Omicron’s here / AmazOops / Board (games) of education

Omicron’s here. Chicago has ID’d its first case of the hot new COVID-19 variant.

Your Local Epidemiologist columnist Katelyn Jetelina: New research “gives me great hope that our boosters will help protect against Omicron.”
Note that word boosters: Pfizer says just two doses seem not to be enough.
Illinois deaths from the coronavirus have reached their highest seven-day rolling average since February …
 … and experts tell Axios they expect a bad flu season on top of COVID.
 Matthew Yglesias at Slow Boring: “On dose-spacing, testing, and treatment recommendations, we’re behind the curve.”

‘I’d tell the lunatic to pull up his mask except … what if he’s got a gun?’ The Reader’s Ben Joravsky had a rough time getting his COVID-19 booster shot.
Men Yell At Me blogger Lyz Lenz talked to mothers about the challenges of enduring the pandemic when their spouses don’t agree on the need for kids’ vaccination.
A Sun-Times editorial: Employers should raise the price of health insurance for the willfully unvaccinated.

AmazOops. A major—and, at Chicago Public Square’s email deadline, still unexplained—five-hour outage at Amazon yesterday crippled not just Amazon itself but other companies’ streaming video services, payment apps, airline reservations, auto dealerships, and even The Associated Press’ ability to publish the news.
Before Amazon launches another humongous Chicago warehouse, West Humboldt Park neighbors want gazillionaire owner Jeff Bezos to do more for their neighborhood.
Jewel—born 122 years ago as a tea and coffee delivery service—is taking a cue from Amazon’s playbook, opening a “micro-fulfillment center” capable of handling 1,000 online orders a day.
Tedium looks at the history of grocery store coupons—and their continuing importance to the newspaper biz.

He knew how to keep Christmas well. William J. Norris—first to play Scrooge in the Goodman Theatre’s iconic production of A Christmas Carol and a founder of “the Chicago Theater movement”—is dead at 75.
Your Chicago Public Square columnist first encountered him as the simian Symax in the Organic Theater’s 1970s Marvel Comics homage Warp!
Chicago theater and comics veteran John Ostrander*, who once shared a living space with Norris: “He could be very crusty but no one was more giving if you were his friend.”
Iconic comics artist George Perez says inoperable pancreatic cancer has left him less than a year to live.

‘If Till whistled, it was still his Black skin that got him killed.’ Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg says it’s good the Justice Department ended its latest investigation into the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till, the Black Chicago teenager abducted, tortured and killed after witnesses said he whistled at a white woman in Mississippi.

‘We’re losing IQ points.’ The Guardian explores the slow-moving lead-poisoning crisis among U.S. children.
Chicago, which has nearly 400,000 lead service lines, replaced just 20 last year.

Remember that plan to turn Ashland Avenue into a rapid-transit route for buses? Streetsblog Chicago proprietor John Greenfield does—and he says it “went nowhere … because drivers, who are less likely to be low-income or working-class than transit riders, freaked out.”
A Chicago company known for delivering award-winning potato-based pastries via tricycle aims to open a retail store.

Board (games) of education. A suburban principal makes the case for giving kids—and playing—board games for the holidays.
Top of the list: Connect 4—known in the Soviet Union as Gravitrips.
On the occasion of the 50th(!) anniversary of The Oregon Trail computer game, The Onion sarcastically revisits its history, with milestones like “1998: In recognition of the game’s groundbreaking impact, President Bill Clinton announces formation of a real-life State of Oregon.”

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* Who once blew up your Square columnist in the comics.

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