Health officials are warning some travelers ahead of the long Labor Day weekend.
Plus, concerns are growing in southern Illinois as available ICU beds dwindle.
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
Officials Issue Warning for Travelers This Labor Day Weekend
You might want to think twice before traveling this Labor Day weekend, according to health officials.
As COVID metrics continue to climb across the U.S. and the delta variant surges in many states, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said even those who are fully vaccinated should consider the risks.
During a White House press briefing Tuesday, Walensky said everyone should rethink their travel plans, though she specifically urged unvaccinated people not to travel at all.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said ultimately the decision will be left to parents, but she specifically urged those with unvaccinated kids to avoid traveling for the long holiday weekend.
Nearly every U.S. state, with the exception of Vermont, is now on the city’s travel advisory, meaning those states are experiencing 15 cases per day per 100,000 people.
Read more here.
Suburban Man Released From Hospital After 9-Month Battle Against COVID
After spending nine long months in an area hospital during his battle with coronavirus, a North Chicago man is facing down a long recovery from the illness that tested him at every turn.
Kelvin Jordan is a COVID long-hauler, being diagnosed with the virus last year and then spending more than three-quarters of a year waging war with the disease.
“He was getting fed by a tube,” his wife Jacqueline Johnson-Jordan says. “They had to put a trachea in his throat. He was on a ventilator, that main ventilator they talk about when people catch the COVID, he was on that for two and a half months.”
Johnson-Jordan says that her husband is happy to finally be out of the hospital, but there are plenty of challenges remaining ahead.
“He can’t walk, so he has to learn that all over again,” she says. “He’s not able to stand by himself, so he’s got a long road.”
His community will be rallying behind him. He and his wife spent years giving back by volunteering their time at a local food bank, and now that community is looking to repay him for his tireless efforts.
Read the full story here.
IDPH: 26 COVID Outbreaks Reported at Illinois Schools, Including 4 in Cook County
Macoupin County has reported two outbreaks, including one involving at least 16 or more COVID cases at Staunton Community USD #6. That outbreak occurred via transmission of the virus in classrooms, according to officials, and involves cases among staff and students.
Another outbreak involving 16 or more cases was reported in Clinton County, located near St. Louis. There, more than a dozen cases have been reported at Carlyle School, with students making up the current reported cases.
Several outbreaks have also been reported within NBC 5’s viewing area in northeastern Illinois, including four in suburban Cook County.
The most serious as of Thursday is at Glenbrook Elementary, where officials have confirmed between 11 and 16 cases of the virus among students.
Read more here.
Coronavirus by the Numbers: Southern Illinois Reporting Dwindling Availability of ICU Beds
Parts of southern Illinois are continuing to see increases in COVID test positivity and hospitalization rates, with one region having just seven intensive care unit beds available to help treat an influx of coronavirus patients.
According to the latest data released by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Region 5, comprised of 20 of Illinois’ 102 counties and located in the southern tip of the state, has just seven, or 8.3%, of its 84 ICU beds currently open.
The region is seeing the highest test positivity rate in the state, at 11% as of Monday and still rising, and has seen increases in COVID hospitalizations on nine of the last 10 days, according to IDPH data.
The ICU metric is still a slight improvement from a week ago, when the region was down to just one open ICU bed, but challenges remain ahead for the area as COVID cases and hospitalizations rise.
Read more here.
Deadline to Receive First COVID Vaccine Dose For Those Mandated in Illinois Approaches This Weekend
The deadline for health care workers, teachers and higher education students to receive the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine is approaching this weekend.
