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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

45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.

Staff for retiring Senate Republicans a K Street prize

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The retirements of high-profile Senate Republicans mean a lot of experienced staffers will soon be seeking new jobs, and Washington lobbying and public affairs firms are eyeing a potential glut of top-notch talent.

Why it matters: Roy Blunt is the fifth Republican dealmaker in the Senate to announce his retirement next year. Staffers left behind who can navigate the upper chamber of Congress will be gold for the city’s influence industry.