Chicago Mayor says “Covid fatigue” is actual, however requires house keep suggestions to be adopted
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told CNBC on Friday that she knows people are growing tired of coronavirus restrictions, but urged city residents to stick to her recommendation at home to avoid further deaths Prevent Covid-19.
The day before, Lightfoot issued a 30-day recommendation for the country’s third largest city, urging residents to only leave their homes for work, school and important trips, such as medical care and grocery shopping. It also urged people not to have guests in their homes and not to travel, especially for Thanksgiving. The city also imposed restrictions to limit gatherings to 10 people. Both announcements go into effect on Monday.
“The most amazing piece of information that motivated us to issue this report and the other components is that we will likely lose 1,000 Chicagoans to death if we do nothing by the end of the year,” said Lightfoot on Friday on Closing Bell. “That is not acceptable.”
Lightfoot’s recommendation comes because state and local officials in the United States are taking steps to tighten public health restrictions in response to the country’s worsening Covid-19 outbreak. Public health experts have warned that the epidemic will only get worse if steps are not taken to slow transmission.
“We say to people, ‘Look, we know you have Covid fatigue. We know you are sick of the various restrictions, but we have to do this for you, for your family, for your loved ones and for the whole city Chicago, “said Lightfoot.
According to a CNBC analysis of the Johns Hopkins University data, Illinois set a record for average daily cases of 11,829 on Thursday. That is around 55% more than a week ago. Illinois is one of 30 states that currently has a record average of daily cases.
In Chicago, the rolling case average is just over 2,000 per day, which is a 40% increase from a week ago, according to the city’s website. The 7-day average of positive tests – a key indicator of whether a local outbreak is intensifying – is now 14.5%. A week earlier it was 11.1%.
According to CNBC’s analysis of data from the COVID Tracking Project carried out by journalists in the Atlantic, the seven-day average of Covid-19 hospital stays in Illinois is 4,585. While this is not an all-time high, hospital stays are up 32% from a week earlier.
Rush University Medical Center in Chicago has so far been “okay” with managing hospital capacity during the current boom and can accommodate more Covid-19 patients, said its CEO, Dr. Omar Lateef, opposite CNBC on Friday. However, Lateef cautioned that health systems could become overwhelmed “so quickly and so dramatically,” a problem that is occurring in some parts of the United States such as Utah.
“We feel good for today. We have the capacity. We have the ability to sway,” said Lateef in “Squawk on the Street”. “We have the ability to enlarge beds as our community dictates, and we have the experience of the past to make sure we are ready.”
Unless coronavirus transmission in Chicago is slowed, additional measures may need to be taken, according to Lightfoot. “We may need to get to a point where we stay at home as opposed to a counseling session,” she said. “But psychologically … this is a big step for people. They are tired. They are angry. They are frustrated so we hope we can educate them to be compliant.”
She stressed the importance of avoiding indoor gatherings where the virus could be more easily transmitted.
“We see a lot of our case growth in these private settings. People abandon their guards at home. They go to weddings and funerals and they still have parties,” said Lightfoot. “Now don’t get me wrong, we’re seeing it all across the board, but these private settings are really the most difficult to regulate.”
– CNBC’s Nate Rattner contributed to this report.