CHICAGO — Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle joined health officials Wednesday morning to mark a grim pandemic milestone.
The Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the county’s 11,000th death due to COVID-19 Tuesday night, more than 16 months after the first fatal case of the virus was confirmed here.
Top doctors are saying almost all recent deaths and hospitalizations of Covid in the county are unvaccinated people.
“At this point nearly every death, hospitalization that we are seeing is entirely preventable. If we work together, if we continue to mask, if we get vaccinated and encourage others to do the same, we can bring Covid to a standstill,” said Dr. Kiran Joshi.
Even with the more contagious and possibly more deadly Delta variant making its way through the population, Cook County Department of Public Health says vaccination rates have not increased in the county.
Doctors are seeing more younger people contracting Covid, and it continues to disproportionally impact people of color.
Regardless of vaccination status, Cook County is strongly encouraging students and teachers to mask up this fall, as well as encouraging people to wear masks inside public places.
The county continues to push vaccines at a local level, meaning they are trying to bring the vaccine into populations with low vaccination rates.
Preckwinkle said the last two Covid deaths in the county were a 31-year-old Black man and a 28-year-old Latino man who were both unvaccinated.
“No matter your age, no matter how healthy, you are susceptible to the virus. It could kill you and it will most certainly leave devastated family and friends behind,” Preckwinkle says.