Workers in mandated groups will need to receive the first dose of a two-dose vaccination series or a single-dose vaccination by Sept. 5. Second doses of the vaccine must be received by 30 days after the first dose, according to the state requirement.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the following groups will be required to receive the vaccine in a move he said was aimed at lowering the number of breakthrough cases, hospital admissions and spread of the delta variant:
- Health care workers, including workers at public and private nursing homes
- Teachers and staff at pre-k-12 schools
- Personnel and students at higher education institutions
Those who do not receive the vaccine or opt out for medical reasons or a religious exemption must follow a testing schedule laid out by the state. Testing will be required once a week in schools and healthcare facilities, but that requirement could increase in some cases, such as outbreaks.
Read more here.
United Center Will Require Proof of Vaccination or Negative COVID Test For All Event Attendees
The United Center will now require anyone attending events at the arena, including Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks games, to present either proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the venue, facility representatives announced Thursday.
The decision, according to United Center representatives, reflects the venue’s “continued commitment to providing the best environment for a safe return for all fans and employees” and will also involve arena and team employees.
A new entrance process that includes proof of vaccination or a negative test goes into effect for all future events and will remain in place until further notice, according to the United Center.
Read more here.
Mu, Delta, Lambda: Here’s a Breakdown of COVID Variants and What We Know So Far
As cases of the delta variant continue to raise concerns across the U.S. and a new variant reaches a warning level for the World Health Organization, many are wondering what variants are out there and which should we be concerned about?
Chicago Offering $100 Visa Gift Card to Those Who Get Vaccinated Starting This Weekend
Chicago’s health department will soon offer $100 Visa gift cards to anyone 12 and older who gets vaccinated.
Gift cards will be available starting on Saturday at mobile vaccination events, and on Tuesday for at home appointments, officials said.
Residents will receive a $50 gift card when they get each dose of the Pfizer vaccine and those who get the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will receive two $50 gift cards when they get their shot.
For a list of mobile and pop-up vaccination events and available vaccines, check here.
Moderna vs. Pfizer: Is One Vaccine Stronger Against Delta Variant?
With many now able to choose which COVID vaccine they receive, questions surrounding which offers better protection against the now-surging delta variant have spiked.
Several studies have been conducted to determine vaccine effectiveness, but is one vaccine actually better than the others?
According to medical experts, the three vaccines currently available in the U.S. each offer protection.
Proof, Testing, Religious Exemptions: What to Know About COVID Vaccine Mandates
With both Illinois and Chicago mandating COVID vaccines for certain groups, what are the requirements and what do you need to know?
The resurgence of COVID-19 this summer has made consumers cautious and investors are cutting back on investment in the travel sector, which is still struggling to recover.
July retail sales fell by a staggering 1.1% as consumers spend less on clothing, furniture and sporting goods. At the same time, investors are withdrawing from cruise lines, airlines and other travel-related stocks as the number of cases of COVID-19 surged due to the highly contagious delta mutant.
The recession in spending and investment in the travel sector represents an unwelcome reversal from growth throughout the year. Vaccinations seem to be knocking down the virus, and after spending more than a year at home, people have more freedom to shop, eat out, and plan trips.
“Obviously, as we’ve learned in the last 18 months, there are undefinable twists and turns,” said Mike Stritch, Chief Investment Officer at BMO Wealth Management.
As people spend more on services, some of the recession in consumer spending on commodities was expected. According to the Supply Chain Association, the service sector, including restaurants, began to recover in July with record-accelerating growth.
Analysts aren’t expecting another series of blockades, but people can begin to reduce travel to restaurants and other public spaces, putting pressure on the recovery of the service sector.
“Our emotional indicators are starting to flash bright yellow to red,” Stritch said. “It potentially gives a pause in the short term.”
Concerns have been rising on Wall Street in recent months as analysts and investors have carefully tracked the rise in virus cases. The resurrection was strong enough that at the end of July the CDC recommended that even vaccinated people resume wearing masks indoors in public places.
Some airlines have warned that a surge in the virus could hinder their recovery. Southwest Airlines does not expect to make a profit in the third quarter after making a sufficient recovery to make a profit in the second quarter. Spirit Airlines states that the service meltdown that began in late July and the increase in COVID-19 cases have led to more last-minute cancellations and fewer bookings.
