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In Chicago and Los Angeles, Virus Spread Is Slower, but Persistent In Chicago and Los Angeles, Virus Spread Is Slower, but Persistent
(3 days later)
As cases of the coronavirus spiraled upward in New York City, leaders of other big cities watched with worry, searching for ways to avoid an escalation of the magnitude that might overwhelm hospitals. In Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, fear of explosive growth — the kind that overtook New York City, Detroit and New Orleans — has faded in recent days, but the Chicago area has faced its own stubbornly high numbers.As cases of the coronavirus spiraled upward in New York City, leaders of other big cities watched with worry, searching for ways to avoid an escalation of the magnitude that might overwhelm hospitals. In Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, fear of explosive growth — the kind that overtook New York City, Detroit and New Orleans — has faded in recent days, but the Chicago area has faced its own stubbornly high numbers.
Cook County, Ill., which includes Chicago and its closest suburbs, has added more cases of the coronavirus than any other county in the United States on some recent days. On Friday, Cook County added more new cases than the five boroughs of New York City combined.Cook County, Ill., which includes Chicago and its closest suburbs, has added more cases of the coronavirus than any other county in the United States on some recent days. On Friday, Cook County added more new cases than the five boroughs of New York City combined.
“Watching a city of such global importance go through this absolutely horrific experience is so incredibly sad to see, but also of course a cautionary tale for the rest of us,” Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, said of New York City. She said she had conferred with mayors in many of the country’s largest cities in recent weeks. “All of us have to be prepared, and thinking about, ‘How do we not become the next hot spot?’” she said.“Watching a city of such global importance go through this absolutely horrific experience is so incredibly sad to see, but also of course a cautionary tale for the rest of us,” Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, said of New York City. She said she had conferred with mayors in many of the country’s largest cities in recent weeks. “All of us have to be prepared, and thinking about, ‘How do we not become the next hot spot?’” she said.
But the nation’s largest cities after New York — Los Angeles and Chicago — are wrestling with a puzzle somewhat different from the one New York faced: a caseload that has not skyrocketed but nonetheless remains steadily worrisome.But the nation’s largest cities after New York — Los Angeles and Chicago — are wrestling with a puzzle somewhat different from the one New York faced: a caseload that has not skyrocketed but nonetheless remains steadily worrisome.
Ms. Lightfoot said that the numbers of new cases and deaths in the city itself each day had recently fallen somewhat, even as the number of cases in the larger county remains mostly flat. Cook County has added at least 1,265 cases on each of 18 consecutive days, and the death toll has more than doubled, to 2,264, in that same period.Ms. Lightfoot said that the numbers of new cases and deaths in the city itself each day had recently fallen somewhat, even as the number of cases in the larger county remains mostly flat. Cook County has added at least 1,265 cases on each of 18 consecutive days, and the death toll has more than doubled, to 2,264, in that same period.
Together, the counties around Chicago and Los Angeles and the five boroughs of New York City accounted for about 15 percent of the country’s newly identified cases on a recent day.Together, the counties around Chicago and Los Angeles and the five boroughs of New York City accounted for about 15 percent of the country’s newly identified cases on a recent day.
Cook County has about 51,600 total cases and has been mostly adding between 1,400 and 1,900 new patients each day. Los Angeles County has more than 31,000 total cases, with average daily growth of about 850 cases over the last week. And New York City has more than 188,000 cases and 19,000 deaths, but its new cases have slowed to about 1,700 per day in the past week.Cook County has about 51,600 total cases and has been mostly adding between 1,400 and 1,900 new patients each day. Los Angeles County has more than 31,000 total cases, with average daily growth of about 850 cases over the last week. And New York City has more than 188,000 cases and 19,000 deaths, but its new cases have slowed to about 1,700 per day in the past week.
In an interview, Ms. Lightfoot said she was particularly concerned about data that shows that the virus has had a disproportionate effect on black and Latino residents.In an interview, Ms. Lightfoot said she was particularly concerned about data that shows that the virus has had a disproportionate effect on black and Latino residents.
