Newsletter: Illinois Death Toll Surpasses 5,000

State officials announced 160 new deaths today, pushing the total number of fatalities to 5,083. That story and more are in today’s Rundown.

Chicago COVID-19
Boat slips at the Burnham Park Yacht Club sit empty on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, 2020, as the lakefront continues to be closed while some COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed in Chicago. Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo
Chicago COVID-19
Boat slips at the Burnham Park Yacht Club sit empty on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, 2020, as the lakefront continues to be closed while some COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed in Chicago. Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo

Newsletter: Illinois Death Toll Surpasses 5,000

State officials announced 160 new deaths today, pushing the total number of fatalities to 5,083. That story and more are in today’s Rundown.

Good afternoon! It’s Wednesday, and I’m totally wearing one of these SpaceX suits when I can return to the office … on Navy Pier. Here’s what you need to know today. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)

1. More than 5,000 people in Illinois have died from COVID-19

State officials today announced 160 new deaths from COVID-19, pushing the state’s total number of fatalities to 5,083. Officials also announced 1,111 new cases after 17,179 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours. That brings the total number of cases to 114,306 since the pandemic began.

“These are real people whose lives came to an end because of this pandemic,” Gov. JB Pritzker said today. [WBEZ]

Meanwhile, here’s a look at Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s guidelines for businesses that could reopen next month. [Chicago Tribune]

And data released today by Chicago Public Schools shows that remote learning has been inconsistent, with about 41% of students not logging into online classes on a somewhat regular basis. [WBEZ]

2. Only about half of Americans say they’ll get a COVID-19 vaccine

That’s according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, which also found that safety was reported as a frequent issue among people who said they would not get a vaccination.

“The unexpected looms large and that’s why I think for any of these vaccines, we’re going to need a large safety database to provide the reassurance,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. [AP]

Meanwhile, the U.S. death toll eclipsed 100,000 today, a grim milestone that President Donald Trump said the country would not reach. [New York Times]

3. Trump threatens to shut down social media platforms

President Trump’s threat comes a day after Twitter added fact checks to two of his tweets, which made unsubstantiated claims that mail-in ballots are fraudulent.

In a tweet today, Trump claimed that tech companies “silence conservative voices,” and he said he will “strongly regulate” them or “close them down.” The president does not have the power to unilaterally close companies, and Trump did not indicate how he would crack down on them. [NPR]

Meanwhile, it’s not clear if the Republican National Convention will be held in North Carolina, where coronavirus restrictions are still in effect. Republican governors from other states are offering to host the event after Trump threatened to move the convention. [NPR]

4. EU proposes $825 billion rescue package

The executive arm of the European Union proposed a massive recovery fund to help the economies of its 27 member nations, especially those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

If approved, the plan would be a boost for the EU and create stronger ties within the bloc, which have been strained since the 2008 financial collapse. [BBC]

Elsewhere in the world, South Korea suffered a setback in its fight to contain the coronavirus. Officials announced a new spike in infections and raised the possibility of reimposing restrictions. [AP]

In France, health officials banned the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients. [Politico]

Meanwhile, Spain began 10 days of national mourning for COVID-19 victims. [Al Jazeera]

Worldwide, more than 5.6 million cases and more than 353,000 deaths have been reported. [Johns Hopkins]

5. Minneapolis mayor calls for charges against officer who put knee on George Floyd’s neck

George Floyd died after being pinned to the ground by an officer’s knee during an arrest, which was recorded on a bystander’s smartphone. Floyd can be heard repeatedly saying he can’t breathe.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey today said criminal charges should be filed against officer Derek Chauvin, who had his knee over Floyd’s neck for several minutes. All four officers involved in the controversial arrest have been fired, and the FBI has launched a civil rights investigation.

“I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?” said Frey, adding, “I saw no threat. I saw nothing that would signal that this kind of force was necessary.” [AP]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The Justice Department has closed investigations into stock sales made by three senators before financial markets cratered during the pandemic. [NPR]
  • Chicago Sun-Times obituary writer Maureen O'Donnell explains how she handles COVID-19 deaths and what her job is like right now. [NPR]
  • AIDS activist and playwright Larry Kramer died at the age of 84. [AP]
  • There’s another TV streaming service. [AP]

Oh, and one more thing …

My husband and I have been playing the Mario Party video game a lot as a way to forget that we’ve been in our apartment for what feels like years now. And I’m, uh, of course not playing video games while working from home. Yeah, who would do something like that?

If you’re looking for video games to play, Nerdette talked to Samantha Nelson, who writes about video games for The A.V. Club and Polygon. It’s a great episode, and Nelson gives recommendations for folks who are just now trying out video games. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good ...

OK, because I can’t stop watching this mesmerizing commercial from the ’90s, I’d like to know what are some of your favorite memories from the ’90s.

Melissa writes:

“My favorite memory is having birthday parties at Discovery Zone and Leaps and Bounds!”

And Jason Schroeder writes:

“A couple times a year, I am somehow reminded of Eagle Insurance’s bizarre ’90s mascots, Eagleman and Eaglewoman. The three commercials starring them are something I remember fondly, and I make sure to show them to every new colleague that moves from outside of the area. These commercials really encapsulate Chicagoland in the ’90s for me.”

What’s one of your favorite memories from the ’90s? Feel free to email at therundown@wbez.org or tweet to @whuntah.

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