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An empty Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images

A case study on contact tracing in Chicago showed how one person who showed up to a family funeral with mild symptoms of the coronavirus set off a chain reaction of infections to 16 more family members, including three deaths, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show.

Why it matters: The events, which took place in February, detail powerful consequences of death and illness when family members did not social distance or avoid social gatherings. The broader Chicago community was also exposed due to these events.

By the numbers: 16 people between the ages of 5 and 86 had been infected — seven confirmed and nine probable — with three dead.

Contact tracing graph from the CDC.

The state of play: The transmissions were tracked between a funeral and birthday party that were held three days apart. The person, named "Patient A1.1," was the traveling carrier with mild respiratory symptoms.

  • The person shared a takeout meal with two family members at the funeral for three hours. Both dinner hosts and a third family member who was hugged ended up infected.
  • At a birthday party days later, the person hugged guests and shared food for three hours. Seven of the nine attendees later got sick.

A few of these people were hospitalized and subsequently infected more family who came to visit them and hugged without any personal protective equipment. Others attended church and infected another person.

The bottom line: These clusters ultimately exposed the greater Chicago community and probably contributed to more cases, the CDC hypothesizes.

Go deeper: Fauci says social distancing could reduce coronavirus death toll to 60,000

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.