Stories by blair paddock

How the Omicron Variant is Affecting Young People

(WTTW News)

COVID-19 hospitalizations for children have reached a record high in Chicago. The city is currently seeing a daily average of about seven hospitalizations. Despite these numbers, some data suggest the omicron variant is causing a milder illness in kids.

City’s Top Doc Says Schools Remain Safe Despite COVID Surge

(WTTW News)

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said it’s rare for children to contract COVID-19 and hospitalizations are similar to that of the flu. “We don’t upend school, we don’t stop for influenza,” she said.

Local Doctor on Omicron Variant, Booster Eligibility and More

(WTTW News)

Dr. David Slade, associate medical director of infection prevention control at Loyola Medicine, discusses the latest research on the COVID-19 omicron variant, FDA’s authorization of boosters for teens and more.

Illinois Reports 30,386 New COVID Cases Thursday

the combination of the surge and the holidays have left people scrambling to find COVID tests. (WTTW News)

More than 5,600 people are hospitalized with COVID. And COVID patients are occupying 34% of the state’s ICU beds.

How COVID-19 Has Impacted CTA Ridership

The Urban Institute found that while downtown ridership decreased, neighborhoods with more Black and Latino residents saw more sustained ridership. (WTTW News)

In Chicago, neighborhoods with higher shares of residents of color retained far more ridership than predominantly white communities—and that trend was similar in other cities. 

Cook County Chief Judge Will Now Impose Vaccine Mandate for Employees

Chief Judge Timothy Evans announced Tuesday that his office — which covers the courts and the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center — will impose COVID vaccine mandates.  (WTTW News)

Chief Judge Timothy Evans announced Tuesday that his office — which covers the courts and the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center — will impose COVID vaccine mandates. This after the Chief Judge was criticized for previously not mandating the vaccine for all employees.

How to Safely Celebrate Holidays Amid the Latest COVID-19 Surge

(Image by vivienviv0 from Pixabay)

Holiday travel and gathering has begun. The Food and Drug Administration authorizes emergency use of Pfizer’s pill to treat COVID-19. A local physician weighs in on that and more.

James Webb Space Telescope Set to Launch Christmas Eve

The James Webb Space Telescope. (Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

NASA prepares to launch the most powerful space telescope ever. Local astronomers share some up-close details. 

Chicago Public Health Department Distributing Fentanyl Tests

A new effort is underway to help reduce the number of overdoses in Chicago— by distributing fentanyl test strips. (Courtesy Cook County Department of Public Health)

The city’s public health department has been distributing the tests since October to try and reduce the number of deaths due to the drug. The city has distributed somewhere between 14-1500 kits.

Controversy Over Permit for Facility on Southeast Side

An aerial shot of the newly constructed Southside Recycling, 11600 S. Burley Ave. (Courtesy of Reserve Management Group)

Citing investigations from the Environmental Protection Agency, local residents and activists say their neighborhood cannot withstand the pollution they believe the new Southside Recycling facility will bring.

Second Holiday Season With COVID-19: How Religious Leaders Are Celebrating

(RJA1988 / Pixabay)

This time last year, many people celebrated the holidays virtually, as the COVID-19 vaccine was not yet widely available. But this year, the faithful can plan some in-person gatherings to celebrate the holidays.

Harvey Mayor on Homicides: ‘There’s a Perception Harvey Isn’t a Safe Place to Live’

(ValynPi14 / Pixabay)

More than 1,000 homicides have been recorded in Cook County so far this year. In the suburbs, Harvey has seen the highest total of homicides with 30.

‘The Invisible Ones’ Radio Series Follows Cases of Missing Black Women

(Kristina Tripkovic / Unsplash)

Over the past 20 years, 51 Black women and girls have either gone missing or been found dead after disappearing in Chicago, according to WVON, which has produced a new five-part series featuring the stories of these victims’ family members and their efforts to find answers. 

