CHICAGO — The city is seeing “exponential decay” as new coronavirus cases plunge.
Chicago is now seeing an average of just 91 new COVID-19 cases per day, the lowest since the start of the pandemic. Similarly, the city’s positivity rate has fallen to 1.6 percent, the lowest it has been; and the city is also seeing the lowest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations with just 12 per day.
As vaccines have become widespread, cases, hospitalizations and deaths have plunged. And fewer people getting infected means there are fewer people to spread COVID-19, leading to the fall, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a Tuesday livestream.
But the city is still seeing new cases, with the bulk of them coming in areas where people are less vaccinated, Arwady said.
Now that vaccines are widely available to people 12 and older, about 98 percent of new cases and deaths are among people who are not fully vaccinated, Arwady has previously said.
Last week, Arwady said the city has seen cases among young people, and the best thing people can do to protect children younger than 12 is to “get everybody vaccinated around them.”
“A note of caution: COVID’s still here, still with us,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a news conference Thursday.
During Phase 5, capacity restrictions will be lifted at all businesses and life will return to a new “normal.” All people will still need to wear masks in certain settings, including schools, health care facilities and on public transit, but fully vaccinated people won’t need masks in most settings.
Unvaccinated people should still wear masks in most public settings, officials have said.
It’s possible there will be another surge of cases in the fall and winter, which could mean restrictions are brought back, Arwady and Lightfoot said Thursday. But for now, the numbers look good, Arwady said.
“When we looked at our data, every one of the indicators that we’re tracking is honestly doing better than we expected it to be doing at this point. They are all in that lower-risk phase,” Arwady said Friday. “This is the time to open, when you’re on a significant decline like this. I can’t predict fully what we’ll see in the fall or the winter.
“… We felt that we shouldn’t wait. We’re ready to go now. … . We can reopen and, please, get folks vaccinated.”
People getting vaccinated is still the best bet for ending the pandemic, reopening businesses and having the world return to normal, officials have said. More people getting vaccinated also means there are fewer chances for variants of COVID-19 to develop and spread, which would endanger people and pose a threat to reopening efforts.
The vaccinations are free and do not require insurance. Anyone can call the city’s coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 to get more information on how and where to get vaccinated in their community.
In Illinois, about 5.6 million people of all ages — or 44.01 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — have gotten all their COVID-19 vaccination shots, according to state data.
Across the state, 42,852 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 11,708,874 vaccine doses of the 13,919,385 provided to them.
City data shows more than 1.2 million Chicagoans — or 44.9 percent of all residents — have gotten fully vaccinated. About 52.7 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot. Among Chicagoans 65 and older, 70 percent have gotten at least one dose, while 63.7 percent have finished their vaccination.
Another 11 people were reported dead from COVID-19 during the past day.
The most recent coronavirus victims included four people from Cook County, including two men in their 40s.
At least 22,974 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,412 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.
The state reported 365 cases since Monday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,385,854.
Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate held at 1.1 percent Tuesday with 36,408 tests reported. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests.
Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, fell slightly to 1.3 percent Tuesday. It was at 1.4 percent Monday.
As of Monday night, 791 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 226 people in the ICU and 117 people using ventilators.
In Chicago, 14 deaths and 104 confirmed cases were reported since Monday. There have been at least 5,407 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 284,984 confirmed cases, according to state data.
The city is seeing an average of four deaths per day, down from five per day the week prior.
An average of 91 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 42 percent decrease from the previous week. At the same time, testing has fallen 22 percent since a week ago.
The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 1.6 percent, down from 2.1 percent the week before.
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