of coronavirus restrictions could lead to surges in virus cases, Dr. Allison Arwady says that she is “very confident” that case numbers are low enough in the state to prevent a large surge from happening in the early stages of summer.
Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, spoke out about the possibility of a surge Thursday, ahead of the state’s move into Phase 5 of its reopening plan.
“All the modeling looks very good when we look in the short term over the next few weeks,” she said. “So I’m not concerned in the short term about a major spike in COVID.”
Arwady pointed to increases in the number of vaccinated individuals as a key component in the decision to move forward. According to Illinois Department of Public Health data, more than 51% of the state’s adult residents are now fully vaccinated against COVID, with more than 68% having received at least one COVID vaccine dose.
‘These Are False’: Chicago’s Top Doc Debunks Viral Vaccine Magnet Social Media Videos
No, COVID vaccines will not make you magnetic, according to Chicago's top doctor.
Responding to social media videos showing people with keys, quarters or magnets sticking to their vaccinated arms, particularly on TikTok, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said "there is nothing magnetic in the vaccine."
"We've talked about what is in these vaccines, there's really very little," she said during a Facebook Live Thursday. "There's the instructions to teach your immune system how to fight off COVID and then there's a little bit of a fat layer to help make sure that that's protected. There's a little bit of salt and sugar to make sure it's at the right pH and it works with your body, and that is it. So, these are false."
Arwady said the social media challenge started circulating as part of "recent myths" on the Internet related to "misinformation that there is a chip or something that is tracking in some way" inside the vaccines.