The number of COVID-19 cases is likely to rise
As Chicago comes close to being declared a high risk of coronavirus, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is urging people to get vaccinated and boosted. “If you haven’t had a COVID-19 vaccine since Labor Day, you’re not up to date,” Lightfoot said at a news conference Thursday.
Lightfoot also said the city could issue a mask alert if Cook County reaches a high level of transmission of COVID-19. A “high” transmission rate is 100 or more cases per 100,000 people or a positivity rate of 10% or higher, according to health guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A mask alert means that all Chicago residents 2 years of age and older will be required to wear a mask in indoor public spaces, including restaurants as well as theaters. “Not only will this (mask-wearing) protect you, but also those around you, including some of the older, more vulnerable populations and those with compromised immune systems,” said Mayor Lightfoot.
Illinois reported 3,225 new COVID-19 cases and 18 new deaths Thursday. There have been at least 3,950,143 cases of COVID in the state since the start of the pandemic and at least 35,698 related deaths.
The mayor just finished a five-day quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19.
Internet access for underprivileged areas
$253.7 million in federal money will be sent to Illinois to boost the development of broadband infrastructure that is lacking across the state. The plan will connect 87,613 homes and businesses, according to the state, which will cover about 25% of areas in Illinois without a high-speed Internet connection.
“This funding will assist governments with critical capital projects, including reliable and affordable broadband infrastructure and other digital connectivity technology projects,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).
The reality of digital inequality has only worsened in parts of Chicago with large numbers of low-income residents and rural Illinois during the pandemic.
According to the state, about 25 percent of areas in Illinois without high-speed internet will be covered by federal funds.
Congressional Gold Medal for Emmett Even and his mother
Emmett Till, the Chicago teen who was murdered by white supremacists in the 1950s, and his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, will be honored with the Congressional Gold Medal.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill to posthumously present the Till Mobley Award for Courage and Pioneering Civil Rights Work following the kidnapping and brutal murder of her 14-year-old son.
The medal will be given to the National Museum of African American History, where it will be displayed near the casket in which it was buried.
The distinguished award is the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress.
Cover image by Gift Habeshaw from Pexels and Pixabay