Major retailers have yet to raise concerns about the resurgence of the virus that keeps shoppers home. Both Wal-Mart and Target have given investors bright forecasts for the rest of the year. But investors are getting more attention.
The S & P 500’s consumer discretionary sector, including clothing companies and other retailers that rely on discretionary spending and face-to-face services, increased by just 0.5% in July and then decreased by nearly 1.5% in August. The sector rose just under 3.8% in June.
Chris Zaccarelli, Chief Investment Officer, said: For the Independent Advisor Alliance.
Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
COVID-19 revival puts pressure on spending and travel recovery | News
Source link COVID-19 revival puts pressure on spending and travel recovery | News
No matter how much you love your spin classes, nothing quite compares to riding through nature. Here are just a few impressive bicycling trails in North America worth travelling for.
Empire State Trail, New York
For a new endurance challenge, head to New York’s Empire State Trail, which opened to hikers and cyclists at the end of 2020. It runs from the southern tip of Manhattan right to the Canadian border, connecting some pre-existing segments to create a route that spans more than 1,200 kilometres — making this the longest multi-use trail in the U.S. Visitors can stop to take in some of the state’s iconic landscapes, or stroll alongside the Hudson River or the Erie Canal in Buffalo. Head up to the northern section of the route, through Champlain Valley, to get up close to the Adirondacks.
Véloroute des Bleuets, Quebec
There’s something for everyone on Quebec’s iconic Véloroute des Bleuets (“blueberry cycle route”). Located in the Saguenay—Lac St-Jean region, the idyllic, 256-kilometre trail circles around Lac St-Jean, and gets its name from the rolling blueberry fields that run alongside sections. It’s apt for all levels and perfect for a three- to five-day trip, as it takes riders past beaches, farmland and 15 charming municipalities, including Alma and Saint-Félicien. Parc national de la Pointe-Taillon is also accessible via the route.
Greenbrier River Trail, West Virginia
This nearly 126-kilometre historic route was once part of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, which carried timber to local businesses. Now, hikers, bikers and horseback riders take to the scenic Greenbrier River Trail, one of the longest trails in the state. Starting in Caldwell, it passes through a number of small towns, and some of West Virginia’s most remote areas, and offers views of the Greenbrier River and Allegheny Mountains. You can make a camping trip out of your visit, too: You can stay overnight at several places along the way, like Cass Scenic Railroad or Watoga State Park.
Confederation Trail, Prince Edward Island
There’s perhaps no better way to take in all PEI has to offer than the Confederation Trail. Totalling 449 kilometres, the route stretches from tip to tip across the province. The 273-kilometre main path — Tignish to Elmira — is built upon a decommissioned railway line and connects to six branch trails; depending on your chosen route, you can cycle to breathtaking scenery, landmarks like the Cape Bear Lighthouse and Cabot Beach Provincial Park, or right to the heart of Charlottetown. The trail is also laid out like an outdoor museum, with nearly 250 panels scattered across it, sharing historical and geographical facts about the sights.
The name of this popular, 53-kilometre Utah trail tells you what you can expect: a bit of everything. Starting atop Geyser Pass in the La Sal Mountains, travellers will descend the rocky terrain and come across ledges, drops and ultrathin paths, making the Whole Enchilada best suited to more advanced riders. But if you have the experience, the journey is worth it — you’ll bike through dense forests, aspen groves and desert, eventually nearing the Colorado River as you approach the canyon floor. Come prepared: the high-elevation area can get cold and wet, so pack enough gear, water and snacks to sustain yourself.
Travellers are reminded to check on public health restrictions that could affect their plans.
With towering resorts on the shores of exclusive beaches and luxury boutique spots in metropolitan cities, classic bed and breakfasts can fall to the wayside. The Applewood Manor, which was constructed in 1912, however, serves as a stunning reminder that B&Bs are alive and well. There’s something indisputably sweet about a five-room space (plus a separate cottage) that feels more like an elegant private residence than a hotel, and Ashville’s The Applewood Manor is no exception.
