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Daywatch: Officials warn of income tax spike, how flu shots will be different this year and why endangered mussels play a crucial role

Listen to the day's top stories in our morning news briefing.

Good morning, Chicago. On Thursday, Illinois saw a spike in coronavirus cases, as officials reported 2,257 newly diagnosed cases and 30 additional confirmed deaths.

Here’s more coronavirus news and other top stories you need to know to start your day.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, right, hold a ceremony to sign the state budget and fair tax legislation at the State of Illinois Building in Chicago on June 5, 2019.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, right, hold a ceremony to sign the state budget and fair tax legislation at the State of Illinois Building in Chicago on June 5, 2019. (Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)

Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton warned Thursday that Illinoisans could face an across-the-board income tax hike of at least 20% if voters reject a proposed constitutional amendment to shift the state from a mandated flat-rate tax to a graduated-rate tax based on income.

For weeks, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritkzer’s administration has cautioned that severe budget cuts could be on the way if voters don’t approve the proposed amendment to overhaul Illinois' income tax system. But Stratton’s threat that all taxpayers, regardless of income, could face a tax hike unless the amendment passes on Nov. 3 appeared to represent a new shift in strategy for the Pritzker administration.

A woman wearing a mask leaves the Chateau Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Willowbrook on March 19, 2020.

A woman wearing a mask leaves the Chateau Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Willowbrook on March 19, 2020. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)

Adam Hollingsworth, the Dreadhead Cowboy, speaks during a press conference on Sept. 24, 2020, in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago. Hollingsworth faces a felony aggravated animal cruelty charge, along with misdemeanor counts of trespassing and reckless conduct, after he was arrested for riding one of his horses on the Dan Ryan Expressway during a "Kids Lives Matter" protest.

Adam Hollingsworth, the Dreadhead Cowboy, speaks during a press conference on Sept. 24, 2020, in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago. Hollingsworth faces a felony aggravated animal cruelty charge, along with misdemeanor counts of trespassing and reckless conduct, after he was arrested for riding one of his horses on the Dan Ryan Expressway during a "Kids Lives Matter" protest. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

If Adam Hollingsworth — the so-called Dreadhead Cowboy — had to do it all over again, he said he would still gladly make the unauthorized gallop on the Dan Ryan Expressway to spotlight violence against children in Chicago this year.

The urban horseman enjoyed local celebrity as an activist and Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s census ambassador before being charged with felony animal cruelty following his ride earlier this week. But on Thursday, he pleaded for help from the mayor’s office and Chicago’s pantheon of famous and socially conscious rappers to make the criminal case go away.

Pharmacy manager Valentina Danilovski administers a flu shot to Diane Sindermann, 73, on Sept. 24, 2020, in the parking lot of a Jewel-Osco in Highland Park.

Pharmacy manager Valentina Danilovski administers a flu shot to Diane Sindermann, 73, on Sept. 24, 2020, in the parking lot of a Jewel-Osco in Highland Park. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)

Forest Preserve of Cook County team members Carlie Rapp, left, hands wildlife biologist Chuck Rizzo a mussel she found in Poplar Creek on Sept. 23, 2020 in Elgin.

Forest Preserve of Cook County team members Carlie Rapp, left, hands wildlife biologist Chuck Rizzo a mussel she found in Poplar Creek on Sept. 23, 2020 in Elgin. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)

On a September afternoon that still felt like summer, a small group in boots and waders drove out to a creek near Elgin, sloshed through cold, bubbling water, knelt down and dug their bare hands into the ground. For hours. For days. And all for a mollusk.

Football news:

Hans-Dieter flick: I Hope Alaba will sign a contract with Bayern. Our club is one of the best in the world
Diego Maradona: Messi gave Barca everything, brought them to the top. He was not treated the way he deserved
Federico Chiesa: I hope to leave my mark in Juve. We will achieve great results
The Coach Of Benfica: I don't want us to look like the current Barcelona, it has nothing
Guardiola on returning to Barca: I'm happy at Manchester City. I hope to stay here
Fabinho will not play with West ham due to injury
Ronald Koeman: Maradona was the best in his time. Now the best Messi