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Amid surging COVID cases, Chicago’s mayor is urging residents to stay home and ‘cancel traditional Thanksgiving plans’
COVID-19 cases are surging across much of the country. And with Thanksgiving right around the corner, despite daily new cases shattering records and deaths on the rise, 40 percent of Americans say they still plan to travel for the holidays. It’s with those kinds of numbers in mind that Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, just announced a new stay-at-home advisory that will go into effect at 6 a.m. Monday.
Under the new advisory, residents are asked not to leave their homes except for work and essential needs. They’re also asked not to have any guests over to their homes (including family members who aren’t part of the household) and to cancel any travel plans or Thanksgiving gatherings.
According to the city’s COVID dashboard, Chicago is now averaging more than 2,000 new cases per day. The case positivity rate has soared from around 5 percent a week ago to nearly 15 percent this week. The number of new cases being recorded is higher than at any other point in the pandemic, even the spring when hospitals neared full capacity.
This will be Chicago’s second lockdown, and it’s now the first major city to take that step again after a number of lockdowns in the spring. It’s a little different this time: Although the mayor is urging city residents to stay home whenever possible, non-essential businesses aren’t being forced to shut down this time. However, state guidelines now limit gatherings to no more than 10 people, and city businesses must take that into account when adjusting their capacity in the coming weeks.
In an address on Thursday, Lightfoot said that models predict Chicago will see 1,000 more COVID-related deaths before the end of the year if it continues on its current trajectory.
“If we do not step up, and do the things that we know, actually work, to protect ourselves, to protect our families, protect people in our network, protect our colleagues. By the end of this year, we will lose at least 1,000 more lives in the city. That’s just in seven weeks alone,” she said. “None of us can keep maintaining the status quo in the face of this fairy stark reality. Everyone, me you, everyone must step up. And we must do more.”
She added, “Our goal now is the same as it was during the early days of this pandemic. And that is to bend the curve. We are back there.”
Lightfoot also announced plans for the Chicago Department of Health to deploy 2,000 city workers to help educate households about COVID-19 and how to slow its spread. At least 550 of those will work as contact tracers.
“We want to be very smart and strategic and data driven,” Lightfoot said, according to NBC’s Chicago affiliate station, WMAQ-TV. “Because as I said, while we feel like the surge that we’re experiencing now is the same or worse than the spring, we’ve learned a tremendous amount since then.”
Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.