WBEZ’s Rundown Of Today’s Top News: What You Need To Know About Delta

CDC Delta
In this May 21, 2021 file photo, a person holds a mask while walking outside in Philadelphia. Matt Rourke / AP Photo
CDC Delta
In this May 21, 2021 file photo, a person holds a mask while walking outside in Philadelphia. Matt Rourke / AP Photo

WBEZ’s Rundown Of Today’s Top News: What You Need To Know About Delta

Hey there! It’s Friday, and what a dizzying 24 hours. I’ve been stress eating so much that I could probably take the Olympic gold in eating hot dogs. 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. Delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox, according to internal CDC report

The delta variant is much more contagious, and mild breakthrough infections in the vaccinated may be more common than previously thought, according to an internal report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was obtained by The Washington Post.

The CDC also says vaccinated people with breakthrough infections of the delta variant may spread the virus just as readily as the unvaccinated.

But vaccines still remain effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death, medical experts say.

“It’s hard to do, but I think we have to become comfortable with coronavirus not going away,” said Kathleen Neuzil, a vaccine expert at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. [Washington Post]

The CDC cited a July 4 outbreak in Provincetown, Mass. About 74% of the 882 cases were reported in vaccinated people, according to The New York Times. [NYT]

The news raises even more questions about the safety of attendees at this week’s Lollapalooza. Organizers for the festival said more than 90% of fans showed proof of vaccination yesterday. [WGN]

2. “Just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me,” Trump told acting attorney general in December

In late December, then-President Donald Trump pressed top Justice Department officials to say the 2020 election was corrupt so he and his allies in Congress could try to overturn the results, according to handwritten notes released today by the House Oversight Committee.

On Dec. 27, Trump called the acting attorney general at the time, Jeffrey Rosen, and his deputy, Richard Donoghue, to discuss voter fraud claims the department had dismissed.

Trump told them to “just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me,” according to notes taken by Donoghue.

Trump said he would get support from Republicans in Congress, but he did not name the lawmakers. At other points in the conversation, Trump mentioned Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Scott Perry, R-Pa. [Axios]

Meanwhile, the Justice Department today said Trump’s tax returns must be shared with Congress. [Washington Post]

3. WBEZ sues Chicago Park District and mayor’s office for files on lifeguard sexual misconduct

WBEZ has sued the Chicago Park District and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office to gain access to public documents about alleged sexual harassment and violence against female lifeguards at the city’s public beaches and pools.

The station first reported in April that the park district’s internal watchdog was conducting a “broad investigation” into complaints that dozens of workers regularly committed “sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, workplace violence, and other criminal acts” — sometimes against minors.

Officials have declined to provide many documents about the issue that WBEZ requested under the state’s open records law, in some cases citing the ongoing inspector general’s probe as reason for their refusal to be transparent. But several lawsuits filed in Cook County Circuit Court accuse city officials of violating Illinois law. [WBEZ]

4. Skip this section if you don’t want to know what happened at the Tokyo Olympics

In a nail-biting match, Team USA beat the Netherlands in a penalty kick today after the score remained even after 30 minutes of extra time.

The win brings the U.S. team closer to becoming the first reigning Women’s World Cup champion to ever take Olympic gold. They’ll now face Canada on Monday, as Sweden plays against Australia. [NPR]

Meanwhile, Connor Fields, the U.S. defending gold medalist in BMX racing, had a brutal crash in the semifinals of his event and left the venue on a stretcher in an ambulance. [NPR]

And in what might be the biggest upset in Judo history, legendary fighter Teddy Riner lost in the Olympic quarterfinal. [NPR]

5. MTV turns 40

Happy birthday to MTV, which launched on Aug. 1, 1981. When I was in middle school, I remember sneaking into the basement at night to watch Beavis and Butt-Head, Aeon Flux and other TV shows that moral crusaders said would corrupt kids.

For the network’s big 4-0, NPR looks back at how MTV became a hub for experimentation and innovation, and how “its contribution to the television landscape transcends music and reality TV.”

Kris Brown, a head writer for Beavis and Butt-Head, told NPR about how he described the show to his father as being “about these two 13-year-olds that are really stupid and they’re just self-destructive. They’re really into heavy metal and I mean I don’t think it’s for you really, but I’m really excited about it.”

His dad paused and, as Brown recalls, said, “Well, do you plan on writing for anything else?” [NPR]

Here’s what else is happening

  • In case you missed it, the CDC yesterday added Cook County to his indoor-mask advisory. [WBEZ]
  • More companies are changing their plans and policies due to the spread of the delta variant. [NPR]
  • First lady Jill Biden is recovering after undergoing a successful procedure to “flush out debris” from a puncture wound on her left foot. [NPR]
  • A Chicago drag legend celebrates his 80th birthday. [Chicago Tribune]

Oh, and one more thing …

I’m really, really looking forward to seeing The Green Knight starring actor Dev Patel. The movie is an adaptation of the classic medieval tale of Sir Gawain, who tries to prove himself to his uncle, King Arthur, by essentially going on a suicide mission.

Here’s how I tell the story to my nephews:

One day, King Arthur and his knights were getting hammered at the Round Table, recounting their glory days, like that time they tried finding Jesus’ wine glass. Then the door bursts open and in walks the mysterious Green Knight, who’s like, “Which one of you dorks wants to fight?”

Sir Gawain jumps up and is like, “Let’s dance.” And he chops off the Green Knight’s head. But big Greenie is like, “Nice try, doofus. I’m still alive. Come find me in a year, little man.”

I’ll stop there so my sister doesn’t call me up and ask me what I’m doing to the nephews. But The Green Knight is getting a lot of good reviews. [NPR]

Tell me something good …

What is your favorite summertime memory?

Amy writes:

“My favorite summer memory — fireflies! When our children were young we watched Fourth of July fireworks from the local golf course fairway. Afterward, as we wandered back to our car through the backside of the course, hundreds of fireflies delighted us with their own enchanting light show. The experience was a perfect ending to our summer night.”

Thanks for all the responses this week. I’m sorry I couldn’t get to everyone, but it was nice hearing from y’all.

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