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Can UIC make a long COVID breakthrough?

By Sidney Madden | @sidney_madden_


🦠 UNDERSTANDING LONG COVID

Fatigue. Brain fog. Dizziness. Digestive problems. Loss of taste or smell. 

Those are among some of the 200 long COVID-19 symptoms that University of Illinois Chicago researchers are trying to learn more about. 

Long COVID remains a mystery: There is no universal clinical definition. 

  • Centers for Disease Control says it’s long COVID if symptoms are new, persist, or return four or more weeks after infection.
  • World Health Organization says the illness is marked by symptoms that last at least two months and can’t be explained by another diagnosis.

And a lot of people are affected: Between 7.7 and 23 million people across the country have long COVID, a federal watchdog agency recently estimated. 

What is the UIC study? Part of the National Institute of Health’s $1.5 billion efforts to understand the mysterious phenomenon, the $22 million study aims to look into the causes, preventions, and treatments of long COVID, WTTW and ABC7 reported. 

They’re seeking 1,000 Illinoisans 18 and up from Chicago and central Illinois, and are partnering with community groups like Team Englewood and Illinois Unidos to recruit residents in communities that have been disproportionately affected by the virus. 

What does participation look like? Participants will fill out a health survey, get a physical, and take lab tests every three to 12 months over four years. (A COVID diagnosis isn’t required for participation.) 

A pro to participating? Patient-led research has sped up drug development pipelines (e.g., HIV/AIDs), and has helped studies become more person-focused, according to the Washington Post.

How do you participate? Sign up or email info@illinet.org.

❓Have an experience with long COVID that you’d be willing to share? Participating in a study? Get in touch, and email chicago@citycast.fm.

🗳️ DNC POLL RESULTS

Chicago is in the running to host the next Democratic National Convention. And despite the city’s turbulent history with the event, many of you still want us to host.

"Where do you think the Democratic National Convention should be held in 2024?" is above a bar graph. Chicago had 50% of the vote, Las Vegas had 8.3%, Nashville had 33.3%, and Other got 8.3%.

Don’t be too disappointed if it’s in Nashville or Vegas, though. Heck, it could be elsewhere entirely: Cities have until October to make a bid. 

Thanks to everyone who voted!


⚾ CUBS & SOX 2022 PREVIEW

Temps are rising, spring is here, and baseball is back! 

The White Sox (2-1) have their home opener today against the Seattle Mariners after beating the Tigers in Detroit last week. The Cubs (2-1) also won against the Milwaukee Brewers in their opening series at Wrigley Field. 

Despite similar starts, the teams couldn’t be more different: The North Siders are rebuilding while the South Siders are chasing championship dreams. 

🎧 WBEZ’s Cheryl Raye Stout and Herb Lawrence of the new CHGO White Sox podcast tell us about what’s in store for the crosstown rivals.

👉 Head to the Sox game at 3:10 p.m., or watch on NBC Sports Chicago. See the Cubs take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Steel City on Marquee at 3:12 p.m.


📰 NEWSFEED

▪️ More alders are attending City Council meetings — thanks in part to virtual meetings during the pandemic — earning a B-minus average on this attendance report card. Check your alder’s score. [WBEZ, The Daily Line, Crain’s Chicago]

▪️ El Milagro workers say wages have increased and some scheduling has improved but allege that they are “worked like machines” and that they still do not have Sundays off at the tortilla factory. They walked out last fall. [Chicago Sun-Times]

▪️ Hot off his gas giveaways, self-made millionaire Willie Wilson is running for mayor…again. Mayor Lori Lightfoot is preparing her own reelection announcement. [WTTW]

▪️ Karaoke Storytellers is back at Schubas in Lakeview Sunday at 7 p.m., and hosted by none other than City Cast’s Jacoby Cochran!

▪️ Go to Harold Washington Library for a centennial birthday celebration of the late mayor at 5:30 p.m. More celebrations in the city’s first Black mayor’s honor are happening this week. [Block Club Chicago]


🌸 CHERRY BLOSSOM TREES
Petals of a cherry blossom tree fall in front of some houses.
Cherry blossom tree in Kenwood in April 2021. (Jacoby Cochran / City Cast)

Tbh, Chicago spring has mostly been disappointing. 

And even though there aren’t really any cherry blossom trees in full bloom yet — at least that I’ve seen — we can still plan for where to see them. 

🌸 Jackson Park
🌸 Morton Arboretum
🌸 Chicago Botanic Garden

If you snap a photo of the cherry blossom trees, send them to us! Maybe we’ll feature in the newsletter 🙃

Aaaaannnnd, you can check out a couple flower shows through May 8. 

🌷 “Knock Knock” at Garfield Park Conservatory
🌼 “Pillar of Spring” at Lincoln Park Conservatory


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