CHICAGO — The city is trying to get young people to take safety precautions amid the coronavirus pandemic with a new campaign.
People age 18-29 and 30-39 have accounted for the most new cases of coronavirus in recent weeks, with officials saying that’s partly because young people aren’t taking safety precautions as seriously and are gathering in groups more than older people.
The city’s new campaign, dubbed We Are All One Team, aims to encourage young people to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines, among other health measures, to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We need to make sure that we are all in this together because COVID-19 is ruthless. It doesn’t spare anyone; and young people, you’re not immune, you’re not invincible, not when it comes to this disease,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said during a Tuesday press conference.
The city is teaming up with professional sports teams — including the Bears, White Sox, Blackhawks and Cubs — to spread word of the campaign. They’ll use social media, billboards and more to remind young people to follow public health guidance.
Young adults will go to “hot spots” like bars, restaurants and parks to talk to peers about “safe COVID-19 practices” as part of the campaign, according to a city press release. They’ll also give out face masks, hand sanitizer, flyers and buttons.
Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, reminded Chicagoans it’s required for most people to wear a mask in public in Illinois.
None of the athletes in Chicago would play without putting on their equipment, Arwady said during Tuesday’s press conference.
“They wouldn’t think of going out on the field without it,” Arwady said. “And I want folks in Chicago to think of your masks in the same way. It’s even more important, in some ways, than that equipment the athletes wear” because masks protect other people, too.
Young people are at less risk for serious adverse effects of COVID-19, but they can happen. A Chicago woman in her 20s who had no significant underlying conditions had to get a double lung transplant last month coronavirus severely damaged her lungs.
Officials have also said they’re worried young people will transmit the virus to older people, who are more at risk from COVID-19.
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