The surrounding cherry, oak, pine, and maple trees and the Blue Ridge Mountains inform every nook within the highly decorated interiors, all of which are outfitted in Regency-style antiques from 1stDibs. Plus, because the estate used to be the original owner’s home (until he passed away in 1939), the manor looks and feels like a private residence. The main level comprises a large entry hall that extends all the way to the back of the house, a colorful parlor with several fireplaces, a living room, a formal dining room, a butler’s pantry, a half bath, and a kitchen. Four of the guest rooms, all of which are designed in the style of their unique names (Granny Smith, Northern Spy, York Imperial, and MacIntosh), reside on the manor’s second floor. The last guest room, the sprawling Winesap suite, takes over the entire third floor.
Spread across nearly 1,000 acres, some of which make up a fully functioning ranch, the Snake River Sporting Club in Jackson Hole is like a transcendent threshold into a supremely rugged oasis. When it comes to sleeping quarters, there are no wrong choices between the three multi-room rustic cottages: The Shooting Cabin is a wooded jewel box perched atop more than 31 acres, the four-bedroom Fairway Lodge boasts 20-foot-tall vaulted ceilings in the open-layout living room, and the Caddis Lodge features stunning views all the way down the Snake River Canyon. There’s also plenty to do at the club: skeet shooting, horseback riding, golf, mountain biking, archery, platform tennis, and hiking. From the riding trails and serene pastures to the nearby granite mountains and river, Snake River Sporting Club is a gentle reminder that the Old West never went anywhere, and it’s as popular as ever.
Hong Kong’s government said it would upgrade 15 countries including the United States, Spain and France to “high risk” from “medium risk” by August 20, meaning international arrivals from those countries will face lengthened quarantine.
The government said arrivals from Bangladesh, Cambodia, France, Greece, Iran, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States would all face the new restrictions.
Hong Kong has some of the most stringent coronavirus entry requirements globally, with arrivals from countries considered “high risk” mandated to undergo compulsory quarantine for 21 days in a designated quarantine hotel, even if they have been vaccinated.
Countries including Brazil, India, and the United Kingdom had already been classified as “high risk”, but the government had largely relaxed measures for travellers from most other countries, prompting hope of increased international travel for residents and a greater number of foreign visitors.
This wasn’t how the school year was supposed to begin.
The Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest in the nation, and several other districts in California return to in-person classes today. But the relief and joy of this much-anticipated moment has, for many, been eclipsed by uncertainty and anxiety.
Amid an alarming rise in coronavirus cases nationwide, schools in Texas, Arizona and elsewhere have already had to close this month because of outbreaks, heightening fears among parents in California. In one county in the Atlanta suburbs, more than 700 students and employees tested positive for the virus in just the first two weeks of school, my colleagues report.
But experts say that though reopening does increase the risks of transmission, California classrooms will be among the safest in the nation. Here, masks are required and teachers must be vaccinated against the virus.
“We’re not seeing outbreaks when people are following the guidelines,” said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at Stanford Medicine and chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases. “When people point out, ‘Look at this outbreak’ in this school or that school, it’s almost exclusively because they’re not wearing masks.”
Still, the reopening of schools comes at an unfortunate time. The highly contagious Delta variant is spreading widely in the U.S., and vaccines haven’t been approved for children under 12, leaving them especially vulnerable to infection.
But there are ways to help keep children safe. Experts told me that layering multiple safety measures can provide strong protection, a strategy sometimes called the Swiss cheese model.
“We have learned that in-person education is not something we can replace with virtual learning,” Dr. Neha Nanda, medical director of infection prevention at Keck Medicine of U.S.C., told me. “So, logically speaking, when we open, we want to make sure we have all — and I mean all, all, all — mitigation strategies in place.”
