CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot urged residents in the nation’s third-largest city to restrict social gatherings to 10 people, part of a renewed push announced Thursday to fight a COVID-19 surge.
Lightfoot implored Chicagoans to “cancel the normal Thanksgiving plans,” saying the skyrocketing cases show no signs of slowing and urgent steps were needed immediately. She stopped short of making the limitations mandatory, calling them a progressive step: “I hope we don’t have to go any further than this.”
The limitations on gatherings, which takes effect Monday for 30 days, were announced with a fresh stay-at-home advisory urging residents to venture out only for essential things, like going to work or grocery shopping. Chicago already bars indoor dining under state rules announced last month.
“If we continue on the path we’re on, and you and me and others don’t step up and do more, our estimates are that we could see 1,000 more Chicagoans die from this virus by the end of the year,” Lightfoot said at a news conference.
A month ago, Chicago was reporting 500 daily cases on average. Now, Chicago is averaging roughly 1,900 daily cases. In the same time period, the rate of positive tests has nearly tripled to 14%.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker has made similar pleas for Illinoisans to stay home, saying he could step up restrictions if things don’t change. State officials on Thursday reported 12,702 new COVID-19 cases, including 43 more deaths. Overall, Illinois has reported 536,542 cases and 10,477 deaths.
Chicago officials have advised against travel to states with high infection rates for months.
A revamped travel order announced earlier this week requires a two-week quarantine or negative COVID-19 test depending on the state. City residents who travel face the same rules upon return.
City officials have threatened hefty fines for those who don’t comply, but there appears to be little enforcement. WBBM-TV reported last month that no fines were issued in the first three months of the travel order.Article Courtesy middletownpress.com