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Lightfoot COVID-19

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot arrives at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Thursday, April 16, 2020.

Nam Y. Huh

Newsletter: Lightfoot Warns Restrictions Can Soon Return

Hey there! It’s Wednesday, and it’s Hunter. I’m back after working over the weekend with WBEZ news intern Vivian McCall, who is a fantastic journalist. And another shout out to Ariel Van Cleave, an amazing editor who is leaving WBEZ for bigger and better things. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Chicago is close to reviving COVID-19 restrictions

Mayor Lori Lightfoot today warned that Chicago could see some restrictions return as COVID-19 cases rise, particularly among people between the ages of 18 and 29.

The city’s top public health official, Dr. Allison Arwady, said she is closely following the average number of new cases each day. Arwady said if Chicago sees a daily average of 200 cases, the city would consider bringing back restrictions. The city is currently seeing an average of 192 cases. [WBEZ]

Also today, Gov. JB Pritzker announced a revised plan for bringing back restrictions in Illinois.

The new plan will consider Chicago as its own region. The state is now divided into 11 regions that officials will monitor to determine if an area needs to move back from reopening. [WBEZ]

The news comes as the state reported 1,187 new confirmed cases and eight additional deaths. The rolling, seven-day average in daily cases was 992 as of yesterday, according to The New York Times. On July 7, the daily average was 778. The state’s positivity rate, which is slightly increasing, is 3.1%. [WBEZ]

Meanwhile, at least 36 students at suburban Lake Zurich High School tested positive for the coronavirus. Local health officials say the infections can be traced to three summer camps and “recent social gatherings.” [Chicago Tribune]

2. Chicago Public Schools will soon tell parents what the plan will be for the fall

Mayor Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools will inform parents and teachers later this week about how schools will reopen in the fall, reports WBEZ’s Sarah Karp. But there’s a caveat: plans could change depending on the city’s COVID-19 metrics just before school begins in September.

The news comes as parents and teachers have become increasingly frustrated that the nation’s third largest school district has held off announcing firm plans.

This week, public schools in Los Angeles and San Diego announced they will be remote-only when students return in the fall. And New York City’s school district, the largest in the nation, announced a plan that will see students spend some days per week in schools while working remotely for the rest of the time. [WBEZ]

Lightfoot’s comments come as a new report urges school districts to prioritize full-time, in-person classes for grades K-5 and for students with special needs. The report is from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. [NPR]

3. Economic concerns grow as states see resurgence of COVID-19 and shutdowns

Many states, like California, are once again shutting down parts of their economies due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, and economists are increasingly worried that the damage could be long lasting.

“Most economists abandoned hope for a ‘V-shaped’ recovery long ago,” reports The New York Times. “Now they are warning of an outright reversal, with mounting job losses and business failures. And this time, much of the damage is likely to be permanent.” [New York Times]

This week, Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, once again warned that the fall could be dangerous because the pandemic will coincide with the flu season in the U.S.

“I am worried,” he said. “I do think the fall and the winter of 2020 and 2021 are probably going to be one of the most difficult times that we have experienced in American public health.” [Poynter]

Here’s a map showing where cases are rising in the U.S. [NPR]

4. Trump once again tries to block prosecutors from seeing his tax returns

The new challenge comes just days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that President Donald Trump could not withhold financial records from Manhattan prosecutors.

Today, lawyers for the president objected to handing over the records, saying the Supreme Court’s decision did not prohibit them from raising other arguments.

Trump’s attorneys now say that a subpoena from prosecutors is too broad and politically motivated. They previously argued the president could not be criminally investigated, but the Supreme Court disagreed.

Manhattan prosecutors are seeking Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as they investigate whether the Trump Organization concealed hush money to two women, including porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump years ago. Trump denies those allegations. [New York Times]

5. Four states are sharing driver’s license info with the Trump administration to see who is a U.S. citizen

Iowa, Nebraska, South Carolina and South Dakota have agreed to provide information on driver’s licenses and state IDs to the U.S. Census Bureau, which is trying to determine the citizenship status of every adult living in the country, reports NPR.

The news comes a year after the bureau abandoned an effort to include a controversial citizenship question on the 2020 census. Critics say the administration is trying to prevent Latinos, noncitizens and other immigrants from receiving their fair share in political representation, reports NPR.

Some states have refused requests for information from the bureau. According to NPR, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania had received requests for driver’s license information and turned them down. [NPR]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Jeff Sessions lost his primary bid for his old job. Here are other takeaways from last night’s primaries in Alabama, Maine and Texas. [Politico]
  • Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized. [NPR]
  • China today threatened to retaliate after President Trump approved sanctions on Beijing over a new national security law in Hong Kong. [NPR]
  • Today is tax day. [AP]

Oh, and one more thing …

Bad boi nerds like me aren’t the only ones playing Nintendo’s popular video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons. (I’m 37 years old by the way.)

The Washington Post has this hilariously insightful story about how researchers in academia have increasingly been plugging into the game and coming up with some fascinating observations ranging from issues of communism and capitalism to millennial fantasies of owning property.

If you play the game, this story is totally worth reading. And yes, it addresses whether landlord Tom Nook is evil. [Washington Post]

Tell me something good ...

I’ve been watching A LOT of trashy television shows lately (Bravo’s Below Deck) and I’d like to know: What show or shows have you been watching since the pandemic started?

@stefaniekohl150 tweets:

“I am re-introducing my husband to all of the quirky fun of Futurama from start to finish. We finally made it to Robo-Santa and I can’t wait till we get to the death by snu snu episode.”

And @xnijxnij tweets:

“I’ve been watching @DetectiveABC [The Genetic Detective]. Thought-provoking & compelling, devastating & uplifting at the same time. For DNA nerds with a heart.”

What have you been watching? Feel free to email at or tweet to @whuntah.

Have a nice night! If you like what you just read, you can subscribe to the newslette here and have it delivered to your inbox.

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