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Coping with COVID: April 26

Homewood COVID-19 cases up, Flossmoor flat. In the news: 1918 flu pandemic and parallels to COVID-19. WHO issues brief cautioning that immunity to COVID-19 has not been fully studied and verified yet. 

Homewood COVID-19 cases climb, Flossmoor flat. Homewood’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 jumped 10 percent over the weekend, going from 122 on Saturday to 134 on Sunday. Flossmoor’s number has remained at 54 for several days. The number of new cases in Illinois was more than 2,000 for the third day in a row. Health officials say increased testing is at least partially responsible for the levels of positive cases. Deaths have declined four days in a row. The number Sunday, 59, was down 52 percent from Thursday’s 123. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has cautioned that numbers are still likely to fluctuate even as the expected peak is being reached. He has said the peak could be a plateau that lasts for days or weeks rather than the sharp decline that people might hope for. Watch for daily updates at hfchronicle.com.

1918 -> 2020. History can provide context, show us patterns than could play out again in some fashion. In recent weeks, the 1918 flu pandemic has returned to the news as a cautionary tale about the possibility of a deceptive ebb followed by a deadly flow in cases and deaths. The pandemic killed 50 to 100 million worldwide and about 675,000 in the U.S., more than died in the Civil War. Here are a few recent articles that compare the situation then to the one we are in now:

Herd immunity uncertainty. Herd immunity” is a search term that is trending up on Google. That’s because the concept is a key factor for reopening societies that are locked down by the COVID-19 pandemic. It refers to communal immunity to a disease, when enough individuals have developed enough immunity that even those who haven’t developed immunity are protected. The World Health Organization issued a brief on Friday that says antibody tests have not yet been proven reliable enough and there isn’t enough evidence yet to confirm how immunity is working in people who have recovered from COVID-19. The brief addressed a proposal that perhaps people who have developed antibodies could be released from shelter-in-place requirements. The brief says it’s premature to take such a step.

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