COVID-19 deaths among Blacks in Chicago and Cook County dropped in October, according to a Crusader analysis of the latest data from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The news comes as federal investigators launch a criminal probe into the vaccine scandal at Loretto Hospital on the West Side.
About 251 people in Cook County died from COVID-19, including 139 from Chicago. The number is lower than last month, September, when a total of 296 people died from the disease, including 166 from Chicago.
The COVID-19 death rate also dropped among Blacks. A total of 63 Blacks in Cook County died from COVID-19 last month, public health data show. Forty of them were from Chicago. Last month 101 Blacks in Cook County died of the disease, including 60 from Chicago, which tied September as the highest death rate among Blacks since May.
For the second consecutive month, whites in Chicago had the highest death rate, more than any other ethnic group in the city. Approximately 68 whites in Chicago died of COVID-19 last month and Latinos in the city lost 28. Approximately four Asians died of COVID-19 in October.
Of the 63 Blacks in Cook County who died of COVID-19 last month, nine were under 50. The youngest was a 28-year-old male who died on the North Side. His official cause of death was pneumonia brought on by the novel coronavirus. The oldest Black victims were a 93-year-old female and a 93-year-old male.
Approximately 33 of the 63 Blacks who died last month were female. Thirteen were from the South Side and four were from the West Side. The rest lived in the Loop, and on the Near West Side and the North Side.
A total of 6,097 residents in Chicago have died from COVID-19, including 2,477 Blacks. Approximately 3,438 Blacks in Cook County have died from the disease.
Recently, federal authorities launched a criminal investigation into how Loretto Hospital administered COVID vaccines earlier this year. The non-profit news organization Block Club Chicago wrote a series of news reports that looked into the Loretto hospital’s mishandling of the vaccine distribution.
Loretto Hospital officials admitted giving shots to privileged people who were not eligible for them at the time. Loretto CEO George Miller admitted in March that he authorized 72 people to be vaccinated at Trump Tower on March 10 and 11, 2021, mostly WestSide residents who work there.
The first subpoena was issued May 27 to the Illinois Department of Public Health, indicating there was an “official criminal investigation” into people vaccinated at Loretto. The feds sought information on 107 people, whose names were all redacted, who got shots at the hospital on March 10 and 11, 2021.
In mid-September, federal investigators apparently interested in those vaccinations issued a second grand jury subpoena seeking records of any vaccinations administered by Loretto at any location on those dates in March.
The documents requested by the grand jury were to be turned over to the FBI, which also declined to comment on the investigation.
State Representative LaShawn Ford, a former Loretto board member who resigned after the scandal came to light in the spring, said leadership should be concerned.
“It’s unfortunate that during the pandemic, that this problem has occurred, and it has a shadow of a safety net hospital in the Austin community,” Ford told ABC7 Chicago. Ford said he does not believe there was any criminal intent by the hospital during vaccinations. He characterized what happened as a lapse of judgment.
On Tuesday, November 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky endorsed recommending to vaccinate children ages 5 to 11 against COVID-19, clearing the way for immediate vaccination of the youngest age group yet in the United States.
“We know millions of parents are eager to get their children vaccinated and with this decision, we now have recommended that about 28 million children receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” Walensky said.
Earlier Tuesday, November 2, CDC’s independent vaccine advisers voted 14- 0 in favor of the child-sized doses of vaccine for the younger kids.
The Food and Drug Administration already authorized the shots for children ages 5 to 11 — doses just a third of the amount given to teens and adults. But the CDC formally recommends who should receive FDA- cleared vaccines.
The Chicago Department of Public Health recently reported that more than 1.7 million – or 74.7 percent – of Chicagoans age 12 and up have received at least one dose of a COVID- 19 vaccine.
Health officials also reported that:
West Elsdon reached 80 percent in 1st dose vaccine coverage (ages 12+).
Calumet Heights and Garfield Ridge reached 70 percent in 1st dose vaccine coverage (ages 12+).
Fuller Park reached 60 percent in 1st dose vaccine coverage (ages 12+).
Greater Grand Crossing reached 50 percent in 1st dose vaccine coverage (ages 12+).
Washington Park had the biggest increase in 1st dose vaccine coverage (ages 12+) since last week.