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covid patient

In this Nov. 24, 2020, file photo, registered nurse Chrissie Burkhiser, left, hands medication to a COVID-19 patient inside the emergency room at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis, Mo.

Jeff Roberson

WBEZ’s Rundown Of Today’s Top News: Is The Thanksgiving COVID-19 Surge Coming?

Hey there! It’s Friday, and I rewatched “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” last night and Keanu Reeves is a gorgeous man. That’s it. That’s the intro. Here’s what you need to know today.


1. Will we see a coronavirus surge next week?

Generally speaking, it can take about two weeks for someone with the coronavirus to develop symptoms and potentially need to go to a hospital.

With that in mind, we could begin to see the fallout from the Thanksgiving holiday next week.

“I would expect to see increases in cases one to two weeks after Thanksgiving. I would expect to see a two- to three-week lag for hospitalizations, and then another two to three weeks for mortality to increase,” Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security, told The Atlantic.

As the magazine reports, Canada suffered a 33% increase in cases three weeks after the country celebrated its Thanksgiving in mid-October. [Atlantic]

In Illinois, deaths from COVID-19 are rising, with state officials today reporting 148 fatalities. That means the state is seeing a rolling, seven-day average of 135 deaths per day, an 18% increase from the average two weeks ago, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. [WBEZ]

Illinois has also reported more COVID-19 deaths than any other state in the last seven days, with 1,029 fatalities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [CDC]

2. The U.S. added just 245,000 jobs last month

More warning signs are flashing that the nation’s economic recovery is faltering. The Labor Department today reported that employers only added 245,000 jobs last month, down from October’s 610,000. That means about 10 million more people remain out of work now than before the pandemic gripped the U.S. in February.

The unemployment rate in November dropped to 6.7% from October’s 6.9%, but that decline is misleading. The Labor Department said people who gave up trying to find work were not counted as unemployed. [AP]

Today’s jobless numbers come as momentum builds in Congress for a new relief package that has eluded lawmakers for months. Democrats say a $908 billion plan from a bipartisan group of lawmakers should serve as a starting point for negotiations. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, wants to pass a more narrow $500 billion plan. [CNBC]

3. When will we get vaccines?

Chicago officials say they expect to get 20,000 to 25,000 doses the first week when federal regulators approve the vaccine, which could happen around Dec. 10. And Gov. JB Pritzker estimates Illinois will receive 109,000 doses between Dec. 13 and 19.

That initial round of doses will be prioritized for health care workers and people living in long-term care facilities, officials say. Block Club Chicago has this easy-to-read guide on what we know so far about local plans to distribute vaccines, when you can expect to receive a dose and how the vaccines work. [Block Club Chicago]

Meanwhile, health care professionals in Chicago are crafting plans to encourage Black residents to get vaccinated. As WBEZ’s Kristen Schorsch reports, studies show Black adults are more hesitant about getting a vaccine. That worries public health experts, because areas of the city with a Black majority have been hit harder by the pandemic.

Among the plans being discussed is offering vaccines as people get drive-thru COVID-19 tests. Clinics are also looking for big parking lots to host weekend vaccination events. [WBEZ]

4. A majority of Illinois schools haven’t been hotbeds for infections

That’s according to an analysis from the Chicago Sun-Times, which looked at contact-tracing data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The newspaper found that a vast majority of the state’s schools have not seen significant outbreaks in the past month.

“In all, there were 16 schools statewide in the past month — including six in the suburbs and two in Chicago — that were identified as having experienced an outbreak of COVID-19,” the Sun-Times reports, adding that the state defines outbreaks as five people from different households being infected. “Of those 16 schools, which serve a combined less than 9,000 students, two saw a cluster of between 11 and 16 connected cases and the rest had less than 10.” [Sun-Times]

5. Are movie theaters done?

The movie industry woke up to a whole new world today as analysts, Hollywood executives and movie theater owners assess the impact of Warner Bros. decision to stream its entire 2021 lineup simultaneously on HBO Max and in movie theaters.

“I guess the movie theaters will just be Halloween stores now,” an unnamed studio executive told The Hollywood Reporter.

Warner Bros. says the plan is only for one year, but some industry experts question whether the studio can put the genie back in the bottle. They say the immediate gratification of streaming new movies may sway audiences to skip theaters.

But going direct to streaming will mean that big-budget movies will lose money regardless of their reception. [Hollywood Reporter]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to decriminalize and tax marijuana at the federal level, but the measure is unlikely to advance in the Senate. [NPR]
  • China became the second nation to plant a flag on the moon. [BBC]
  • What happens to Zoom when the pandemic is over? [Vox]
  • The schedule for the Chicago Transit Authority’s Holiday Train is a secret. [WTTW News]

Oh, and one more thing …

I’ll be honest: I didn’t know a whole lot about Lucy Parsons, the “goddess of anarchy,” until this week’s episode of Curious City.

Parsons moved to Chicago in 1873, becoming a popular labor activist and founder of the Industrial Workers of the World. But Parsons was also “a woman of contradictions.” She didn’t publicly identify as Black and tried creating confusion around her racial identity. And while she dedicated herself to helping the working class, she stayed away from civil rights and issues affecting Chicago’s Black communities.

“I did find it ironic that she really delighted in this contrarian attitude in riling up her listeners, in poking the eye of the establishment and disparaging American institutions like Congress, the president, the two party system, and yet, she was in certain respects very conventional, that she focused exclusively on the white working class,” said Jacqueline Jones, professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Goddess of Anarchy: The Life and Times of Lucy Parsons, American Radical. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good ...

What’s something you like doing during the winter?

Courtney writes:

“Sledding with my kids! We go to the hill at Montrose and Lakeshore Drive or Warren Park. Last winter was the first winter we haven’t been able to sled, so we’re hoping for some good snow this winter.”

Kimberly Kowalski writes:

“One of my favorite things is to walk in the forest preserves when it is snowing. Everything is quiet and so beautiful. It feels good for your mind and soul.”

And Rachel Hayes writes:

“One of my favorite winter activities is observing the winter solstice. It’s a time of celebration for the sun’s return in the next year. I’m looking forward to the day, even more this year, as a time to reflect on where I am as well as where I hope to be in the next. Also, the chocolate that’s traditional on the longest day of the year is great, too!”

Thanks for all the messages this week. I’m sorry I couldn’t share them all, but it was nice hearing from you!

Thanks for reading and have a nice night! I’ll see you on Monday.

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