Coronavirus live blog, Dec. 26, 2020: Illinois reports 5,742 new COVID-19 cases, 156 deaths

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Here’s Thursday’s news on how COVID-19 is impacting Chicago and Illinois. Follow here for live updates. Here’s what happened Saturday in coronavirus-related news.

News
Dec. 25, 3:02 p.m. Illinois records 5,742 new COVID-19 cases, another 156 deaths

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

Another 5,742 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Illinois, state health officials announced Christmas Day, the second lowest daily caseload for the state since late October but still more than double the worst days in the summer.
An additional 156 deaths were also reported Friday — including two Cook County men in their 40s and a DuPage woman in her 100s — bringing the state’s pandemic death toll to 15,799. There have been 930,849 confirmed cases in Illinois so far.
As daily case totals have started to fall in recent weeks, a subsequent decrease in deaths is beginning to follow. The state’s rolling average daily death rate stands at 112, down from 138 a week ago. A total of 3,521 people have died of the coronavirus in Illinois this month alone, an average of 140 per day. There were about 2,500 deaths in all of November, about 80 per day.
Here’s the full story…

Dec. 24, 6:22 p.m. In the time of COVID-19, Kwanzaa goes virtual

Sun-Times file

In any other year, Kwanzaa events would be packed with performances and workshops.
But 2020 is not just any year, and this year’s Kwanzaa events will be virtual, if they are happening at all. The celebration started by Black Americans to celebrate African culture and heritage, starts Saturday, and runs through Jan. 1.
“Every year around Kwanzaa I see the same people in the city of Chicago and it’s like a family reunion every time,” said D’Sheadra Benford, a volunteer consultant with the Africa International House, a nonprofit organization that serves as a center to expose and educate people to the individual works and collective contributions of African cultures.
In solidarity, Benford says she and a group of close friends would go from one Kwanzaa event to the next to support them all. “It’s really us just trying to make sure that people have the opportunity to enjoy life and culture together,” she said.
Each day commemorates one of seven principles: unity, self determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. A different candle of the kinara is lit every day.
Grace Asiegbu has the full story…

New Cases
Illinois public health officials reported 5,742 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed among 98,958 tests.

Analysis & Commentary
Dec. 25, 5 a.m. She loved kids, and kids loved her, but COVID-19 ended her teaching dreams
For the families of COVID-19 victims, the heartbreak of losing a loved one is often compounded by the pain of not knowing how they contracted the virus.
The Alonzo family of Gage Park is finding it doubly difficult.
On the day before she was hospitalized, Raquel Alonzo worked from home as usual, serving as a translator for online parent-teacher conferences at the charter school where she taught.
Alonzo, 34, had felt tired the previous few days and had started coughing that morning, but her father Rafael, 72, had been suffering similar symptoms, and the family just thought she was coming down with a cold.
It made no sense to the Alonzos that it could be anything more serious because they had been taking extreme precautions against the coronavirus for months, rarely venturing outside their multigenerational family household.
Read Mark Brown’s full column here…

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