Stories by Paul Caine

Northwestern Infectious Disease Expert Rips National Response to Pandemic

“I have done a phenomenal job with it,” President Donald Trump says of his response to COVID-19 at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday, June 20, 2020. (WTTW News via CNN)

He is optimistic about the development of vaccines and treatments to slow the spread of COVID-19 but describes the national response to the virus as a “disgrace.” We speak with Dr. Robert Murphy of Northwestern University.

Lt. Gov. Stratton Urges Caution as Illinois Prepares to Enter Phase 4

Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Monday, June 22, 2020. (WTTW News)

Illinois is on track to move into phase four of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan on Friday, but the state faces a huge challenge in reviving its pandemic-stricken economy and putting people back to work.

Argonne Uses Supercomputer to Model Coronavirus Spread in Chicago

The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. (Image courtesy Argonne National Laboratory)

Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have created the most detailed simulation that exists to model the spread of COVID-19 in Chicago — and what it shows is sobering.

Study: Black Families Have 1 Cent for Every Dollar White Families Have

(WTTW News)

A new study from Northwestern University highlights the growing wealth gap between black and white families. 

Illinois Hair Salons Prepare to Open Friday, But Not in Chicago

(Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash)

On Friday, all salons and barbershops in the state — except those in Chicago — will be allowed to reopen as part of phase three of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan. What will the new salon experience be like?

Health Inequality Plus Coronavirus Creates Perfect Storm in Chicago’s Black Community

The Rev. Marshall Hatch joins “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom for a conversation on Monday, April 13, 2020. (WTTW News)

Black Chicagoans are almost six times more likely to die from the new coronavirus than white residents, according to state and city health officials. We talk about the city’s ongoing health disparities with the Rev. Marshall Hatch of New Mount Pilgrim Church.

General Iron Now Links Pollution Control Equipment to Explosions

General Iron’s metal-shredding operation in Lincoln Park. (WTTW News)

General Iron Industries believes that two explosions at its scrap metal-shredding facility that shook Lincoln Park on Monday were connected to a new piece of pollution control equipment installed last year.

Adler Planetarium Lays Off 120 Employees

(Adler Planetarium / Facebook)

A day after celebrating its 90th birthday, the Adler Planetarium laid off 120 part-time and full-time employees. The “difficult decision” was made “in order to help the Adler survive,” spokesperson Jennifer Howell said in a statement to WTTW News. 

State Lawmakers at Odds Over Gov. Pritzker’s Recovery Plan

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s recently unveiled five-phase plan to gradually reopen the state is already getting pushback. Joining us to share their views are state Reps. Deanne Mazzochi, a Republican, and Mike Zalewski, a Democrat.

Pandemic Creates Hard Choices for Low-Income Essential Workers

(WTTW News)

The pandemic has laid bare how existing inequalities can magnify the impact of the virus on low-income workers, who are disproportionately women and people of color. And now, many of those workers are being designated as essential.

Cook County Jail’s Response to COVID-19 Could Spur Far-Reaching Bail Reform

(WTTW News)

A look at what’s being done at Cook County Jail to keep people safe and the pandemic’s impact on the criminal justice system. Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli and State’s Attorney Kim Foxx join us.

Infectious Disease Expert Says CDC Limits on Early Testing Likely ‘A Big Mistake’

Dr. Emily Landon of UChicago Medicine joins “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Monday, April 27, 2020. (WTTW News)

Dr. Emily Landon’s job is to prepare for outbreaks like COVID-19. She joins us to discuss the effectiveness of testing and the statewide stay-at-home order.

Earth Day Turns 50 But Celebrations Muted by COVID-19 Pandemic

(Daniel Dionne / Flickr)

We discuss the history of Earth Day and the environmental challenges the planet is facing today with Denis Hayes, the organizer of the very first event in 1970, and local environmental activist Kim Wasserman.

Congress Expected to Replenish Paycheck Protection Fund This Week

A small business in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on April 7, 2020. (WTTW News)

A new bill to replenish a multibillion-dollar fund aimed at helping small businesses keep workers on the payroll failed to materialize Monday. We get a status check on the Paycheck Protection Program.

Argonne Scientists Enlisted in Fight Against COVID-19

The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. (Image courtesy Argonne National Laboratory)

Scientists and engineers across the planet are desperately searching for ways to combat the new coronavirus. A significant part of that effort is taking place just west of Chicago.

CPS Chief Education Officer Spells Out Goals for Remote Learning Plan

Chicago Public Schools Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade speaks via Zoom with “Chicago Tonight” on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. (WTTW News)

This week, Chicago Public Schools families are learning a new lesson: how remote learning works. We check in on the district’s remote learning plan with LaTanya McDade, CPS chief education officer.

West Ridge Leads City in Virus Cases, But Black Communities Disproportionately Impacted

A map displays data confirmed cases of COVID-19 by zip code. (Illinois Department of Public Health)

The West Ridge neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city, but a cluster of zip codes on the South Side are not far behind, according to newly released data.

Right-wing Terrorists Looking to ‘Weaponize’ Pandemic, Says U of C Expert

An overcrowded hospital in Brooklyn deals with COVID-19 cases. (WTTW News via CNN)

Could hospitals and supermarkets become targets for terror groups looking to exploit the pandemic to advance their racist agenda? We speak with international terrorism expert Robert Pape.

Illinois Hospitals Strained But Largely Coping Ahead of Anticipated COVID-19 Surge

An emergency room at a New York hospital deals with coronavirus cases. (WTTW News via CNN)

With cases of COVID-19 expected to peak in Illinois later this month, are hospitals and health care workers in the state going to have what they need when they really need it?

Environmental Impact of COVID-19 Lockdowns Seen from Space

Side-by-side comparisons show a decrease in nitrogen dioxide over France. (Credit: European Space Agency)

It’s estimated that roughly two billion people around the globe are now under some form of stay-at-home order. This significant slowdown in economic activity has also led to an environmental impact, particularly in the air.

An Infectious Disease Expert Answers Your COVID-19 Questions

(WTTW News)

The spread of COVID-19 has sparked fear and apprehension — and misinformation can elevate those emotions. To help answer your questions about the new coronavirus, we turned to infectious disease specialist Dr. Susan Bleasdale of UI Health.

What the Federal Stimulus and Relief Bill Means for You and the Economy

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

The U.S. House is expected to pass a $2 trillion stimulus and relief package — the largest bailout in American history. But will it be enough to save workers and businesses ravaged by the virus?

Grocery Stores Battling to Keep Shelves Stocked Amid Panic-Buying

(WTTW News)

Panic-buying is taking hold of shoppers across the country. Already, toilet paper and hand sanitizer are flying off store shelves. How are grocery stores maintaining their supplies? And will their supply chains hold up under the strain of the crisis?

How Will Pritzker’s Stay-at-Home Order Be Enforced in Communities of Color?

(WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a stay-at-home order for the entire state just a few days ago, but there are already concerns over how it will be enforced – particularly in communities of color.

COVID-19 Pandemic a Massive Challenge to American Economy

(WTTW News)

Facing what could be the biggest challenge to the American economy since the Great Depression of the 1930s, Congress is now urgently trying put together a relief package to keep U.S. households afloat.