With Wisconsin’s case numbers and positivity rates on the rise, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blasted Republicans who sought to roll back the state’s coronavirus mitigation measures.
Speaking at a press conference after Wednesday’s virtual City Council meeting, Lightfoot criticized the Wisconsin GOP for “politicizing” health and for putting party politics over the safety of the public.
“Wisconsin is what happens when you politicize public health. It’s chaos,” she said. “The governor put a lot of measures in place to keep people safe, and a highly-politicized group took the case to a stacked state Supreme Court that struck down everything the governor was trying to do to keep the state safe, and what have we seen? Chaos.”
Lightfoot’s comments come as Wisconsin announced that it is opening a field hospital because of an increase in the number of coronavirus cases statewide. Last week, Wisconsin reported the third-most new coronavirus cases in the country, trailing just Texas and California in that category. The state is also reporting one of the nation’s highest rates of cases per 100,000 residents, and the country’s fifth-highest positivity rate.
“The fact a state is having to open a field hospital because of the explosion of cases requiring hospitalizations is a disgrace, and it is solely tied back to the actions of a partisan state legislature and a partisan Supreme Court,” she said. “Public health should never be politicized. Those partisans put their party over public health. It’s shameful, and voters in Wisconsin should take note of that.”
In early May, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court overturned Gov. Tony Evers’ “safer at home” order, voiding nearly all of the restrictions the state had put into place as it tried to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, state Republicans are suing to try to eliminate the state’s mask mandate during the pandemic.
According to recent figures compiled by NBC 5 Investigates, Wisconsin reported nearly 17,000 new coronavirus cases over a 7-day span, the third-highest total in the United States over that timeframe. The state is reporting 41.4 new cases per 100,000 residents, trailing only North and South Dakota in that category.
Dr. Allison Arwady, the head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said that she’s “really worried” about Wisconsin, and that she has heard from Chicago residents concerned about Wisconsin’s lack of restrictions and lack of compliance with CDC guidance.
“We’ve heard from many folks who move back and forth between Illinois and Wisconsin, and people up there aren’t wearing masks as broadly as they are here,” she said. “I’m worried.”