Here are editorials published in newspapers around Illinois

November 1, 2020

The (Champaign) News-Gazette

Mr. Unpopular?

How does one not win friends? Be governor of Illinois during a pandemic.

During one of his recent coronavirus pandemic press conferences, Gov. J.B. Pritzker was hit with the kind of question that politicians don’t just despise, but fear.

The inquiry was something along the lines of “How does it feel to be the most unpopular person in Illinois?”

The governor, like most politicians would, deflected the question and responded with cliches about the challenge of making tough decisions and the need to stand tall in the face of criticism.

No one should envy Pritzker’s position in the face of trying to figure out how to do the impossible — bring the coronavirus pandemic under control. He’s clearly up against the wall.

At the same time, no one should underestimate the public pushback he’s getting on his shutdown orders.

Last week, Pritzker announced there will be no high school basketball because it’s a close-contact sport that could encourage the spread of the virus. The next day, the Illinois High School Association announced there will be basketball if local schools decide they wish to play and conform to IHSA guidelines.

In response to the anti-Pritzker response, the state struck back. The state board of education backed up Pritzker’s edict, while the governor raised the possibility of litigation.

How would that litigation be titled? The way things are going, it will be Everybody vs. Everybody.

While that dispute was beginning to boil, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot — temporarily — moved off the Pritzker reservation. She protested the governor’s decision to shut down indoor dining in bars and restaurants in her city, complaining it will further devastate the Chicago economy. (After meeting with Pritzker, Lightfoot announced she had changed her mind.)

If that wasn’t more than enough — it was — Pritzker announced enhanced “mitigation” orders in sections of the state where the number of coronavirus cases is increasing at disturbing levels.

Champaign and surrounding counties were added Friday to the advanced restrictions list, with indoor dining and drinking once again banned and maximum gathering sizes reduced.

The people of Illinois know where they’ve been and didn’t like it much. Now it looks like, after a relatively brief respite, everyone can look forward to more of the same — if Pritzker has his way.

But the support the governor once generated is wearing thin. He attributes his decision to sound epidemiological practices. But his critics — Republican legislators, local officials and business owners — challenge him on the same grounds.

Who’s right? Who knows. But it’s pretty clear who has the power to back up his decision — Pritzker.

Operating under emergency authority that has persuaded the courts to give him a blank check. A few areas of the state may resist enforcing his rules, but mostly, Illinois has become Pritzker’s baby.

He’s opened himself up to legitimate second-guessing. For example, while all the states surrounding Illinois allowed high school football, Pritzker insisted his ban was saving young people’s lives.

Mostly, however, he’s opened

himself up to second-guessing that may or may not be worth heeding. One thing’s for sure — Pritzker is paying his critics no mind.

He’s showing little interest in moderating the aggressive stance he’s taken since Day 1. That means, in a political sense, he gets all the credit or all the blame. For the time being, Pritzker’s getting a lot of blame.

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October 28, 2020

(Arlington Heights) Daily Herald

Responses to indoor dining bans understandable, but concerning

With winter looming and weather limiting outdoor gatherings, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s warnings about spiking coronavirus cases Monday and his announcement of new restrictions for the suburbs came as a gut punch.

“Remember, this is not over,” he said at a briefing in Peoria. “There seems to be a COVID-19 storm on the rise and we have to get prepared.”

It would not be a stretch to say that much of that storm ripped through the suburban restaurant scene in recent days.

First, restaurants and bars in Du¬Page, Kane and Will counties were closed to indoor dining. Suburban Cook followed suit this week. And while eateries in Lake County continue to be open, the clock may be ticking on their dining rooms as well.

Many owners, however, are fighting back. While we understand their frustration -- and question a few of the oddities of a rollback that affects some businesses, but not others -- we are deeply concerned about what lies ahead.

First, you have a few restaurants seizing on what’s allowed in order to skirt what’s not. So a suburban chain can host strangers with reservations at set times, as long as it calls the gatherings a “private event.” And a local steakhouse can offer customers a “private dining room,” putting all sorts of emphasis on the word “private.”

Meanwhile, some other restaurant owners are launching more direct protests, openly defying the indoor dining ban.

Restaurant owners ask -- understandably so -- why they should close their dining rooms when other kinds of businesses can stay open. Yes, eating requires setting your mask aside. But so, for instance, does munching on candy in still-open movie theaters.

It’s problematic, and our hearts go out to those struggling to keep businesses going in these terrible times. Yet, we also are concerned by the inequities, and we worry that those restaurant owners flouting the rules are making it harder for those obeying them.

And, we wonder, wouldn’t tightening our resolve now for a few weeks make it safer for all of us to dine out sooner?

The debate points to the need for continuing to refine what can be open safely -- and what cannot.

While we have lauded the governor for his quick actions in shutting down the state early in the pandemic, we hoped that he would have used the time since to work with the legislature or a bipartisan group to seek out collaborative solutions rather than relying on edicts. We call on him to do that now, and we urge him to join with other state leaders to provide relief to ailing businesses -- and to push Congress to do the same.

In the meantime, we as diners can acknowledge and reward businesses that put safety first and continue to support the suburban restaurants we love with our takeout and delivery orders. That way, we can help them weather whatever this brutal COVID-19 storm brings our way.

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October 29, 2020

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan

Early detection is key in breast cancer fight

With multiple new health concerns emerging in 2020, it’s easy to look past some of the concerns we’ve been dealing with for years.

October is a month we’ve set aside to mark breast cancer awareness. Thanks to what 2020 has become, breast cancer awareness has taken a back seat. But there are still plenty of reasons to pay attention.

Breast cancer fatalities continue to tumble. But it’s still the No. 2 cancer killer among women. About 66,000 people die annually from lung cancer, and the breast cancer death rate is about 42,000. (Heart disease remains the top killer of both men and women.)

One in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. One in 39 of those will die from the complication. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers.

The CDC estimates 276,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U.S. along with 48,000 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.

Early detection has been shown to be associated with reduced breast cancer morbidity and mortality. Mammography is the most common screening test for breast cancer.

Opinions differ on who should be screened for breast cancer. Confer with your doctor or nurse. The American Cancer Society recommends women with an average risk of breast cancer should undergo regular screening mammography starting at age 45 years. Women aged 45 to 54 years should be screened annually. Women 55 years and older should transition to biennial screening or have the opportunity to continue screening annually.

Finding breast cancer may lead to breast cancer treatment and side effects, but it may not improve a woman’s health or help her live longer.

Treatment options for breast cancer patients include: surgery; radiation therapy that kills cancer cells; chemotherapy; hormone therapy and targeted therapy.

Don’t put off an examination. Don’t allow yourself a reason to not be checked. Cancer survival rates continue to improve. The key is early detection. Reminding ourselves and our loved ones of their responsibilities to their health is one of the purposes of the awareness effort.