The bombshell news about President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump testing positive for coronavirus arrived on the heels of a particularly deadly month for COVID-19 in central Illinois.
Peoria, Woodford and Tazewell counties saw 32 deaths in September, more than a third of the total number of COVID-19 deaths the area has seen this year. October is starting out at a higher rate, with five deaths reported in the first two days of the month. As of Friday, there have been a total of 87 coronavirus deaths reported in the Tri-County area.
During a press briefing, local health officials said that because it can take a long time for COVID-19 patients to succumb to the illness, this does not mean the virus has become more deadly.
"These are individuals who have been fighting the virus for a long time," said Dr. Samer Sader of UnityPoint Health.
Coronavirus in Illinois
Statewide, 28 Illinois counties have been placed at a warning level for COVID-19, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Illinois Department of Public Health also announced on Friday another 47 virus-related deaths — the highest daily number since June 24, when there were 63.
The state has now reported 297,646 confirmed cases, including 8,743 deaths, among more than 5.7 million test results reported since the pandemic began.
Defiance of Illinois governor in Rockford?
More than 100 people packed into a banquet room Thursday for what was billed as an informational meeting for operators of Rockford-area bars and restaurants whose businesses are being threatened by new COVID-19 mitigation rules.
What they got was an hour and a half presentation, advising them that they are under no legal obligation to cease indoor food and beverage sales.
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker responded Friday saying the Illinois State Police will be in the Rockford region this weekend enforcing public health rules. He urged businesses to follow the new restrictions.
Read more from the Rockford Register Star.
President Trump hospitalized
President Trump is not the first world leader to get sick from COVID-19. British Prime Miniser Boris Johnson, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Juan Orlando Hernandez, president of Honduras, are among the government leaders and officials who have been sickened by the virus. Many are now sending Trump wishes for a speedy recovery, according to The Associated Press.
At 74, Trump is the oldest head of state to become infected with COVID-19, an age that puts him at higher risk for serious complications.
Do I have COVID-19 antibodies? Probably not
A new study published in the Lancet suggests that fewer than 1 in 10 Americans have had the novel coronavirus as of late July, and that most of us are still vulnerable to infection.
The proportion is an estimate based on the percentage of dialysis patients whose immune systems produced COVID-19 antibodies. Combined with similar studies, it’s evident that the majority of Americans are probably not carrying the antibodies to protect them from infection, according to The Washington Post.
Feeling sick? Stay home
Everyone has heard the old mantra before, but apparently some folks are having trouble with the concept.
Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson stressed the importance of self-isolation, particularly while waiting for test results.
"If you decide to get tested, you need to isolate yourself from others. This means that you don’t attend work, you don’t attend school, you don’t go to social gatherings. You stay away from others until you get your test results," Hendrickson said. "To give you an example, we recently did contact tracing for an individual who did not isolate while waiting for their results, and subsequently exposed 40 other individuals. This could have been prevented."
Leslie Renken can be reached at 270-8503 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter.com/LeslieRenken, and subscribe to her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken.
Information from the Washington Post, the Lancet, the Chicago Tribune, Capitol News Illinois and the Associated Press was used to compile this report.