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A 14-year-old girl painted a mural spanning several walls in Marion, Illinois, that pays homage to Marines and first responders.

The idea for the mural began earlier this year when Chief Tim Barnett of the Marion Fire Department approached attorney Ronald Osman and his son Blane about putting a design on a building across the road from the fire station, the Southern Illinoisan reports.

He suggested a tribute to firefighters, especially those who lost their lives during the September 11 terrorist attacks, would be appropriate.

Posted by WFCN News – Illinois on Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Osman served as a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam era and wanted to honor servicemembers he knew that gave their lives during the war.

“I did not go to Vietnam, but I had a lot of friends (who) did and people that I served with did,” Osman told the Southern Illinoisian. “Two in particular, one that was killed in Vietnam and the other is still (missing in action) in Vietnam. They’re fine young men and they deserve to be remembered.

Posted by WFCN News – Illinois on Saturday, September 25, 2021

The ideas to tribute first responders and fallen Vietnam Marines melded together. Osman collaborated with 14-year-old Maddie Deiters, who was tasked with painting the mural. Deiters hails from a long line of service members, according to the Southern Illinoisian. After a roughly seven-week effort, she and her family fashioned a mural that spanned several building walls and honored Marines, firefighters, police officers, and EMS personnel. An American eagle ties the first responder wall to the Marine wall.

Posted by WFCN News – Illinois on Tuesday, November 9, 2021

“It means a lot to me personally,” Deiters told KFVS12. “Veterans have been through my family and generations, but I was very honored to paint this.”

Osman has plans to expand the mural in the coming year to include other branches of the U.S. Military. In September WFCN reported plans for the mural to span all four sides of the building. 

“First responders, whether you’re a fireman, a paramedic, police officer, Army,  Marine Corps, or the Navy, every day that they go to work on that job, there’s a real potential for harm. They all do it willingly,” Osman told the Southern Illinoisian. 

Posted by WFCN News – Illinois on Tuesday, November 9, 2021

“It’s really important to support those who risked their lives for us… I would gladly spend eight weeks of my life painting this for them because they risked their life for ours,” Deiters explained. 

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Tags: on the hill b inspired on the hill b inspired covid 1984 rittenhouse bidenflation dem city crime border crisis masters of the universe b inspired news first responders mural u s marine corps vietnam their lives during first responders for the mural marine corps risked their illinois

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Illinois COVID Update: IL reports 14,422 new cases, 149 deaths

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois public health officials reported 14,422 new COVID cases and 149 related deaths Thursday.

There have been 2,881,721 total COVID cases, including 30,568 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.

FDA halts use of monoclonal antibody drugs from Regeneron, Eli Lilly that don't work vs. omicron

The seven-day statewide test positivity rate is 13.8%, down from 14.6%.

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 224,498 new specimens for a total of 50,583,769 since the pandemic began.

As of Wednesday night, 4,824 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 864 patients were in the ICU and 485 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

SEE ALSO | Here's how to get free N95 masks from pharmacies or community health centers

A total of 23,021,595 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of Wednesday and 61.92% of the state's population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 38,148.

WATCH | What's required for Chicago to lift mask mandate?
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Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady answers questions about COVID in Chicago.

While thousands of people remain in Illinois hospitals with COVID, hospitalizations and ICU numbers are flattening and case numbers are decreasing as omicron has hit its peak.

Yet, drug companies are beginning trials for a tweaked vaccine that targets the variant.

"Timing is everything, you obviously can't have the vaccine the day a variant comes out, so by the time it is available omicron might be in the rear view mirror," said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of Illinois Dept. of Public Health.

RELATED | What to know about BA.2, new omicron subvariant detected in several US states

Or, omicron continues to circulate and a new adapted vaccine will give us a leg up on the next variant. A new one labeled "stealth omicron" has been detected in the United States.

"It's certainly worth a try to have vaccines ready and have then tested in the event we have to deal with further omicron infections or a variant of omicron that becomes dominant," UIC Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Richard Novak said.

Novak says it is how vaccine development for the flu has worked for years.

"We don't know for sure which flu viruses will circulate, but the vaccines are made well in advance of the flu season in order to have the vaccine ready," he said.

And while flu shot rates are not great, there is concern there may be some vaccine fatigue if people need to take yet another COVID dose.

"We don't know what is in store, but we are grateful the current vaccines have been able to do the job and keep fully vaccinated people out of the hospital," Ezike said.

While Pfizer and Moderna work on a tweaked vaccine for Omicron, the U.S. government is aggressively pushing drug companies to come up with a universal vaccine that would work well against any COVID variant.

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