Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has criticized a lead doctor with the White House's coronavirus taskforce for classifying the Chicago area as one of the top "hotspots" for cases in the nation.
At a news conference Friday, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, classified the D.C. Metro area, Baltimore, Chicago and Minneapolis as the regions with the highest COVID-19 positivity rates in the United States. Those areas have positivity rates under 20 percent compared to most metropolitan regions where positivity rates are under 10 percent, she stated.
Lightfoot disputed the claims outlined by Birx and said data doesn't support the doctor's assertions.
However, the same day, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, acknowledged Cook County has the most coronavirus cases of any county in the U.S.
"Some of that is because we're a big county," the city's top health official stated at a briefing with reporters. "Some of it is because we've had a big outbreak."
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A total of 68,949 cases had been confirmed in Cook County as of Friday afternoon with 40,465 of the above-mentioned cases in the city of Chicago.
Arwady stated that for the first time, Chicago is seeing a decline in cases overall as well as the "beginnings of decline" concerning cases in the city's race and ethnic groups.
Despite the progress, Arwady cautioned that much still needs to be done, and the city continues to see "many, many new cases." For instance, 973 new cases were reported in a 24-hour span from Thursday to Friday.
"Everything is trending cautiously in the right direction," Arwady said. "...We're keeping an eye on it, but feeling confident that we are are starting to get on the other side of our peak."