This is what works to prevent spread in schools, according to the experts:
The most important tool is vaccination. Anyone who can get their shots should, as it will protect them and people around them who aren’t yet eligible.
Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom mandated that all teachers and school staff members be vaccinated against the virus or submit to weekly testing. On Friday, L.A.U.S.D. officials took that further, requiring vaccinations by Oct. 15 for anyone who sets foot on campus.
Masking is also key. Whether a KN95 or a three-layer cloth mask, it needs to fit snugly.
A test to check whether it fits properly: If you wear glasses and they fog up while you’re wearing your mask, the seal isn’t tight enough.
Other effective methods for reducing spread: regular testing, ventilation, staggered lunches and physical distancing.
Many California districts are not requiring physical distancing inside the classroom because of space constraints. Experts say that masking and vaccinations reduce the need for distancing, but leaving space between students can further reduce chances of transmission.
Does Delta make children sicker?
A rising number of children hospitalized with Covid-19 nationwide has raised concerns that the Delta variant is particularly severe for that age group.
But in California, the approximately 18 children and teens being hospitalized daily with Covid-19 is lower than the 29 per day that were hospitalized during the winter surge, The Los Angeles Times reported.
The numbers suggest that what’s driving the record number of pediatric hospitalizations elsewhere is the sheer volume of people falling ill, experts told me.
Florida, Arkansas and other states with hospitals inundated with pediatric Covid-19 patients also have far worse overall outbreaks than California.
“The game-changer of Delta has really been this increased transmissibility,” said Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, infectious disease expert at the University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health. “So it’s just that more children, more adults are coming down with the disease.” He added that it’s “not really that it’s necessarily that much more severe in children.”
The Biden administration is developing a plan to start offering booster shots to Americans as soon as the fall, my colleagues report. The first doses are likely to go to nursing home residents, health care workers and the elderly.
All of the 100 biggest school districts in the U.S. are fully reopening, but their safety precautions vary widely. Read more.
Doctors say that children who have mild or even asymptomatic infections may experience long Covid, a syndrome that can include potentially debilitating issues that disrupt their schooling, sleep, extracurricular activities and other aspects of life.
The father of an elementary school student in a town about 50 miles from Sacramento is accused of attacking a teacher because he didn’t want his daughter to wear a mask, BuzzFeed News reports.
Where we’re traveling
Today’s California travel tip comes from Sri Muppidi, a reader who lives in the Bay Area. Sri writes:
I’ve been a lifelong resident of the Bay Area, and a fun spot to visit is the Garden of Eden in Santa Cruz. The Garden of Eden is a small swimming hole near Henry Cowell Redwood State Park in the Santa Cruz mountains. You walk by railroad tracks on the way to get there, and the water is perfect for swimming on a hot summer day. There’s even a rope swing to jump into the swimming hole. My friends and I used to come out here when we went camping or hung out in Santa Cruz.
Tell us about the best spots to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
Whether you’re a parent, teacher or student, I’d love to hear from you about the first day of school.
Please send me a few sentences about your (or your child’s) return to the classroom, including your name, school, age and grade, if appropriate. Your response may be published in an upcoming edition of the newsletter.
Joy, anger, fear, boredom — I want to hear it all. Email me at CAtoday@nytimes.com.
And before you go, some good news
For those of you in the Los Angeles area, the Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival is back, with showings of “The Tempest” through Sept. 5. Get tickets here.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Greenish-brown eye color (5 letters).
Miles McKinley and Mariel Wamsley contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.
The interviews and documents, many of them previously unpublished, show how the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump hid the truth for two decades: They were slowly losing a war that Americans once overwhelmingly supported. Instead, political and military leaders chose to bury their mistakes and let the war drift, culminating in President Biden’s decision this year to withdraw from Afghanistan, with the Taliban more powerful than at any point since the 2001 invasion.