With the state of Illinois prohibiting large-scale gatherings until more effective treatments for coronavirus are widely available, Gov. J.B. Pritzker says it is “highly unlikely” that the annual state fairs in Springfield and DuQuoin will be held this summer.
The annual state fairs have not officially been canceled yet, but the governor sounded a pessimistic note when asked about the fate of the events during his daily coronavirus press briefing Wednesday.
“I think it’s highly unlikely that we’ll be able to hold our state fairs,” Pritzker said. “I’ve been to the state fairs, like many people have, and many people would be packed together in buildings or even on pathways. So I do not believe that we’ll be able to open the state fair.”
The news comes on the heels of the state’s release of a phased reopening plan earlier this week. Under that plan, gatherings of 50 or more people will be prohibited until the final phase of the plan, which can only be implemented if a vaccine for coronavirus is developed and put into mass distribution, or if effective treatments of the virus are pioneered.
That news has already led to some cancellation of events, including the annual Pitchfork music festival in Chicago. Other events, like the Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza, remain in the air, and sporting events are also likely to be kept fan-free until a vaccine is available.
Even still, Pritzker did have one bit of optimism in his remarks, saying that he’s been impressed with the work scientists have already done to move the country closer to a cure, or effective treatment, for COVID-19.
“I’m very hopeful (that) we have many treatments that are in the works,” he said. “The researchers and experts are hard at work. Now there’s one that’s been emergency approved by the FDA called Remdesivir, and I hope there will be many others and maybe by the time these larger events roll around we might be able to have a treatment that’s very effective.”
Remdesivir, a drug originally used as an antiviral treatment for Ebola, has been found to help COVID-19 patients recover more quickly in some clinical trials, and the FDA has issued an emergency declaration allowing for more widespread use of the medicine.