(NOTE: Daily press conferences from Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be streamed live in the player above. Check back for updates.)
Chicago's reopening plan might look different from the rest of the state and city residents will soon find out what exactly that means.
Plus, a mystery illness is affecting children who’ve previously had the coronavirus, and doctors say the illness has been detected in Chicago and are now warning parents on what they should be looking out for.
Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus crisis today (May 7):
'Will Change Everything': Pritzker Says Coronavirus Treatment 'Potentially on the Horizon'
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said an effective coronavirus treatment could be on the horizon and "that will change everything" as Illinois looks at reopening during the coronavirus pandemic.
Under Pritzker's five-phased reopening plan, Illinois would not be able to move into phase five without a vaccine or highly-effective treatment, a provision that has many residents questioning when that will be.
"The hope I think we all have is an effective treatment," Pritzker said. "I know everybody sees a vaccine is happening who knows when, you know, but an effective treatment, I think is potentially on the horizon and that will change everything."
It remains unclear which treatment Pritzker was referring to, but U.S. regulators this month allowed emergency use of the first drug that appears to help some COVID-19 patients recover faster, a milestone in the global search for effective therapies against the coronavirus.
The comments came as Pritzker was asked which phase amusement parks like Six Flags or carnivals could open.
"A phase four, we would only have gatherings of 50 people or less and that was the recommendation, again, of the experts," Pritzker said. "So obviously, that would be difficult for a waterpark or you know, a carnival or a you know, other kind of, large venue."
What about malls?
"Indoor venues with hundreds and hundreds of people who will be walking together, you know, that's an extraordinarily difficult circumstance under the epidemiological recommendations here. So, you know, that's something that will have to happen over the course of months and not in the immediate next phase."
Could Sports Return Without Fans in Illinois? Pritzker Weighs In
Could professional sports teams resume play in Illinois without fans under the state's reopening plan?
Possibly, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Thursday.
"Many of the leagues and teams - and I have spoken with many of them - are considering opening their seasons or continuing their seasons without fans in the stands so that people can enjoy the sports online on TV," Pritzker said.
Pritzker said it's up to a team to submit plans for how they would manage restrictions while playing.
"We have some terrific sports fans all across the state of Illinois that want to see this up and running and so there's a desire to have it work," Pritzker said. "I think they've got to come up with a set of plans... I think they're incentivized, by the way, the leagues are, to do the right thing. Partly they're incentivized because they have players that are worth millions of dollars to them that are going to be on the field. So you know, I think they want to protect their, for lack of better term, assets and their people."
No teams have submitted such plans so far, but Pritzker said he's "looking forward to seeing them."
"I want to get sports up and going. I think people need this as an outlet," Pritzker said. "No, it won't be in person, at least not in the next month or two. But I think it's very important for everybody's psyche."
Illinois Paid Over $2B in Unemployment Claims in First 4 Months of 2020
Historic numbers of unemployment claims filed in Illinois since March has led to a record amount of benefits being paid out over the first four months of the year, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said on Thursday.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security says they’ve processed more than one million initial unemployment claims from March 1 to May 2.
“That’s over 1 million claims in just the first 9 weeks of this crisis,” Pritzker said Thursday during his daily coronavirus press briefing. “Compare that to the first nine weeks of the Great Recession of 2008, when there were 180,000 claims in Illinois.”
As a result of the unprecedented number of unemployment claims in Illinois, Pritzker adds the amount of benefits paid out by the state has reached a historic total.
“In the first 4 months of 2020, Illinois has paid out over $2 billion in claims. That’s $500 million more than what was paid out in all 12 months of 2019,” Pritzker said on Thursday.
Pritzker Announces End to Weekend Coronavirus Briefings; Weekday Updates to Continue
NOTE: Gov. Pritzker's weekday briefings can still be streamed live at 2:30 p.m. here.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday that he and state health officials will no longer be holding in-person coronavirus briefings on the weekends.
Pritzker said the daily weekday updates will continue, but weekends will transition to a release of data.
"To the delight of many reporters who have been working these long days with us, beginning this weekend, we will no longer hold weekend in-person briefings but instead will release daily medical statistics on Saturday and Sunday," Pritzker said. "And then we will be back on Monday and will continue with weekday briefings as usual."
Thursday marked the 60th briefing in a row for the governor and much of his staff.
Illinois' Coronavirus Deaths Rise Above 3,000 as Cases Top 70,000, Health Officials Say
The number of fatalities associated with coronavirus reached a bleak milestone in Illinois Thursday.
