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McCormick Place Gets Hospital Beds; Deaths Include Inmate

By Saturday, officials expect 500 hospital beds to be in place at a converted McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago to deal with the overflow of COVID-19 patients. The massive facility off Lakeshore Drive is expected by mid-April to have up to 3,000 beds, including ICU units, to deal, if needed with COVID-19 cases. There are now more than 5,000 cases statewide, most in the Chicago metropolitan area. Gov. J.B Pritzker announced the progress in his daily press briefing on Monday. “If we...

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Coronavirus Updates in Springfield And Central Illinois

This post is for news on local response to the virus in Springfield and Central Illinois.

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Illinois Artists Hurt And Heal During Coronavirus Pandemic

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Facebook Group Unites Springfield Online During COVID-19 Isolation

As Illinoisans continue to practice self-isolation, a Springfield Facebook group is bringing the community together online.

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Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

Shortages Keep COVID-19 Testing Limited In Illinois

The Sangamon County Department of Public Health is asking residents to call its hotline if they think they’ve been exposed to COVID-19. But because testing is still limited by lack of supply, calling the line is no guarantee of finding out whether you actually have the disease.

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When infectious pathogens have threatened the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been front and center. During the H1N1 flu of 2009, the Ebola crisis in 2014, and the mosquito-borne outbreak of Zika in 2015, the CDC has led the federal response.

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So far, the coronavirus has hit hardest in wealthy countries. But the pandemic now appears poised to explode in many parts of the developing world — which has far fewer resources to combat the virus.

The virus initially traveled outward from China to places that had the most interaction with China. These are the richer parts of East Asia — South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore — along with Europe and the United States. All these countries had lots of flights, business dealings and tourism with China.

"Entirely Different Stars," from Lukas Nelson's newest album, Naked Garden, is a song many people might relate to right about now. It's a fantasy about grabbing that special someone and blasting off to a less troubled planet.

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are relying more heavily on automated systems to flag content that violate their rules, as tech workers were sent home to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Children's author and illustrator Tomie DePaola has died Monday following a fall. Among his classics is the Caldecott winner Strega Nona, which was a tale of a witch, her assistant and a magic pot.


FDA OK's Addition To Stockpile Of Malaria Drugs For COVID-19

Over the weekend, the Food and Drug Administration granted two malaria drugs "emergency use authorization" for the treatment of COVID-19. The move makes it easier to add the medicines to the strategic stockpile, which can be drawn upon in the current public health emergency. The drugs — chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine — have been identified as potential COVID-19 treatments based on lab tests and small, limited studies in humans. But gold standard clinical trials in the United States only...

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Analysis & commentary on the events that made news this past week in Illinois state government & politics.

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Arts & Life

The beloved children's author and illustrator Tomie dePaola, whose imaginative and warm-hearted work crossed generations and continents, died Monday at age 85. His death was announced, without details, on social media by his assistant, Bob Hechtel.

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Education Desk

A 174 year old educational institution in the area will soon close its doors permanently. 

The board of MacMurray College in Jacksonville voted unanimously Friday to shut down at the end of the spring semester in May.

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Equity & Justice


Illinois domestic violence shelters have not received as many calls in recent days perhaps because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But that’s likely to change.

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Illinois Economy

Olivia Mitchell / NPR Illinois

Those in the real estate industry were hoping for a competitive and prosperous housing market during the spring season, but the rapid spread of COVID-19 put a pause on their plans. One broker offered advice to the industry on what it should be doing through the pandemic.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads and the number of confirmed cases and deaths in Illinois increases, the state faces a growing medical, social, and economic crisis.  Governor J.B. Pritzker is urging people to abide by his "Stay at Home" order and calling on the federal government for more help.

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During his coronavirus task force briefing Monday evening, President Trump repeated his claim that the United States has done "more tests by far than any country in the world."

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

President Trump warned Americans on Monday to prepare for more disruption and death as he and other authorities extended mitigation procedures for several more weeks amid the widening coronavirus disaster.

Trump acknowledged on Sunday that his goal for a return to normalcy by Easter won't happen, and he extended the federal guidelines for social distancing and mitigation to April 30. He said on Monday that the pandemic will take longer than he hoped to abate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said House members are in the information-gathering stage of a fourth coronavirus response bill, but it could be several weeks before the lower chamber takes up the legislation.

Pelosi also said she would not be tested for the virus, even after a member who attended events with her on Friday is presumed to have a coronavirus infection.

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This morning, the Navy hospital ship called Comfort arrived in New York Harbor. Mayor Bill de Blasio praised its arrival as a morale booster for New Yorkers, a clear sign that relief is on the way.

Over the years, the federal government has spent trillions of dollars more than it brings in, racking up big deficits even in good times, when it ought to be paring debt down.

Now, as it struggles to repair the damage from the coronavirus epidemic, it's getting ready to spend trillions more, pushing up this year's deficit above $3 trillion.

"It's mind-boggling. I never contemplated this," says Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, who headed the Congressional Budget Office under President George W. Bush.


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Jason Isbell's Advice For Staying Sane During A Pandemic

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. Who: Jason Isbell Where: Nashville, Tenn. Recommendation: Happy People: A Year In The Taiga I've found great comfort and entertainment in the Werner Herzog and Dmitry Vasyukov-directed documentary Happy People: A Year In The Taiga . The 2010 film documents the lives of fur trappers in the Bakhta village in Siberia....

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A New Piano Concerto For The People

Sometimes old recipes, newly tweaked, can yield astonishing results. Consider the concerto: It might be a 400-year-old formula, calling for a soloist to perform with — and often battle against — an orchestra. But occasionally, a brand new concerto arrives that offers old-fashioned thrills. The Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by the redoubtable British composer Thomas Adès relies on some of the old ingredients, but punches through with enough sparkling opulence and irrepressible delight to...

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