Hopeful things / Tin Pandemic Alley / 'Disneyland for coronavirus'

OK, you’re down with the notions that COVID-19 means business and that you should stay home and keep your distance, so let’s start with some upbeat items and work our way … uh … down.

Hopeful things. Chicago-based Abbott calls its new coronavirus test—capable of producing results in minutes, not days—“a game-changer.” (Photo: Abbott.)
A company that produces and gathers data from its “smart thermometers” shows average temperatures dropping in every U.S. county.
Human vaccine trials begin imminently.

‘I love ’em.’ Mayor Lightfoot is cool with memes mocking her serious approach to Chicago’s coronavirus lockdown …
 … and she’s cut some funny videos of her own to stress her point.
Lightfoot’s awarding herself new power to move money around within the city budget to address the crisis.
The city is hosting webinars today to help small businesses tap into a $100 million emergency relief fund.
But what happens when apartment rents are due April 1?
Some Chicago street sweeping is back on.

For the children.
Chicago Public Schools plans to send homebound students 100,000 digital devices, including laptops and tablets.
Reading Rainbow and Star Trek veteran LeVar Burton will read to kids live online this afternoon at 5 Chicago time.
Dolly Parton is sharing bedtime stories Thursday nights at 6.
A Pulitzer-winning illustrator will offer an online cartoon workshop beginning tomorrow.
DC Comics is serving up at-home activities like coloring pages and drawing lessons.
You can order Girl Scout cookies online.

Tin Pandemic Alley.
The Chicago Civic Orchestra has marked its centennial with an online concert you can see for free.
Expat Chicago journalist Bill Paige shares his COVID-19 Blues.
Musician Reno Lovison has recast Chicago (That Toddlin’ Town) as Chicago (Don’t Spread It Around).
An Ohio elementary school principal has turned Ice Ice Baby into Six Feet Baby.
And don’t miss My Corona by Chris Mann.
The New York Times’ Nellie Bowles: “Coronavirus Ended the Screen-Time Debate. Screens Won.”

There’s an app for that. Apple has launched an app and website built in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help figure out if you’re infected and learn what to do if you are.
The Atlantic: A similar website built by a health insurance company closely tied to presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner was suddenly and mysteriously scrapped.
Gov. Pritzker says President Trump’s administration sent Illinois the wrong kind of protective masks …
 … which a growing body of thought suggests everyone should be wearing in public …
 … and the market for which is being consumed by a feeding frenzy.

Trump’s ‘no problem’ problem. The president told the nation’s governors yesterday that he hadn’t “heard about [COVID-19] testing in weeks,” suggesting he doesn’t perceive a shortage. Governors disagree.
Politico’s Jack Shafer: “The secret of Trump’s crisis-management is calculating down to the day and hour the exact time at which the crisis he fostered has become so immense so that it becomes a shared responsibility.” (Cartoon: Keith J. Taylor.)
Around the world, the pandemic is providing cover for governments seeking to suppress the opposition …
 … including the Trump administration …
 … which is also poised to slip in new rules that would gut ambitious Obama-era auto pollution standards.
Congress may be out of D.C. for at least a month.

‘Disneyland for coronavirus.’ A Cook County jail inmate released after becoming one of at least 134 there to have tested positive for COVID-19 tells the Sun-Times he thought he was going to die.
An inmate’s death from coronavirus at Illinois’ Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet is the first in an Illinois prison.
Stateville’s medical director says the staff has been “overwhelmed” caring for sick inmates.
More than 800 Chicago cops—about 6% of the department’s workforce—were out sick yesterday …
 … and at least 29 have tested positive for COVID-19.
A nuclear aircraft carrier captain is pleading with the Navy for help to avert death among more than 100 infected sailors onboard.
The virus has now claimed more American lives than were lost in the attacks of Sept. 11 …
 … and the director of the CDC warns the virus will be with the nation “for the next 24 months.”

Stuff doesn’t stop happening at Chicago Public Square’s 10 a.m. publication deadline. Catch updates around the clock on the Square Facebook page, where readers yesterday got heads-up on stories including these:
Macy’s will furlough most employees this week.
Cook County’s court curtailment continues.
WBEZ: “Michigan And Wisconsin Tell Chicago: ‘Stay At Your Homes.’
Motherboard:General Electric Workers Launch Protest, Demand to Make Ventilators.”

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Thanks to Karen Kring, Pam Spiegel and Mike Braden for making this edition better.

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