Daywatch: Chicago’s mask mandate could return, Lollapalooza lowers COVID test standard as cases rise and what to know about this virus misinformation ‘superspreader’

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Good morning, Chicago.

Another mask mandate for the city could be on the horizon, according to Mayor Lori Lightfoot. In an interview yesterday, the mayor said that mask rules and other restrictions may be reinstated if Chicago starts to consistently record more than 200 new COVID-19 cases per day. As of July 22, Chicago’s seven-day rolling average of new cases was 165 — about a 75% increase over the previous week.

However, despite the rise in cases, Lightfoot also said she yesterday that she isn’t having any “second thoughts” about allowing Lollapalooza to go forward. In recent weeks, the festival, which is set to begin Thursday and will bring hundreds of thousands of spectators to Grant Park over its four-day run, quietly loosened the safety standard for unvaccinated guests.

Meanwhile, in Japan, a tropical storm is expected to make landfall early Wednesday, likely bringing heavy rains, extreme winds and high waves to Tokyo. Because of course. Day 4 of the Olympics saw the U.S. women win their basketball opener, while the gymnastics team and softball squad are going for gold early this morning Chicago time. Simone Biles has pulled out of the team competition, dealing a blow to the Americans’ hopes for gold. You can track the latest results here and see who has won medals for Team USA so far. And one common theme in these Games? Tattoos, lots of them.

Nicole Stock, audience editor

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Physician convicted of illegally prescribing opioids says the DEA has turned doctoring into ‘another aspect of the war on drugs’

As the nation grapples with a record number of overdose deaths, it might not seem like the ideal time for a physician convicted of illegally prescribing opioids to push for liberalized drug laws. Dr. Jay Joshi is taking his shot anyway.

Joshi, who lives in Chicago’s western suburbs but practices in northern Indiana (and is not to be confused with a pain doctor of the same name who works out of Vernon Hills), served 11 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to prescribing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose.

Prosecutors said Joshi gave an undercover agent prescriptions for 246 hydrocodone tablets over four visits without performing a proper exam or seeking the man’s medical records. Though he expressed regret at sentencing, Joshi now says his guilty plea was a mistake, and that his prosecution was the product of government hysteria over opioid painkillers.

Tentative agreement struck over new police contract — first in four years. Ballots being mailed to union members.

The Chicago Police Department’s largest union announced it would mail ballots Monday to thousands of active and retired rank-and-file cops for a vote on a proposal that could eventually lead to its first contract in four years.

The FOP and Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration have been involved in tense contract negotiations since she took office in 2019. The progression of those talks has often been overshadowed by a war of words between Lightfoot and FOP President John Catanzara, who haven’t been shy about bashing each other publicly.

Who is Dr. Joseph Mercola? 5 things about the COVID-19 misinformation ‘superspreader’ — from Chicago roots to bizarre battles with government regulators

As the number of COVID-19 cases rises across the nation, the White House is battling the work of the “disinformation dozen,” a group of 12 influential anti-vaxxers deemed responsible for some two-thirds of anti-vaccine content circulating on social media, according to a recent study by the Center for Countering Digital Hate.

The first name on the list of those dubbed misinformation “superspreaders” is Dr. Joseph Mercola, a Chicago-born and -trained physician who spent decades building his natural health and wellness empire in the northwest suburbs. Here’s what we know about him.

What does rookie QB Justin Fields need to show? And what’s the most interesting position battle? 4 questions for the Chicago Bears before training camp.

As the Chicago Bears get set to report to Halas Hall for the start of training camp Tuesday, Tribune sports writers Brad Biggs, Colleen Cane and Dan Wiederer weigh in on four timely questions for the team.

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Nick Kindelsperger review: ‘Top Chef’ winner Joe Flamm’s Rose Mary is packed, but is it good?

Tables at Rose Mary, the West Loop restaurant from “Top Chef” winner Joe Flamm, go months in advance. The only option for most of us is to snatch an open seat at the bar, a feat complicated by the crowds that line up by the front door before it opens at 5 p.m., Tribune food critic Nick Kindelsperger writes. The eatery is no doubt one of the busiest in the city right now, but how good is the food?

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