How COVID-19 has impacted Illinois beekeepers (LIVE UPDATES)

Andy Lavalley/Sun-Times

Here’s Sunday’s news on how COVID-19 is impacting Chicago and Illinois. Follow here for live updates. Here’s what made headlines in coronavirus-related news this weekend.
12:35 p.m. COVID-19 has mixed impact on beekeeping

Andy Lavalley/Sun-Times
A drone bee rests outside a caged box at the Calumet Township home of Ed Rice

How has COVID affected beekeeping in Illinois?
“It’s actually been a positive, oddly enough,” said Eugene Makovec, editor of the American Bee Journal, based in Hamilton, Illinois. “Everybody wants to buy honey. The honey I sell is from a dozen hives that typically produce 500 pounds of honey.
“Last year I sold primarily around the holidays to three or four local stores. This year, the stores I sell to went crazy in honey sales, starting in April. It’s been difficult to keep up with them. I’m actually going to run out of honey.”
His explanation: Honey is comfort food.
It’s important for beekeepers to keep abreast of new developments in their field, and that, too, has benefited.
“I find Zoom meetings very helpful” said Corky Schnadt, president of the Illinois State Beekeepers Association. “I just attended a symposium by the University of Nebraska. There were entomologists from all over the country. I thought, ‘There is no way I would have gotten all this information otherwise.’ I would never have gotten in the car and drove to Nebraska. Zoom meetings keep us connected with the latest data.”
Not all is rosy in the apian world, however. Novice beekeepers, after sinking $500 or more into a hive, a colony of bees and protective gear, have concerns they like to share with experienced beekeepers.
Neil Steinberg has the full story here.
10:20 a.m. Greg Norman in hospital with coronavirus after father-son golf tournament
Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman shared photos on social media Friday suggesting he has been hospitalized with COVID-19.
The 65-year-old Australian posted a video on Instagram on Thursday night saying he was experiencing coronavirus symptoms, then posted photos Friday showing himself in a hospital bed.
“This sums it all up,” he wrote. “My Christmas Day.”
Norman’s son, Greg Norman Jr., also said on social media that he and his wife, Michelle, have tested positive. The Normans played in the father-son PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, last weekend.
Read the full story from the Associated Press here.
7 a.m. 66 more Illinois coronavirus deaths, two-month low of 3,293 new cases reported Saturday as testing dips on Christmas
The coronavirus has killed an additional 66 Illinois residents and spread to 3,293 more, state public health officials announced Saturday.
That’s the smallest number of new COVID-19 cases announced in a day by the Illinois Department of Public Health since Oct. 19, mostly because laboratories processed only 54,462 tests on Christmas — far below the state’s daily testing average of more than 91,000 over the last month.
Despite the holiday testing dip, the two-month low case count kept Illinois’ pandemic numbers trending downward following a record-breaking autumn resurgence. The average statewide positivity rate, which indicates how rapidly the virus is spreading, has fallen to 6.8%, its lowest point since Oct. 29.
Mitchell Armentrout has the full story.

Analysis & Commentary
Dec. 25, 5 a.m. She loved kids, and kids loved her, but COVID-19 ended her teaching dreams
For the families of COVID-19 victims, the heartbreak of losing a loved one is often compounded by the pain of not knowing how they contracted the virus.
The Alonzo family of Gage Park is finding it doubly difficult.
On the day before she was hospitalized, Raquel Alonzo worked from home as usual, serving as a translator for online parent-teacher conferences at the charter school where she taught.
Alonzo, 34, had felt tired the previous few days and had started coughing that morning, but her father Rafael, 72, had been suffering similar symptoms, and the family just thought she was coming down with a cold.
It made no sense to the Alonzos that it could be anything more serious because they had been taking extreme precautions against the coronavirus for months, rarely venturing outside their multigenerational family household.
Read Mark Brown’s full column here.

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