Coronavirus Live Blog, April 15: Chicago to use federal relief funds to pay off some of the city’s debt


6 p.m. Chicago to use more than half of $ 1.9 billion in federal relief to reduce city debt

A view from the 360 ​​Chicago Observation Deck shows the city skyline.
Scott Olson / Getty Images

More than half of the avalanche of $ 1.9 billion in federal aid en route to Chicago will be swallowed up by the withdrawal of $ 965 million in on-the-fly borrowing used to eliminate the pandemic-induced deficit, have declared Wednesday of the aldermen.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned aldermen to keep their wish lists in their back pockets as the money will come with strings attached and it is “not a slush fund that we can use in any way we can.”

On Wednesday, the main deputies of the mayor explained why.

About half of the $ 1.9 billion in new federal funds allocated to Chicago will be used to honor the mayor’s pledge before city council approves its $ 12.8 billion budget by the narrowest margin Chicago has known since Council Wars.

This promise: cancel the one-off loan which was one of the most controversial elements of its 2021 budget.

Read the full story of Fran Spielman here.

12:38 p.m. What is a COVID-19 vaccine passport and will you need it?

What is a COVID-19 vaccine passport and will I need it?

“Vaccine passports” or vaccine certificates are documents that show that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or that you have recently tested negative for the virus. They could help you get into places like stadiums or even countries looking to reopen safely.

Certificates are still under development, and how and if they will be used can vary widely across the world. Experts say they should be free and available in print, not just apps, because not everyone has a smartphone.

In the United States, federal officials say there are no plans to make them widely mandatory. In some states, Republican governors have issued orders prohibiting businesses or public bodies from requiring people to show proof of vaccination.

Read the full story here.

11:31 am The CPS and the CTU “at the finish line” in the negotiations to reopen the school, according to the union leaders

Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union are “at the finish line” of an agreement to reopen high schools in hopes of reaching a deal on Thursday, union leaders said.

Thousands of high school teachers are still working remotely, in defiance of district orders to return to classrooms this week. Thursday was the second day of CTU’s class action, which aims to pressure the CPS to put the finishing touches on a settlement.

Mueze Bawany, an English and history teacher at Roberto Clemente Community Academy and a member of the union’s high school bargaining committee, said the two sides were “close on all” issues.

“The point is, we are at the finish line,” Bawany told reporters at a press conference Thursday morning outside the Benito Juarez Community Academy, where educators settled down to teach their children. students online outside the building instead of showing up to work inside.

“There is certainly progress being made. It’s a whole different world when both sides listen to each other [and] it is clear that the district is starting to understand some of the perspectives and points that we are bringing.

Read Nader Issa’s full story here.

8:23 am Senate Majority Leader Lightford tests positive for COVID-19 – plans to work from home despite “a lot of pain”

State Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford said on Wednesday she had tested positive for COVID-19, forcing her to leave the Capitol and return to her suburban western home.

In a brief telephone conversation with the Chicago Sun-Times, Lightford said she had left Springfield, where lawmakers meet for a session, and will join committee meetings from her home via Zoom.

The Maywood Democrat said after testing positive she “was in terrible pain.”

Lightford is the third person linked to the state government known to have contracted the virus this week.

Read Rachel Hinton’s full story here.

7 am Pritzker “has no worries” 20 days after receiving his vaccine against Johnson & Johnson

Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times

Federal health officials who recommended suspending the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday did so just under three weeks after the single blow entered the left arm of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.

This means the state’s chief executive of pandemic response is still within the three-week window experts have highlighted since six women were vaccinated. suffered from serious complications from blood clots within this time frame.

But like the overwhelming majority of the 6.8 million Americans who received the J&J jab, JB had no problem, according to his office.

“The governor has no concerns after receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, and he has not had any health problems since receiving his vaccine,” said Pritzker’s press secretary Jordan Abudayyeh , in an email.

Pritzker is among more than 290,000 Illinois residents who received the vaccine now being reviewed before it was suspended. None of the six serious reactions occurred in the state.

Read Mitchell Armentrout’s full story here.

New cases and vaccination numbers

  • About a quarter of Illinois residents have been fully vaccinated so far, with 138,538 doses administered on Tuesday. The state also reported 3,536 new cases and 31 additional deaths.

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