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Coping with COVID: May 13

New one-day record for deaths in Illinois. State on track to move into phase 3 of reopening plan by end of May. State receives shipment of remdesivir, a treatment for COVID-19. 

New record for deaths. Illinois officials reported the highest single-day death toll from COVID-19 on Wednesday, 192. That topped by a large margin the previous high of 144, which was reached on April 28 and May 12. Homewood remained at 22 deaths and Flossmoor at seven.

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Distributed online fun run. South Suburban Humane Society’s Fast and Furriest 5K will still take place from May 24-30, but instead of gathering and running together, participants will be invited to take their own runs, record their times, take a selfie and submit their participation online. It’s not the same, but it’s still an opportunity to support the organization. “You’ll get a runner bib (no chip timer) that you can wear while you run if you want! You’ll also get a t-shirt commemorating this crazy time in our lives,” according to the SSHS announcement.

Approaching phase 3. When Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced on May 5 his administration’s plan for reopening the state, Restore Illinois, the state was already in phase 2 of the five-phase plan. On Monday, he announced that all four regions of the state are on track to reach the data thresholds for phase 3 except the northeast region, which includes Cook County. The northeast region still has a positive testing rate above 20 percent. Pritzker said it’s possible all regions will reach the benchmarks by the end of May. 

Phase 3 will allow opening of more non-essential manufacturing and retail businesses, although gatherings will still be limited to groups of 10 or less, and other social distancing measures will still be in effect.

Mid-June peak. Early models predicted the state’s peak might come in mid-April. Although the rate of infections flattened, it became more of a plateau than a peak. On Monday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that current models predict the peak in mid-June. At that point, rates of infection could begin to recede. 

New treatment. Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike announced Monday that the state has received 140 cases of remdisivir, a drug that clinical trials have shown can shorten the recovery period for people with COVID-19. The shipment is enough to treat up to 700 patients and will be distributed to hospitals based on the number of patients in need. She said distribution would take into account reaching communities of color. 

Good read: “How Pandemics End” in the New York Times traces the complicated, messy ways pandemics can end. The authors say history’s examples show that there are viral and social factors at play.

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