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CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday said the city is now recommending that anyone over the age of 2 wear masks in public indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status.

The mayor made the announcement on Twitter and said the recommendation was based on current COVID-19 data. The mayor has previously seemed reluctant to pull the trigger on any new Covid restrictions and has instead pushed for vaccinations. The mayor called the vaccines the “most important tool we have right now.”

While Covid-related hospitalizations have more than doubled statewide since July 1, Covid patients only represent 4% of the total number of people hospitalized. Covid patients comprise 9% of occupied intensive care beds in the state. State health data show 977 Covid patients were hospitalized Sunday, an increase from the pandemic low of 380 on July 4 but a far cry from the pandemic peak of 6,175 Covid-related hospitalizations reported Nov. 20, 2020.

COVID-19 hospitalizations double but only account for 4% of Illinois patients 

Another important metric closely monitored by city and state officials is mortality. Chicago is now averaging just one death per day from Covid-related illness. Most days Illinois is seeing a statewide Covid death number in the single digits.    

On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city will soon require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations for indoor activities — making NYC the first big city in the U.S. to impose such restrictions.