6,000 people daily can receive vaccinations at United Center starting March 10 (LIVE UPDATES)Sun-Times staffon February 26, 2021 at 5:32 pm

The United Center is set to become a mass COVID-19 vaccination site.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times file

Here’s the latest news on how COVID-19 impacted Chicago and Illinois.

The latest

6,000 people daily can receive vaccinations at United Center starting March 10

The United Center is set to become a mass COVID-19 vaccination site.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times file

A center of Chicago’s sports world will become a focal point of its pandemic response March 10 when a mass COVID-19 vaccination site will be launched at the United Center.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the site Friday with Mayor Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

“The United Center is one of the best locations for vaccinating large numbers of people in America: It’s easy to get to, is in the midst of a medically underserved community, can handle large crowds and is well known to everyone in Illinois,” Pritzker said in a statement. “Thanks to FEMA, the United Center is just our most recent among a growing number of state-supported mass vaccination location for residents.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to launch the site and begin giving out shots in about two weeks, White House COVID-19 Task Force senior adviser Andy Slavitt said during a separate news briefing.

It’ll have the capacity to vaccinate about 6,000 people per day, Slavitt said.

News of the state’s highest-profile vaccination site leaked Thursday. State Rep. La Shawn Ford, a Democrat whose 8th District includes portions of Chicago’s West Side, said appointments at the site will initially be limited to people over 65.

Read the full story by Mitchell Armentrout here.


10:40 a.m. How parents can manage kids’ screen time as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Jennifer Edwards’ two kids were on a limited screen-time budget. After they got home from school and through their after-school routine, they would get maybe an hour or two a day.

When the pandemic started, Edwards worked from home while the kids’ school was closed, eventually transitioning to online learning. Limits on screen time were tossed out.

Now, her kids’ schools have reopened, and they’ve returned to some of their normal routines. But Edwards, who lives in St. Augustine, Florida, says returning to those screen-time limits has “been like trying to put the toothpaste back in the bottle. The kids have gotten so used to being occupied by their screens that it is now a struggle to get them off the screens.”

COVID-19 led to school closings, which also meant disrupting after-school activities including team sports. Quarantining pushed parents working remotely to relax screen-time rules as they juggled jobs and their kids’ online schooling.

Read the full story here.

9:46 a.m. Biden marks 50M vaccine doses in first 5 weeks in office

Days after marking a solemn milestone in the pandemic, President Joe Biden is celebrating the pace of his efforts to end it.

On Thursday, Biden marked the administration of the 50 millionth dose of COVID-19 vaccine since his swearing-in. The moment came days after the nation reached the devastating milestone of 500,000 coronavirus deaths and ahead of a meeting with the nation’s governors on plans to speed the distribution even further.

“The more people get vaccinated, the faster we’re going to beat this pandemic,” Biden said at the White House ceremony, noting that his administration is on course to exceed his promise to deliver 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office.

“We’re halfway there: 50 million shots in 37 days,” Biden said. “That’s weeks ahead of schedule.”

Read the full story here.

9 a.m. Artist’s portraits capture our plague year

The mask.

We spend so much time complaining about wearing it, we might not have noticed how much the mask has come to define the past year, physically, emotionally and, yes, visually.

But Phil Gayter, artist and ad man, has noticed, and is painting a series of masked portraits.

“I decided to do a self-portrait, painting myself with bright yellow gloves and an N95 mask. That was the start,” said Gayter, who lives in Highland Park. “It was going to be a one-off. As the pandemic was setting in, I was spending more and more time at home, I had my daughter over, and I did a portrait of her in a mask.”

Artists tend to work in themes — blue periods, haystacks series and such. Gayter saw potential in the masked subject.

“All of a sudden I thought something’s going on here that I really, really like,” he said. “A coming together of myself as an artist and a business thinker, coming up with an idea that holds together. That’s what I do for my clients, create branded messages. The mask proved to be that point of distinction, allowing me to think of a collection of paintings that capture the moment, poignant yet whimsical.”

Keep reading Neil Steinberg’s column here.

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