Though Latino residents make up less than a third of Chicago’s population of 2.7 million, they account for 40 percent of all positive cases, according to data provided by the Chicago Department of Public Health. And black residents, who make up about 30 percent of the city, account for 50 percent of the city’s death toll in the pandemic.Though Latino residents make up less than a third of Chicago’s population of 2.7 million, they account for 40 percent of all positive cases, according to data provided by the Chicago Department of Public Health. And black residents, who make up about 30 percent of the city, account for 50 percent of the city’s death toll in the pandemic.
ProPublica Illinois reported that 70 of the first 100 people who died of the virus in Chicago were black and that many victims had received unclear guidance about treatment or lived near hospitals that were unprepared to treat coronavirus patients.ProPublica Illinois reported that 70 of the first 100 people who died of the virus in Chicago were black and that many victims had received unclear guidance about treatment or lived near hospitals that were unprepared to treat coronavirus patients.
“This is the manifestation of decades of neglect,” Ms. Lightfoot said. “There’s no way to sugarcoat it. It’s exactly that.”“This is the manifestation of decades of neglect,” Ms. Lightfoot said. “There’s no way to sugarcoat it. It’s exactly that.”
Updated June 30, 2020
Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.
Scientists around the country have tried to identify everyday materials that do a good job of filtering microscopic particles. In recent tests, HEPA furnace filters scored high, as did vacuum cleaner bags, fabric similar to flannel pajamas and those of 600-count pillowcases. Other materials tested included layered coffee filters and scarves and bandannas. These scored lower, but still captured a small percentage of particles.
A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.
The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.
The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.
So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.
Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.
A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.
The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate to increase to as much as 20 percent, after it hit 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate dipped instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.
If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)
If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.
Ms. Lightfoot said she was also worried that warmer weather would lure Chicagoans out of their homes and too close to one another, as it had in New York, leading Mayor Bill de Blasio to limit crowds at two popular parks. The prospect of a long, steady — but not exploding — outbreak may complicate the task of officials in trying to persuade residents to continue staying home.Ms. Lightfoot said she was also worried that warmer weather would lure Chicagoans out of their homes and too close to one another, as it had in New York, leading Mayor Bill de Blasio to limit crowds at two popular parks. The prospect of a long, steady — but not exploding — outbreak may complicate the task of officials in trying to persuade residents to continue staying home.
Last month, a house party in Chicago drew widespread outrage after a video showed scores of people crammed together as music blared. The man who hosted the party told news outlets that he hadn’t known how serious the virus was.Last month, a house party in Chicago drew widespread outrage after a video showed scores of people crammed together as music blared. The man who hosted the party told news outlets that he hadn’t known how serious the virus was.
Ms. Lightfoot has said that people flouting stay-at-home rules may be cited for violations and sent to jail. But she has used less traditional approaches to send the message, embracing photoshopped memes of herself popping up around the city and creating a Tik Tok video to announce a virtual commencement ceremony for high school seniors.Ms. Lightfoot has said that people flouting stay-at-home rules may be cited for violations and sent to jail. But she has used less traditional approaches to send the message, embracing photoshopped memes of herself popping up around the city and creating a Tik Tok video to announce a virtual commencement ceremony for high school seniors.
On Friday, she outlined plans for Chicago to further reopen businesses, issuing a set of benchmarks that would need to be reached before some nonessential workers could return to work. Among them: a consistent decline in cases over two weeks, a decline in emergency department visits for coronavirus symptoms and the capacity to test 5 percent of Chicago residents each month. So far, none of the benchmarks have been met, an official said, and no date has been set for reopening.On Friday, she outlined plans for Chicago to further reopen businesses, issuing a set of benchmarks that would need to be reached before some nonessential workers could return to work. Among them: a consistent decline in cases over two weeks, a decline in emergency department visits for coronavirus symptoms and the capacity to test 5 percent of Chicago residents each month. So far, none of the benchmarks have been met, an official said, and no date has been set for reopening.