The total number of cases reported now sits at 70,873, with 3,111 fatalities as of Thursday. That's an increase of 2,641 cases and 138 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the state health department.
So far, the state has administered nearly 400,000 tests, with more than 17,000 conducted in the last day. The positivity rate for Thursday, sat at around 15 percent, health officials said.
Pritzker Expected to Address Unemployment Concerns in Illinois Thursday
As Illinois prepares to begin slowly reopening, leaving many still out of work for some time, residents continue to report problems with the state's unemployment system.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday he plans to address the issues this week and he is expected to make it the focus of his Thursday press briefing. (Watch it live here or in the player above)
"We're going to have a complete presentation, so people can see what's being done," Pritzker said.
Lightfoot Reschedules Announcement on Chicago's Reopening Plan
The mayor was scheduled to hold a 1 p.m. press conference with the Chicago Department of Public Health Thursday afternoon to "announce the city's COVID-19 reopening framework," but later canceled the event, saying it would be "rescheduled for a different date due to scheduling conflicts." When a new date/time is announced it will be added here and streamed live.
Lightfoot to Unveil Chicago's Reopening Plan
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot plans to propose city-specific guidelines for reopening during the coronavirus pandemic.
Lightfoot said Wednesday her guidelines will "complement" Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's plan for reopening the state, which was unveiled earlier this week.
It remains unclear exactly what those guidelines might be.
Lightfoot said the city needs to see a decline in cases before it can continue moving forward with easing restrictions.
"I worry a lot about, particularly our micro-businesses. If there's not a solution soon, they're never coming back," she said.
But according to Lightfoot, though the city is seeing progress, "we are not where we need to be yet."
"We can't reopen the city yet," she said.
Employee at Waukegan Amazon Warehouse Dies of Coronavirus
An employee at an Amazon warehouse in Chicago's north suburbs died of coronavirus last month, the company has confirmed.
The employee was a 50-year-old man who worked the night shift as a picker, selecting items from the warehouse's shelves and preparing them for shipping, CNBC reported.
He was last at the facility on March 19 with no symptoms, Amazon said. The company was informed on March 24 that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and he died on April 18. He leaves behind a wife, five children and two stepchildren, according to CNBC.
GOP Wants ‘Local’ Say in Pritzker’s Coronavirus Reopening Plan
House Republicans said Wednesday that Illinois' pandemic control plan needs GOP input and again urged Gov. J.B. Pritzker to convene the Legislature.
The Democratic governor on Tuesday presented a five-phase plan to reopen shuttered businesses and ease the social distancing guidelines necessitated by the coronavirus crisis. Republican lawmakers said Pritzker's plan moves too slowly to save many businesses or take the state back to how it was.
Rep. Dan Brady said “Restore Illinois” proves the state's pandemic response “continues to be a decree by one person.”
Under the plan, the state is split into four regions, and some could progress through the phases more quickly than others. But, a region experiencing a resurgence of the coronavirus can be bounced back a phase.
In the face of pressure from central and southern Illinois regions where there are lower coronavirus case numbers than in Chicago, Pritzker has emphasized that he's guided by medical experts and scientific modeling.
7 More COVID-19 Cases in Chicago Police Department
Chicago police announced Wednesday seven more cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of cases in the department to 475.
Of the confirmed cases, 453 are officers and 22 are civilian employees, police said.
A total of 480 employees have reported positive test results but the department’s medical section has yet to confirm five of those cases, police said.
Lake County Judge Tests Positive for COVID-19
A Lake County judge has tested positive for COVID-19.
Officials at the 19th Judicial Circuit Court were notified Tuesday afternoon that a judge had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement from Chief Judge Diane E. Winter’s office.
A court spokeswoman said the judge has not been hospitalized as of Wednesday and is “resting comfortable at home.”
Doctors Warn of Mystery Illness Afflicting Children Who Previously Had Coronavirus
A mystery illness is affecting children who’ve previously had the coronavirus, and doctors say the illness has been detected in Chicago and are now warning parents on what they should be looking out for.
Dr. Frank Belmonte, who works at Advocate Children’s Hospital, says that the facility currently has a child with the illness.
“We actually have a child that is hospitalized right now who is suspected to have it,” he said.
According to Belmonte, children with the illness experience a variety of symptoms, including vomiting, upset stomach, red eyes, diarrhea, swollen lymph nodes and a rash. In more severe cases, children have even gone into cardiac arrest.
Only children who have previously had COVID-19, even if it wasn’t diagnosed, have come down with the symptoms.
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