Parlor Pizza Under Investigation by City: Block Club Chicago

(WTTW News)

Former Parlor Pizza employees say they were forced to work overtime without pay and under toxic working conditions, according to Block Club Chicago. The restaurant is now under investigation for possible labor and anti-discrimination violations.

Book Censorship Debate: Controversy Over ‘Gender Queer: A Memoir’

Last week, students and officials at a west suburban school district discussed whether the graphic novel should be kept in school libraries. What could that mean for educational freedom?

NPR Investigates Ties Between Police and Far-Right Groups

A far-right paramilitary organization has found success in recruiting law enforcement officers in America’s largest cities, according to an investigation from NPR that shows active officers in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago on membership rosters, with Chicago showing the greatest representation of the three. (WTTW News)

A far-right paramilitary organization has found success in recruiting law enforcement officers in America’s largest cities, according to an investigation from NPR that shows active officers in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago on membership rosters. 

Physicians, Children’s Hospitals Declare Youth Mental Health Emergency

(WTTW News)

Mental health challenges for children have reached a national emergency, according to several medical organizations representing 77,000 physicians and more than 200 children’s hospitals. “The pandemic has taken its toll in numerous ways,” said clinical psychologist Mashana Smith.

Chicago Tribune Looks Into City’s Lack of Public Bathrooms

A recent investigation by the Chicago Tribune found the city has failed to provide the public with easy, consistent access to free toilets, with scant information available about those that do exist. (WTTW News)

A recent investigation by the Chicago Tribune found the city has failed to provide the public with easy, consistent access to free toilets, with scant information available about those that do exist. As the story found, it’s not only a public health issue but a public safety one as well.

Logan Correctional Center Performances Seek to Raise Awareness of Domestic Violence

(Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash)

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Logan Correctional Center is putting together performances about gender-based violence. Twenty-one people will perform over Zoom and share their stories through poems, monologues and more. 

New Bill Would Reinstate Parole System in Illinois

Incarcerated people in Illinois haven’t had the ability to get onto parole since the ‘70s. But a bill in Springfield is working to bring it back. (WTTW News)

Incarcerated people in Illinois haven’t had the ability to get onto parole since the ‘70s. But a bill in Springfield is working to bring it back, providing parole hearings for inmates who’ve served at least 20 years in prison. 

The Atlantic Looks Inside Alden Global Capital

(Rebecca Palmore / WTTW News)

McKay Coppins, who did a deep dive into Alden Global Capital, shares his insights into the hedge fund that bought the Chicago Tribune.

‘Our Fair Share’ Advocates for Distributing Annual Funds to Americans

(WTTW News)

Discussion and debate over a recently released book that advocates for a “citizen dividend” that would give cash to Americans.

New Film Inspired By 1987 Hijacking of WTTW’s Airwaves

Harry Shum Jr. plays AV tech whiz James in “Broadcast Signal Intrusion” (Courtesy Dark Sky Films)

Longtime WTTW fans may remember that back in 1987, our airwaves were hijacked by an unknown TV “pirate.” Now nearly 34 years later, it’s inspired a new film playing Thursday at the Chicago International Film Festival.

Fifth Third Bank Invests $20M in South Chicago Neighborhood

(WTTW News)

The infusion comes on the heels of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Invest South-West Initiative, a three-year program aimed at investing $750 million in developments across 10 neighborhoods, including South Chicago.

What Coming Out Day Means to Latino LGBTQ Leaders

Julio Rodriguez of ALMA and David Ernesto Munar from Howard Brown Health join “Chicago Tonight: Latino Voices.” (WTTW News)

Monday marks National Coming Out Day— an annual awareness day aimed at supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. What do that awareness and support mean for leaders in the Latino LGBTQ community? We hear from Julio Rodriguez of ALMA and David Ernesto Munar from Howard Brown Health.

Study: City Sees Decline in Affordable Housing

Renters are finding fewer affordable homes and apartments as the city sees a decline in units. (WTTW News)

Renters are finding fewer affordable homes and apartments as the city sees a decline in units. A new study from DePaul University shows the city experienced a 5.2% decline in affordable rental units over the past decade.