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COVID-19: News Briefs and Busted Myths

Updates about the coronavirus outbreak, from local initiatives to global controversies.

By Featured, News

Illustration by Cat Cao.

News from Chicago:

Restaurants across the city are closed for dine-in service until at least March 30th, but you can still support your local business owners and food service workers by ordering takeout! Visit for a list of restaurants that are still open and a range of options for delivery, takeout, gift cards, and fundraisers for employees. 

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Illinois Restaurant Association are working on a relief package for Chicago restaurant owners employees, Chicago Sun Times reports. At this point, the relief package is said to be used for restaurant owners to continue distributing payroll so that employees can afford their monthly payments like mortgages, rent, and utilities fees. F will continue to report on the relief package as the story develops.

Lightfoot said that she has no plans to shut down the CTA, CBS Chicago reports. CTA, Pace and Metra services are taking measures to keep surfaces clean and providing sanitation materials for riders, many of whom work essential jobs in health and public services.

Several grocery stores in the Chicago area are offering seniors-only shopping hours, NBC Chicago reports. Elgin Fresh Market, which has two locations in Elgin, a suburb west of Chicago, will allow only shoppers above the age of 65 and immunocompromised individuals to enter the store between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., Wednesday through Friday. Elgin Fresh Market is following in the footsteps of other grocery stores around the country that are doing their part to minimize the risk for elderly and immunocompromised shoppers. 

Tipped workers can access an emergency supply of cash through the One Fair Wage campaign, CBS Chicago reports. Eligible workers will go through a phone screening process and could receive over $200 of emergency cash relief. For more information, visit

A Few Busted Myths

  • Toilet paper: Despite the general public’s efforts to stockpile enough toilet paper to last for months, the U.S. toilet paper manufacturing supply chain remains healthy. [LA Times]
  • A pandemic foretold? A viral image set of text from Dean Koontz’s 1981 novel “The Eyes of Darkness” is sparking claims that the novelist predicted the new coronavirus outbreak. Koontz’s fictional virus emerged in Wuhan, China, but it doesn’t have anything else in common with the current pandemic. [The Guardian]
  • Avoiding Advil: France’s minister of health released a statement claiming that NSAIDs like Ibuprofen will worsen coronavirus patients’ symptoms, followed by a slew of headlines that both support and dispute the claim. But experts seem to believe that fever reducers should be taken on more of a case by case basis — if the fever is dangerously high, then taking a dose of NSAIDs may be wise. But for the bulk of the illness, patients with fevers should allow their temperature to remain above average as their body fights the virus. [The New York Times]

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