Large-scale protests carry coronavirus exposure risk, leaders warn (LIVE UPDATES)

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Large-scale protests carry coronavirus exposure risk, leaders warn

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

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The massive protests sweeping across U.S. cities following the police killing of a handcuffed black man in Minnesota have elevated fears of a new surge in cases of the coronavirus.

Images showing thousands of screaming, unmasked protesters have sent shudders through the health community, which worries its calls for social distancing during the demonstrations are unlikely to be heard.

Leaders appealing for calm in places where crowds smashed storefronts and destroyed police cars in recent nights also have been handing out masks and warning protesters they were putting themselves at risk.

Minnesota’s governor said Saturday that too many protesters weren’t socially distancing or wearing masks after heeding the call earlier in the week.

But many seemed undeterred.

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“It’s not OK that in the middle of a pandemic we have to be out here risking our lives,” Spence Ingram said Friday after marching with other protesters to the state Capitol in Atlanta. “But I have to protest for my life and fight for my life all the time.”

Read the full report here.


7:28 a.m. Fulton Market office project tries new tactics to fight germs

Thanks to quick thinking, and maybe fancy footwork, an office building coming in Fulton Market has a plausible claim to being the nation’s first new multi-story structure designed with a pandemic in mind.

Called Fulton East, the 12-story building is going up at 215 N. Peoria St. Construction started about a year ago. So how could its design possibly be influenced by a global infection?

Credit developer Robert Wislow for recognizing the real estate market was being disrupted, and potential office tenants will have a new set of concerns surrounding health and safety. Wislow, chairman of Parkside Realty, had a building well under way, yet he could still adapt it to the coronavirus. The timing worked.

Wislow turned to Canada-based MAD Elevator — an unfortunate name, but the company is certainly successful — which was rolling out a design that calls for controlling an elevator with your feet. You summon it by pushing an up or down foot pedal; inside the cab, you use your feet to hit a large button mounted near the floor.

MAD calls it the Toe-To-Go system that reduces the spread of germs. Wislow said Fulton East will be its first new-construction installation. Those disinclined or unable to use their feet still can use touch screens, which are easier to wipe down than old-school buttons.

Read David Roeder’s full story here.

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Analysis & Commentary

6:53 a.m. Our lives and homes are on display these days, courtesy of Zoom

We are all on camera. We may be sheltering indoors in the age of COVID-19, but we are showing our stuff on Zoom. It is a curated and revealing picture of who we really are.

We are meeting, partying, praying, even mourning online. Our appearances on screens big and small speak for, and to, us.

The necessity of communicating in quarantine is opening our inner lives in intimate and personal ways, warts and all.

My mother tells me that her friends, all ladies of a certain advanced age, gets gussied up in glittering attire to sip and dish at a weekly Zoom cocktail hour.

As a veteran of the news business, I know visualization is vital. Now, I work entirely from home. I struggle to get the right “look” when I appear on the screen as a political analyst, panelist and moderator.

Do I appear in the living room, home office or kitchen? Lamplight or sunlight? What colors should I wear? Should the jewelry be understated or statement? A vase of blossoms in the background?

I am a zealous student of “the look” offered on television and other public events in quarantine.

Read Laura Washington’s full column here.

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