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House edges back? Illinois casinos rake in $82.6 million in first month since coronavirus shutdown (LIVE UPDATES)

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House edges back? Illinois casinos rake in $82.6 million in first month since coronavirus shutdown

Security guards ask guests a series of questions and enforce face mask requirements at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines on the first day of reopening following an unprecedented three-month shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

Masks, plexi-glass shields and an ongoing pandemic haven’t done much to dampen the hopes of Illinois gamblers looking to score a few bucks.

The state’s 10 casinos are limited to half capacity in the age of COVID-19, but they still raked in about three-quarters of the cash they did for a comparable period last year, before the virus slashed admissions.

And the looming specter of the coronavirus certainly hasn’t scared off bettors from returning to the thousands of slot machines that have been turned back on at bars, gas stations and other establishments — and which have gobbled up 24% more dollars than they did last July.

Read the full story by Mitchell Armentrout here.

7:35 a.m. Americans are drinking more during the COVID-19 pandemic. But how much alcohol is too much?

The coronavirus pandemic has Americans drinking more.

Sales of at-home alcohol, according to a Nielsen report from June, have spiked nearly 27% since the start of the pandemic. And while this doesn’t take into account shutdowns of bars and restaurants nationwide, it suggests people are turning to alcohol to cope with a life-altering global crisis.

Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, assistant secretary at Department of Health and Human Services and head of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, told USA TODAY in May that more people reportedly sought treatment for alcohol misuse in regions where coronavirus has hit the hardest.

A drink or two to take the edge off may seem like a harmless idea. And given historic unemployment rates, a pandemic that shows no signs of slowing down and the ceaseless specter of racial inequality, a couple more bottles of beer or glasses of wine might sound appealing.

Read the full story from USA Today here.

7:05 a.m. Study: Survivor plasma fights COVID-19 — but can’t prove definitively

Mayo Clinic researchers reported a strong hint that blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors helps other patients recover, but it’s not proof and some experts worry if, amid clamor for the treatment, they’ll ever get a clear answer.

More than 64,000 patients in the U.S. have been given convalescent plasma, a century-old approach to fend off flu and measles before vaccines. It’s a go-to tactic when new diseases come along, and history suggests it works against some, but not all, infections.

There’s no solid evidence yet that it fights the coronavirus and, if so, how best to use it. But preliminary data from 35,000 coronavirus patients treated with plasma offers what Mayo lead researcher Dr. Michael Joyner on Friday called “signals of efficacy.”

Read the full story here.

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Analysis & Commentary
7:05 a.m. Lakefront’s usual array of walks, runs for charity have gone virtual amid the pandemic

On a typical weekend morning from early spring to late fall, Chicago’s lakefront normally hosts a never-ending array of charity walks and runs.

There’s the Walk for This and the Race for That, each dedicated to its own worthy cause, all sharing the common goals of fundraising and community building.

You probably know the drill. Participants, who are often survivors of the particular illness being recognized, join together with family and friends, then don commemorative T-shirts and race bibs to amble, jog or sprint in mass through the parks as giant speakers blast rock music.

But not in 2020.

Read the full column by columnist Mark Brown here.

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