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State Week: COVID Variant Concerns; Biden Visits Illinois

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In a year that has seen the mass rollout of the vaccine and a reopening of the economy, there remain concerns about the pandemic and whether a more contagious variant could result in a setback. Illinois is making efforts to get more people vaccinated, but rates remain low in some parts of the state and state agencies.

Also, President Joe Biden made a stop in Illinois to push his American Families Plan. He also spoke with Chicago's mayor, as her city struggles with gun violence.

And, it's never too soon to talk politics. We'll get an update on next year's race to become Secretary of State.

Rachel Hinton of the Chicago Sun-Times joins the regular panel featuring Sean Crawford, Hannah Meisel and Charlie Wheeler.

The former director of the Public Affairs Reporting (PAR) graduate program is Professor Charles N. Wheeler III, a veteran newsman who came to the University of Illinois at Springfield following a 24-year career at the Chicago Sun-Times.
Hannah covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois and Illinois Public Radio. She's been dedicated to the statehouse beat since interning at NPR Illinois in 2014, with subsequent stops at outlets including WILL-AM/FM, Law360, The Daily Line and a temporary stint at political blog Capitol Fax before returning to the station in 2020.
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