Here’s what’s happening Tuesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area

Jaime E. Love

Teachers may be able to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the coming months, news that comes as the Chicago Teachers Union is fighting a return to physical classrooms as the district returned to school on Monday. Because not everyone currently eligible to get the shots has taken them, Gov. J.B. […]

Teachers may be able to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the coming months, news that comes as the Chicago Teachers Union is fighting a return to physical classrooms as the district returned to school on Monday.

Because not everyone currently eligible to get the shots has taken them, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said those shots should be made available to the next round of 3.2 million eligible recipients in phase 1b — those 65 and older and those who are front-line essential workers. That category includes teachers and other school personnel.

City officials project educators could start receiving vaccine doses by late February or March — timing that union leaders say is worth waiting for before reopening schools. About 71% of teachers and 81% of paraprofessional staff expected back went to schools Monday, slightly higher than the percentage of teachers who did so last week, according to data provided by CPS. More than 500 teachers were missing. An additional 235 failed health screens.

Meanwhile, State health officials on Monday announced 4,776 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 53 additional fatalities, bringing the total number of known infections in Illinois to 1,033,526 and the statewide death toll to 17,627 since the start of the pandemic.

COVID-19 in Illinois by the numbers: Here’s a daily update on key metrics in your area

Illinois coronavirus graphs: The latest data on deaths, confirmed cases, tests and more

COVID-19 cases in Illinois by ZIP code: Search for your neighborhood

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Here’s what’s happening Tuesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:

7:20 a.m.: Don’t hold back second doses of COVID-19 vaccine, Trump administration tells states in bid to speed shots to vulnerable

The Trump administration is asking states to speed delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to people older than 65 and others at high risk by no longer holding back the second dose of the two-dose shots, officials said Tuesday.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that “the administration in the states has been too narrowly focused.”

As a result, he said, the Trump administration is now asking states to vaccinate people aged 65 and over and those under 65 with underlying health conditions. He said the vaccine production is such that the second dose of the two-shot vaccine can be released without jeopardizing immunization for those who got the first shot.

Read more here. —Associated Press

7 a.m.: Older Cook County residents hit by coronavirus economic downturn can use loan program to offset taxes

Older Cook County residents with lower incomes can use a state loan program administered by the county treasurer’s office to offset the cost of their property taxes, according to a news release from the office.

Homeowners with household income of less than $55,000 a year who will be 65 or older by June 1 can receive a 6% loan of $5,000 or less per year and pay off the loan when a house is sold, according to the release. The deadline to apply is March 1.

More information and applications for what’s know as the Senior Citizen Real Estate Tax Deferral Program are available at cookcountytreasurer.com. — Chicago Tribune staff

6 a.m.: Takeout 100 — the Tribune’s guide to Chicago’s best restaurants for pickup and delivery right now

Takeout, once an afterthought, something to grab on the way home from work, has become a lifeline to restaurants — and to us. With dining rooms closed since late October — and with no signs of opening soon — and outdoor seating limited by space, costs and winter, restaurants have stepped up their takeout game, and indeed have been doing so since March 2020. Full meals, DIY meal kits — complete with reheating directions and even playlists — and traditional a la carte, it’s all there, as close as your cellphone.

But sometimes, it’s hard to choose. Which is why the Tribune’s Food & Dining team has compiled a list of 100 Chicago-area restaurants and bars offering our favorite takeout dishes. Takeout 100 is searchable by ZIP code, address or town, and can be filtered for food type and price range.

Read more here. —Chicago Tribune dining staff

<mark class=”hl_blue”>In case you missed it</mark>

Here are some recent stories related to COVID-19.

Illinois to allow local health departments to start vaccinating those 65 and older, plus teachers and other essential workers.

As CPS schools reopen, district vows to “hold employees accountable who are not reporting to work” and will begin docking pay Tuesday.

A Lakeshore East developer is slicing the height, and one of two hotels, from a high-rise plan near Millennium Park after the pandemic has devastated the travel industry.

Water Tower Place faces its biggest challenge since the North Michigan Avenue mall opened.

Several gorillas test positive for coronavirus at San Diego park in what is believed to be the first known cases among such primates.

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