The first drawing in Illinois' vaccine lottery takes place Thursday, giving vaccinated residents the chance to win $1 million.
Meanwhile, how should you decide if you should go to a certain location as travel picks up while the U.S. continues to navigate the coronavirus pandemic?
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
Illinois Vaccine Lottery: First Drawing For $1M Takes Place Thursday
The first drawing in Illinois' vaccine lottery takes place Thursday, giving vaccinated residents the chance to win $1 million and three vaccinated young people the opportunity to win $150,000 scholarships.
This week's drawing is just one of several drawings as part of the state's incentive program to encourage residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
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, Gov. JB Pritzker said.
Anyone who gets at least one vaccine dose in Illinois is eligible to win, Pritzker said, and anyone who got their first dose before July 1 is eligible for the first drawing on July 8 and every drawing thereafter.
How Chicago's Top Doctor Assesses the COVID Risk of Traveling to Different States
How should you decide if you should go to a certain location as travel picks up while the U.S. continues to navigate the coronavirus pandemic?
Chicago's top doctor shared her process for making recommendations Tuesday, saying what she includes in her consideration is the spread of COVID-19 in the particular area one might be thinking about visiting.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady gave details on her process in response to a question during a Facebook Live broadcast on Tuesday. A viewer said he had a funeral to attend in Milwaukee and needed to bring his 80-year-old aunt. Both of them are fully vaccinated, he said, but noted that he wasn't sure about all the other attendees and wondered if he should be concerned for his aunt.
"This is exactly a question that I think a lot of us are thinking about," Arwady said in response. "And the good news is that if you are fully vaccinated and your aunt is fully vaccinated, you know, broadly your protection is very good. And you're right, you know, if you're not sure about all the others… you are going into a situation that could have some risk. I don't know your aunt, I don't know what underlying condition she has, but she's 80 so that is kind of a higher-risk situation."
Arwady said that her recommendation would "broadly" be to go to the funeral, based on the information given, particularly if it's someone the aunt was close with.
"When I am helping people make these decisions individually, I sometimes actually take a look at the area where someone's going to be traveling to have a sense of that," she said, noting cases across the U.S. are up about 5% before diving into specific areas.
Arwady recommended researching each state or region's rolling average number of new cases per day, adjusted for population, as well as trendlines in how much new cases have gone up or down in a particular area in recent days before deciding to travel there.
Are COVID Vaccines FDA Approved? Here's the Latest
It's a question many are asking as coronavirus vaccinations continue across the U.S.: are the COVID vaccines FDA approved?
Currently, no coronavirus vaccine is fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but three were given emergency use authorization by the agency: one each from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
Pfizer is currently the only vaccine authorized for emergency use in adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17, though Moderna filed for such approval on last month.
Emergency use authorization allows a vaccine to become available prior to full approval in the case of public health emergencies. The FDA can revoke the EUA at any time.
"The vaccines met FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states on its website.
But Chicago's top doctor expects full FDA approval could be granted as early as the fall.
"I expect that these vaccines will get what's called the full FDA approval soon," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a Facebook Live Tuesday. "I would guess this will probably be in the maybe September range."
Thousands Expected at Windy City Smokeout as Chicago Welcomes Back Music Fests
Just weeks ago, the parking lots at the United Center were home to a mass COVID vaccination site, but beginning Thursday, it will be home to Chicago’s first major music festival in two years, as the Windy City Smokeout will kick off for a weekend full of festivities.
The event has been a long time coming for organizers and festival-goers, who are celebrating a rite of summer returning after a year off due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is beyond exciting and thrilling to be the first event for the city of Chicago,” RJ Melman, president of Lettuce Entertain You, said.
The group is spearheading the Smokeout, a showcase for more than a dozen country artists and barbecue options from several states. A long list of craft beer vendors caps off the offerings, giving residents a reason to celebrate in style.
That celebration will come with a unique set of rules, as the city of Chicago plans to implement a more rigorous list of requirements for festivals. To attend, festival-goers must download the Clear app and fill out a daily health screenings. Residents will also need to prove their vaccination status, and those who aren’t vaccinated will need to upload a negative COVID test within 72 hours of attending the festival.
COVID Metrics: Positivity Rates Surge in Illinois Healthcare Regions Along Missouri Border
While most of Illinois is continuing to see historically-low coronavirus positivity rates, areas in the southwestern portion of the state that share a border with hard-hit Missouri are seeing rapid increases in positivity rates and hospitalizations.
Region 4, which borders St. Louis, has seen a massive jump in positivity rates in recent weeks. According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the region had a 1.5% positivity rate on all tests on June 6. Less than a month later, that positivity rate has now more than tripled, currently standing at 5.1%.
Hospitalizations have also risen dramatically in the region, increasing for 13 consecutive days according to IDPH data.
In Region 3, which includes Springfield and several counties that border Missouri, positivity rates have nearly quadrupled in a matter of weeks. On June 16, the positivity rate was at 1%, and as of July 3, it is now at 3.7%.
In Region 5, comprised of counties in the far southern tip of Illinois, positivity rates have nearly quadrupled from 1% on June 1 to 3.7% as of July 3. Hospitalizations have also increased each of the last five days.
Illinois Reports Zero New COVID Deaths Monday for First Time in Nearly 500 Days
The state of Illinois hit a significant milestone on Monday, with officials announcing that zero new COVID deaths had been reported for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began last spring.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there were no new COVID-related fatalities on Monday, marking the first day with zero recorded deaths since March 16, 2020.
That number continues a downward trend in deaths that has been observed by officials since mid-May, when there was a brief upswing in fatalities statewide.
During the month of June, the number of new daily COVID fatalities had regularly remained in the single digits, but the number hadn’t hit zero until Monday.
There were 16 new deaths reported on Tuesday, the highest number recorded in a day since June 24, according to IDPH data.
What Are Your Chances of Catching the Delta Variant If You're Fully Vaccinated? Chicago's Top Doc Weighs In
If you're fully vaccinated against COVID-19, how likely is it that you could contract the rising delta variant that experts warn is more transmissible? Chicago's top doctor weighed in Tuesday.
"So this is where, again, luckily, the vaccines have continued to perform well and we shared some data, Pfizer Moderna and J&J have now put some data out showing that their vaccines do remain protective against the delta variant, though you lose a little bit," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said.
Coronavirus in Illinois: 2,120 New COVID Cases, 54 Deaths, 288K Vaccinations Over Past Week
Health officials in Illinois reported 2,120 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus since last Friday, along with 54 additional deaths and more than 288,000 new vaccine doses administered.
In all, 1,392,552 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state since the pandemic began. The additional deaths reported this week bring the state to 23,245 confirmed COVID fatalities.
The state has administered 234,527 tests since last Friday, bringing the total to more than 25.8 million tests conducted during the pandemic.
Delta Variant: What to Know About the New Version of Coronavirus Sparking Concern
Concerns surrounding the delta coronavirus variant are rising in both Chicago and Illinois, but what is it about the new variant that has some worried?
Here's an exhaustive list of what we know so far about the variant itself and what is being seen in Chicago and Illinois.
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