CHICAGO — As of Sunday, 1,000 people in Chicago have died from coronavirus, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday.
“As you all know, these are not just numbers. They’re parents, grandparents, cousins, friends, neighbors, lovers and loved ones. The deaths are touching many neighborhoods across our city,” Lightfoot said.
During a call with reporters, Lightfoot was asked about a new New York Times story that indicates the country hasn’t made much progress in the fight against coronavirus.
President Donald Trump’s administration is projecting the country’s daily death toll will double by early June, according to the New York Times.
Asked whether she has concerns, Lightfoot said, “We actually see something different in the numbers here in Chicago.”
“We have to find hope in the fact that we haven’t had the kind of outbreaks that we’re seeing in other cities because we’ve been very, very focused on doing everything we can to bend the curve,” she said.
Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said confirmed coronavirus cases are doubling every 15-16 days in Chicago.
But Lightfoot and Arwady said while Chicago is continuing to flatten the number of confirmed cases and deaths, “we’re not near where we need to be.”
“As a country, we are not over this. You’ve not heard any of us say that Chicago has peaked,” Arwady said.
Lightfoot said: “Even as we start to talk about opening, we cannot get rid of social distancing or we’ll plunge ourselves back in the problem.”
The mayor said the city will not “flip a switch” and everything will reopen. She said instead the reopening will be more like a “dimmer switch” with businesses opening in phases.
Lightfoot announced the 1,000-person death toll after Chicago grappled with a number of large parties over the warm, sunny weekend. She said young people all over the city were partying, putting others at risk of spreading coronavirus.
She stressed that her administration is working to educate people across Chicago’s neighborhoods about the dangers of ignoring social distancing guidelines, but that if police have to ticket people, they will. Fines range from $500 for individuals to $5,000 for party promoters, she said.
“Young people don’t believe they’re vulnerable, but the truth is they are,” Lightfoot said. “…They’re taking it back home with them and literally bringing death to their doorsteps.”
“If we don’t stay the course, we’re going to be in this longer, more people are going to get sick and more people are going to die,” she said.
The widely circulated notion that the country is in the second inning of its nine-inning battle with coronavirus also came up Monday. Lightfoot said she thinks Chicago is a “little further along than” the second inning — more like the fourth inning.
But we’re “in a very, very tough game that looks like it’s going to go into extra innings,” Lightfoot said.
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.