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COVID-19 in Illinois: 7,214 New Cases, 103 Additional Deaths

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J.B. Pritzker talks Monday, Dec. 14, 2020 during the state’s daily COVID-19 briefing. (WTTW News)

“Today is a very special day that should instill us all with optimism and hope,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday as the state received an initial shipment of about 43,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer. 

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In this Nov. 25, 2020, file photo, travelers wait to check-in for their flights ahead of Thanksgiving at LaGuardia Airport, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo / John Minchillo, File)

Across the country, contact tracers and emergency room doctors are hearing repeatedly from new coronavirus patients that they socialized over Thanksgiving with people outside their households.

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Corritta Lewis, center, and her wife Mea pose with their son Caleb, 2, in Oceanside, Calif., on Dec. 4, 2020. (Corritta Lewis via AP)

Though Thanksgiving pleas to stay put were ignored by thousands, many around the world are gleefully looking forward to spending the December holidays at home without the expense, drama and travel headaches they normally endure.

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COVID-19 in Illinois: 8,256 New Cases, 179 Additional Deaths

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Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike speaks Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020 during the state’s daily COVID-19 press briefing. (WTTW News)

“I urge people to postpone the normal ways that you’re used to celebrating. We are advising people to postpone travel during the holidays,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Wednesday.

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(RJA1988 / Pixabay)

Hanukkah and Christmas are held during some of the shortest days of the year — meaning, they’re also the darkest. But these holidays offer light through menorahs and advent candles, and now, the glow of a computer screen.

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“Cherry” by artist Sung-Hee Min is on display at 1701 W. North Ave. (Ariel Parrella-Aureli / WTTW News)

Six new works on display as part of the Chicago Sculpture Exhibit aim to get community members outside to explore the area and support local businesses as winter sets in amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Volunteers load up cars in Washington Park as part of the third annual Be Part of the Light event Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. (Ariel Parrella-Aureli / WTTW News)

More than 500 volunteers participated in the kickoff event for My Block My Hood My City’s third annual Be Part of the Light event, which aims to decorate a 12-mile stretch of King Drive on the city’s South Side.

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Holiday travelers check in at kiosks near an airline counter at Orlando International Airport Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo / John Raoux)

Coronavirus infections across the U.S. continue to rise as the country moves deeper into a holiday season when eagerly anticipated gatherings of family and friends could push the numbers even higher and overwhelm hospitals.

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(Rick Bella / Pixabay)

Most brides and grooms-to-be have had to scale back wedding plans as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. But Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis of Chicago had an idea to pivot their wedding celebrations to something even better.

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In this Nov. 25, 2020, file photo, air travelers line up to go through a a security checkpoint at Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo / Rick Bowmer, File)

The nation’s unwillingness to tamp down on travel offered a warning in advance of Christmas and New Year’s as virus deaths and hospitalizations hit new highs a week after Thanksgiving.

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Riders won't be able to board the Holiday Train, but Santa's still coming. (Courtesy of Chicago Transit Authority)

The Holiday Train’s appearances are more spontaneous than in recent years, with no tracker available. That’s left some folks feeling cranky. 

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Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Kurt Elling said he’s played the storied venue so much, he’s able to imagine a live audience during his virtual performances.

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(WTTW News)

Medical professionals in Chicago and across the country are braced for a fresh surge of coronavirus cases after millions of Americans ignored advice not to travel or gather over the Thanksgiving holiday. Dr. Emily Landon, an infectious disease specialist at UChicago Medicine, weighs in.

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(WTTW News via CNN)

The coronavirus pandemic is driving holiday shoppers in the U.S. online — and they’re expected to spend a record $12.7 billion on Cyber Monday. Crain’s Chicago Business reporter Danny Ecker has details.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a news conference with the coronavirus task force at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh)

The nation’s top infectious disease expert said Sunday that the U.S. may see “surge upon a surge” of the coronavirus in the weeks after Thanksgiving.

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Shoppers pass an Indigo Friday 40% Off sign Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020, on Chicago’s famed Magnificent Mile shopping district. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast)

Black Friday online sales hit a new record this year as pandemic-wary Americans filled virtual carts instead of real ones.