Deaths from COVID-19 surge, cases stand at 12,657
Deaths from COVID-19 rose by nearly 59% in a week, state data showed Wednesday, as an additional 145 Illinoisans succumbed to the respiratory disease, the highest daily number since May 27.
The Illinois Department of Public Health also reported 12,657 new virus cases.
An average of 72 people a day died from COVID-19 between Wednesday and Nov. 5, compared with 45 individuals from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4.
Of the Illinoisans succumbing to COVID-19, most -- 87.4% -- are age 60 and older. More than 46% of fatalities comprise people age 80 and older.
Those aged 30 to 59 make up 12.1% of virus deaths, while children, teenagers and young people up to age 29 total less than 1%, or 47 fatalities since the pandemic began. Total fatalities statewide are at 10,434.
"This infection does not discriminate for age, or race or sex," said physician Jeff Huml, medical director of critical care at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield.
"You can be very young and still get critically ill and die from the virus, or older and have multiple comorbidities (serious health conditions) and do reasonably well. We haven't quite figured that out."
But Central DuPage Hospital experts have learned from the last eight months, decreasing days patients are on ventilators by 50%, for example, he noted.
"You save lives by anticipating what will happen next. We're better at anticipating," Huml said.
COVID-19 patients in hospitals reached a record 5,042 as of Tuesday night. The second-highest hospitalizations occurred April 28 with 5,037 patients at the height of the first virus surge in Illinois.
A year ago, Batavia Overseas VFW Post 1197 marked Veterans Day with a 30-piece band playing hymns from all the services, a one-hour ceremony observed by a crowd, then food and games for the kids.
This year, it was a meaningful "but very much abbreviated" ceremony without a band, Post Commander Jay Davis said.
The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting veterans' organizations hard, as fundraising revenues drop and "we're seeing an adverse mental impact," Davis said.
"Veterans share a common thread. Most can't share that experience with a spouse, with a friend, with an employer. They need to be around people with similar experiences -- that get it," he explained.
Post 1197 has rallied to hold socially distanced concerts and a Fourth of July parade but can't provide the camaraderie from typical get-togethers it did pre-COVID-19.
"The lockdown, the isolation, the restrictions really take a toll," Davis noted.
The state's virus test positivity rate stands at 12.4%, reflecting a continuous rise. State labs processed 93,464 tests in the last 24 hours.
What baffles experts sometimes is how COVID-19 can kill people who would seem to fit all the criteria to make a full recovery.
"They can die of stroke," Huml said, "they can die of a secondary respiratory infection, they can die from heart failure. That's what makes this virus incredibly challenging."
Illinois' virus caseload is 523,840.
New and cumulative case totals spiked last week when the state began lumping a previously separate category -- probable cases into the mix.