For the second day in a row, Illinois officials are urging the public to fight back against so-called “coronavirus fatigue,” saying that vigilance and buy-in will be required to turn back the recent increases in COVID-19 cases and positivity rates in the state.
During a press conference Tuesday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that while individuals in rural parts of the state may not have been personally touched by coronavirus during the initial surge of cases in March and April, the newest numbers show that the cases are now widespread across the state, and that individuals will now need to “pick their guard back up” in the battle to stop the spread of the virus.
“We need to make sure that people hear the message again, because it’s personal to people,” he said. “When they hear from a local doctor, when they see that their local hospital is getting fuller, and that people are getting sick and having long-lasting symptoms, it’s real to people.
“Although people feel fatigue from this, and I know we would all like to go back to our lives before we heard the words COVID-19, the truth is that we are going to have to tough this out a little longer,” he added.
Pritzker had sounded similar notes during his press conference Monday, saying that it’s time to start doing little things again to keep from getting worse, including getting flu shots and wearing masks.
“If you’re getting tired and you’ve let your guard down, now is the time to pick it back up,” Pritzker said during a press conference Monday. “Things are now getting worse. Now is the time to wear a mask wherever you go, get your flu shot, forego unnecessary trips or gatherings, and take extra care to stay six feet away from others, especially in public.”
In remarks made Monday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot echoed similar sentiments.
“I understand that a lot of sacrifices have been made over these many months, and I understand the fatigue factor that people have,” she said. “But folks, given what we’re seeing, and the incredible escalation of the rates of cases every day, this is not a time where we can indulge in COVID-19 fatigue. This is a time for us to be more diligent and more determined to fight this deadly disease.”
Pritzker and Lightfoot’s warnings come as the state of Illinois sees a significant surge in both coronavirus cases and positivity rates. The state has reported more than 26,000 new cases of the virus in the last seven days, a new record for a seven-day span. The state also reported that its seven-day positivity rate has surged upward to 5.5%, the highest that number has been since early June.
Mitigation strategies have been implemented in four healthcare regions across the state. Region 1 in northwestern Illinois has already had new restrictions put into place on indoor dining and tavern service, while Region 5 in southern Illinois will have those restrictions added on Thursday. Regions 7 and 8, located near Chicago, will have restrictions put in place Friday.