WBEZ’s Rundown Of Today’s Top News: A Vaccine For Every Adult By Summer?

COVID-19 vaccine bottle sits on table
Manuel Martinez / WBEZ
COVID-19 vaccine bottle sits on table
Manuel Martinez / WBEZ

WBEZ’s Rundown Of Today’s Top News: A Vaccine For Every Adult By Summer?

Hi there! It’s Tuesday, and I’m soaking up sunshine like I’m in “The Odd Life of Timothy Green.” Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Pfizer and Moderna say they can provide vaccines for most Americans by summer

The drugmakers behind the two currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. told Congress today they are ramping up production and hope to deliver a total of 220 million doses by the end of March. That’s up from the current total of 75 million.

Vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, Novavax and AstraZeneca could all soon be approved in the U.S. The Biden administration said today it expects about 2 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be shipped in the first week after authorization. By summer, the companies say there will be more than enough doses to vaccinate every American adult.

So far, roughly 14% of Americans have received at least the first shot of a two-dose vaccine. However, about 1 in 3 Americans say they definitely or probably will not get the vaccine, according to a recent poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. [AP]

COVID-19 vaccines are supposed to be free, but some Chicago residents are being charged $200. [WBEZ]

Chicago Public Schools wants leeway to require employees to get vaccines. [Chalkbeat Chicago]

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration says vaccines that are adapted to new, more contagious variants can go through shorter clinical trials, much like the annual flu vaccine. [New York Times]

2. Which security agency is to blame for the Capitol riot? Depends on who you ask.

Security officials today pointed fingers at each other during a Congressional hearing on the deadly riot last month at the U.S. Capitol.

The officials, including former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, said they expected protests to be similar to other recent pro-Trump demonstrations and blamed faulty intelligence for their lack of preparation for a riot.

“No single civilian law enforcement agency — and certainly not the USCP — is trained and equipped to repel, without significant military or other law enforcement assistance, an insurrection of thousands of armed, violent, and coordinated individuals focused on breaching a building at all costs,” said Sund, who resigned under pressure after the attack.

Sund described a broken communication system where a warning from the FBI never made it up the chain of command. [AP]

Sen. Ron Johnson, R.-Wis., today promoted an alternate theory of who stormed the Capitol. This Washington Post analysis looks at the evolution of denying the insurrection. [Post]

3. Emma Coronel, wife of drug trafficker El Chapo, to be held in U.S. jail

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled today that the wife of notorious Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman should remain in jail after being arrested yesterday at Dulles International Airport in Virginia.

Coronel, who is both a Mexican and American citizen, is accused of helping run her husband’s multibillion-dollar cartel and plotting his escape from a Mexican prison in 2015.

Prosecutors argued that Coronel should remain behind bars because she has “financial means to generate a serious risk of flight.”

The Associated Press reports: “Her arrest was the latest twist in the bloody, multinational saga involving Guzman, the longtime head of the Sinaloa drug cartel. Guzman, whose two dramatic prison escapes in Mexico fed into a legend that he and his family were all but untouchable, was extradited to the United States in 2017 and is serving life in prison.” [AP]

4. Do temp agencies discriminate against Black workers?

Temp workers and activists have long claimed that agencies favor Latino workers over Black workers. The results of an experiment conducted in Chicago and released today came to the same conclusion.

The 2019 experiment sent Black and Latino workers into temp agencies minutes apart. The candidates were similar in age, gender, education and work experience

For every three jobs offered to Black workers, four were offered to Latino candidates, according to the report from the Chicago Workers’ Collaborative, Warehouse Workers for Justice, Partners for Dignity & Rights and the Equal Rights Center.

Other findings include Black applicants being offered lower-paying or less desirable jobs, and “job segregation,” where Black workers were offered different types of jobs than Latino workers. The discrepancies included offering Spanish-speakers jobs where they were less likely to complain about poor working conditions. [Chicago Tribune]

5. Let’s go to the beach!

Chicago’s Lakefront, indoor pools and more than 500 playgrounds will reopen after nearly a year, Chicago Park District officials announced today.

The news comes a day after city officials touted the COVID-19 positivity rate, currently at 3.1%, as the lowest “since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Enforcing the closure has been spotty, and residents have complained that some of these recreation areas should have opened along with The 606 Trail and Lakefront Trail.

Large gatherings are still prohibited, and social distancing and mask wearing will be enforced. [Chicago Tribune]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Tiger Woods was hospitalized in serious condition after a car crash. [AP]

  • Mayor Lori Lightfoot signed an update to the “Welcome City” ordinance, which ends Chicago police cooperation with ICE. [Chicago Sun-Times]

  • The chair of the Federal Reserve told lawmakers today that economic recovery is still “far from complete.” [New York Times]

  • Here’s some news that’s e-x-c-i-t-i-n-g. [AP]

Oh, and one more thing …

A Northwest Indiana 17-year-old made history this month as the first Black female scout to earn the prestigious Eagle Scout rank from the Boy Scouts of America in the Chicago region.

Kendall Jackson, from Schererville, is one of 14 young women in the Chicago metropolitan area to earn the Eagle Scout designation. There are just 21 Black female scouts nationally who have earned the elite rank.

Jackson said she first learned how to scout from her older brother. In just 19 months, she earned 39 badges and completed a community service project.

“To say I have made Black history is a blessing,” Jackson said. “It is very humbling”. [Chicago Tribune]

Tell me something good …

What book have you recently read and loved?

F.H in Hyde Park writes:

“I read the Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R Tolkien for the first time in about forty years. It was like visiting an old friend.”

And Garnet writes:

“As a librarian I usually read a lot, but, since the pandemic, I have been really leaning into it. … I recommend The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. The audiobook is fantastic. Please pass along this PSA: Stop paying for audiobooks! Your local library will have free ebooks and e-audiobooks, along with CD audiobooks.”

What should I read next? Feel free to tweet or email me your responses, and they might be shared here this week.

Thanks for reading and have a nice night! We’ll see you tomorrow.