The Rundown: Vax mandates are quickly becoming the norm

Biden Chicago
President Joe Biden tours a Clayco Corporation construction site for a Microsoft data center in Elk Grove Village, Ill., Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, with Otto Nichols, left, and Anuraj Jhajj, second from right, and Madhu Sreenivas, right, and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, center. Susan Walsh / AP Photo
Biden Chicago
President Joe Biden tours a Clayco Corporation construction site for a Microsoft data center in Elk Grove Village, Ill., Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, with Otto Nichols, left, and Anuraj Jhajj, second from right, and Madhu Sreenivas, right, and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, center. Susan Walsh / AP Photo

The Rundown: Vax mandates are quickly becoming the norm

Hey there! It’s Thursday, and Libby will be writing the newsletter tomorrow because I’ll be out on some top secret stuff. Have fun without me! Here’s what you need to know today.

(By the way, if you’d like this emailed to your inbox, you can sign up here.)

1. Biden touts vaccine mandates during visit to Chicago area

President Joe Biden traveled to the city today as he seeks to boost the nation’s vaccination rates through sweeping mandates on businesses with more than 100 employees.

Why Chicago? The city is home to the headquarters of United Airlines, which was the first major U.S. airline to tell employees to get vaccinated if they wanted to keep their jobs. As a result, 99.5% of workers got their shots.

Ahead of Biden’s visit, the White House released a report suggesting momentum is building for mandates: They’re now in place at 25% of businesses, 40% of hospitals and colleges serving 37% of all graduate and undergraduate students. [Chicago Tribune]

Meanwhile, 67.5% of eligible Chicago residents are fully vaccinated as of Oct. 5, according to city data. [COVID Dashboard]

In France, officials have adopted a new strategy to entice the unvaccinated to get shots: charging them for COVID-19 tests. [NYT]

2. Pfizer asks the FDA to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5 to 11 years old

Parents are getting closer and closer to the possibility of having their young children inoculated against COVID-19.

Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, today asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize the use of their vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. If regulators sign off, the shots could be available to kids in a matter of weeks.

“It makes me very happy that I am helping other kids get the vaccine,” said 8-year-old Sebastian Prybol, who is enrolled in a Pfizer study and doesn’t yet know if he received the vaccine or a placebo. [AP]

3. Enforcement of Texas’ controversial abortion law is blocked by a federal judge

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman last night granted an emergency request to pause enforcement of a new law in Texas that bans nearly all abortions as legal cases over the bill make their way through federal courts.

The law, known formally as Senate Bill 8, allows private citizens to sue anyone who aids a prohibited procedure, from doctors to ride-share drivers.

“From the moment S.B. 8 went into effect, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their own lives in ways that are protected by the Constitution,” Pitman wrote in a 113-page ruling.

The Justice Department, which is suing Texas, asked for the emergency request. Texas officials have already filed a notice that they will appeal Pitman’s ruling. [NPR]

4. The Chicago Park District quietly hired consultants as it struggles to address allegations of lifeguard abuse

Facing mounting questions about how it handles sexual misconduct complaints, the Chicago Park District signed a deal in August with high-priced consultants from a company led by a former Cook County prosecutor.

The company, Prescient Comply LLC, got a four-month contract to launch what parks officials say is a significant new branch of the agency, called the “Office of Protection.” The consultants will rewrite the park district’s policies and procedures for handling sexual harassment and other misconduct, according to records obtained by WBEZ.

It remains to be seen if the move satisfies critics who want the head of the park district, Mike Kelly, to resign. Four members of the City Council are currently calling for Kelly to step down. [WBEZ]

5. The Chicago Sky make it into the WNBA Finals

The Chicago Sky advances to the finals — the second time in the franchise’s history — after defeating the Connecticut Sun 79-69 last night.

“We felt [we could make it to the WNBA Finals] from the beginning of the playoffs,” Sky coach and general manager James Wade said. “If I said it out loud people probably would have looked at me strangely, but here we are.”

The team will now face the winner of the semifinals between the Phoenix Mercury and the Las Vegas Aces. The first game of the Finals is scheduled for Sunday. The last time the Sky made it to the Finals in 2014, they lost to the Mercury. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Senate leaders announced a deal on raising the debt ceiling, prolonging the game of chicken to early December. [NPR]
  • A 100-year-old former Nazi guard is on trial for the deaths of 3,518 people. [AP]
  • Former President Donald Trump failed to enlist the Justice Department in his effort to overturn the 2020 election because several officials threatened to resign, according to a Senate report. [NPR]
  • There are only 50,000 ash trees left in Chicago. Should the city spend millions to save them? [WBEZ]

Oh, and one more thing …

It took more than a decade for the creator of the wildly popular and critically acclaimed Squid Game to sell the TV series.

Director and writer Hwang Dong-hyuk told The Korea Times he came up with the idea for the series in 2008, but it was dismissed as “bizarre.”

“After about 12 years, the world has changed into a place where such peculiar, violent survival stories are actually welcomed,” he said. “People commented on how the series is relevant to real life. Sadly, the world has changed in that direction. The series’ games that participants go crazy over align with people’s desires to hit the jackpot with things like cryptocurrency, real estate and stocks. So many people have been able to empathize with the story.” [PopSugar]

Tell me something good …

It’s never too early to plan your Halloween costume. What will you be this year?

Kayla writes:

“A few of my friends and I are having a small get together for Halloween. Last year, our theme was Mamma Mia! This year we chose the Twilight Saga. I will be Bella Swan when she becomes a vampire (spoiler) and my girlfriend will be Aro, the main leader of the evil Volturi coven. I wanted to be the boulder from the scene where New Blood Bella kicks Emmett’s butt at arm wrestling…too niche? ;)”

Feel free to email me at or tweet me at @whuntah, and your responses might be shared here this week.

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