Newsletter: Will Illinois See A Second Wave?

A new study says the virus is still spreading at a dangerous rate in Illinois. That story and more are in today’s Rundown.

Chicago coronavirus
Where thousands would usually gather or pass by, a food and beverage pavilion sits unoccupied at the Oak Street beach in Chicago Monday, May 25, 2020, as the lakefront continues to be closed as some COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed in Chicago. Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo
Chicago coronavirus
Where thousands would usually gather or pass by, a food and beverage pavilion sits unoccupied at the Oak Street beach in Chicago Monday, May 25, 2020, as the lakefront continues to be closed as some COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed in Chicago. Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo

Newsletter: Will Illinois See A Second Wave?

A new study says the virus is still spreading at a dangerous rate in Illinois. That story and more are in today’s Rundown.

Good afternoon! It’s Tuesday, and does anyone else remember this commercial from the ’90s? Do you think I can still order the album, drink some cocktails and “set adrift with the timeless pleasures of ‘Tubular Bells’ ”? Here’s what you need to know today.

1. The coronavirus is still spreading at dangerous rates in Illinois and 23 other states

That’s according to researchers at Imperial College London, whose findings warn of a potential second wave if coronavirus restrictions are abandoned too quickly, reports The Washington Post. In California and Florida, deaths could reach 1,000 a day by July without any precautions to slow the virus’ spread, according to the researchers.

Their findings are partly based on estimates of the virus’ R0 (pronounced R naught). If you haven’t watched the movie Contagion recently, the R0 measures the average number of times an infected person will pass the virus onto someone else. In Illinois and 23 other states, the R0 is above 1. [Washington Post]

Meanwhile, in-store retailers and places of worship in California can reopen under new guidelines unveiled by state public health officials. [NPR]

What about going to the park or having a backyard gathering with friends? Public health officials gave risk assessments for various summer activities. [NPR]

Across the U.S., more than 1.6 million cases and more than 98,000 deaths have been reported. [NPR]

2. Illinois businesses prepare to reopen on Friday

Many restaurants, bars, stores and offices in Illinois can begin reopening on Friday, when the state is expected to hit Phase 3 of Gov. JB Pritzker’s five-step plan to lift coronavirus restrictions. (Chicago is a different story.)

Click the link to find state guidelines on how businesses can safely reopen. [WBEZ]

Meanwhile, state officials today announced 1,178 new cases after 17,230 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours. That brings the statewide total to 113,195. Officials also announced 39 new fatalities, pushing the death toll to 4,923 since the pandemic began. [WBEZ]

State lawmakers over the weekend approved a series of COVID-19 relief initiatives, a new budget and tweaks designed to make a Chicago casino more attractive to investors. [WBEZ]

Despite the pandemic, Chicago saw its deadliest Memorial Day weekend since 2015. [Chicago Sun-Times]

3. Public schools face a financial crisis “unlike anything we have ever seen in modern history”

State budgets across the nation have been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and education leaders are warning of a financial catastrophe looming over many public schools.

“I think we're about to see a school funding crisis unlike anything we have ever seen in modern history,” Rebecca Sibilia, the head of the financial advocacy group EdBuild, told NPR.

Many school districts rely heavily on state funding. States have seen huge declines in tax revenue with businesses shuttered and unemployment skyrocketing. And unlike the federal government, state’s must have balanced budgets, meaning that education funding could face cuts. [NPR]

4. Wuhan tested 6.5 million people in nearly 2 weeks

Officials in Wuhan appear close to reaching their unprecedented goal of testing all 11 million residents after the city saw new coronavirus cases. As The New York Times reports, medical workers scoured the city for people to test, visiting construction sites, markets and elderly residents at their homes. [New York Times]

Meanwhile, Stockholm’s goal of reaching herd immunity in May appears unlikely.

Instead of enacting strict coronavirus restrictions, Sweden allowed most bars, restaurants, schools and stores to remain open, hoping that enough people would become immune to the virus. Instead, the colossal miscalculation resulted in the country having a higher mortality rate than the U.S. [NPR]

Worldwide, more than 5.5 million cases and more than 348,000 deaths have been reported. [Johns Hopkins]

5. Will seniors hand Biden a victory in Florida?

Several polls have found more older voters supporting former Vice President Joe Biden over President Donald Trump, and that could make the difference in key battleground states, reports The Washington Post.

The stakes are particularly high in Florida, a pivotal state for Trump’s path to reelection. Voters over the age of 65 made up a sizable portion of Florida’s electorate — more than 20% — in the 2016 election. [Washington Post]

Meanwhile, a former economic adviser to President Barack Obama says the economy might soon bounce back, a situation that could boost Trump’s campaign. [Politico]

And election officials across the country say they’re seeing a decline in new voter registrations, which could carry significant consequences for the election. [NPR]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The FBI will investigate the death of a black man in Minneapolis after a video showed a police officer kneeling over the man’s neck. [NBC News]
  • An Illinois man was arrested after he grabbed a WGN reporter and yelled a profanity while she was on air. [Buzzfeed News]
  • Costa Rica saw its first same-sex weddings. [BBC]
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues a warning about aggressive rats. [Chicago Tribune]

Oh, and one more thing …

I just realized I will be almost 50 when my oldest nephew graduates high school. (Stares off into oblivion.)

Anyway, WBEZ will create a commencement speech from graduating seniors on June 12. If you are a senior, or know one, you can click this link to learn more about how you can submit a speech, along with tips on how to make an audio recording. The deadline is this Sunday, May 31, at 5 p.m. [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.

One of mine is from junior high, sitting on a cushy bean bag chair and becoming outraged when the X-Men animated series was interrupted by the O.J. Simpson car chase.

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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