Skip to contents
Downtown

More Than 200 Lollapalooza Attendees Got COVID-19 — But It Wasn’t A Super-Spreader Event, City’s Top Doc Says

"We would have seen a surge if we were going to see a surge, at this point," Chicago Dept. of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said.

CHICAGO — Chicago’s top doctor said 203 people who attended Lollapalooza tested positive for COVID-19 in the two weeks since the event began at Grant Park.

Chicago Dept. of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the results do not indicate Lollapalooza was a super-spreader event, saying officials predicted seeing about 200 new cases.

Arwady, in a Thursday morning briefing, said 127 vaccinated people who attended Lollapalooza later tested positive. An additional 76 unvaccinated people who attended tested positive.

Arwady said more positive test results could still come in from other jurisdictions, but because of the amount of time that has passed, she does not consider it a super-spreader event.

“We would have seen a surge if we were going to see a surge, at this point” Arwady said.

“There’s no evidence of a super-spreader event, and there’s no evidence of substantial impact to Chicago’s COVID epidemiology.”

Arwady said the city used a “conservative estimate” that 88 percent of the 385,000 attendees were vaccinated. That calculates to 0.04 percent of vaccinated people later testing positive — about 4 in 10,000 people.

Of the unvaccinated, 0.16 percent later tested positive, she said. That is about 16 in 10,000 people.

Of the positives, 58 were Chicago residents, 138 were non-Chicago Illinois residents and 7 were from out of state. She said the city, in surveying for the results, took a broad view of potential infections and counted anyone who tested positive and had been at the festival.

“We’re not saying all of these folks were infected at Lolla,” she said.

No hospitalizations or deaths were reported, she said.

Of the 58 Chicago residents infected, 13 told surveyors they attended Lollapalooza “on or after the day their symptoms began,” Arwady said.

“This is a really important reminder we need everyone in Chicago not to ignore symptoms, assume it’s a summer cold, regardless of your vaccination status,” she said. “Because we know vaccines are not 100 percent effective.”

The news surprised those who were expecting a surge following the large event. Arwady said the department came to the 203 number based on surveys, contact tracing, emergency room visits and by consulting with other health departments.

The city has been criticized for its lackluster contact tracing program, but Arwady said the city did an extensive investigation into cases linked to the festival.

Vaccinations:

• In Illinois, about 6.5 million people of all ages — or 51.26 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — have gotten all their COVID-19 vaccine shots, according to state data.

• Across the state, 27,611 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 13,463,308 vaccine doses of the 15,223,455 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.44 million Chicagoans — or 53.8 percent of all residents — have gotten fully vaccinated. About 59.1 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot.

COVID-19 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.

The numbers:

• Twenty-four Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 since Wednesday.

• At least 23,575 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,500 deaths are probably related to the virus, accordingw to the state.

• The state reported 3,114 cases since Wednesday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,454,208.

• Since Wednesday, 71,820 tests were reported statewide. In all, 27,536,684 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate was at 5 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 5.1 percent Wednesday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 5.8 percent. It was at 5.7 percent Wednesday.

• As of Wednesday night, 324 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 152 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, three deaths were reported since Wednesday. There have been at least 5,539 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of more than two deaths per day, a 29 percent increase from the week prior.

• Chicago has had 343 confirmed cases reported since Wednesday. It’s had a total of 294,269 confirmed cases. An average of 364 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 39 percent increase from the week prior.

• At the same time, testing has increased 27 percent since a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 3.8 percent, up from 3.5 percent the week prior.

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, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Already subscribe? Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation. 

Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” here: