Pritzker says Illinois may be ‘bending the curve,’ but crowd limits likely last into summer

Coronavirus

Illinois health officials reported 1,344 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 66 additional deaths related to the virus Thursday, as Governor JB Pritzker says there is early evidence the state is beginning to “bend the curve” of infections.

While the number of infections and deaths continues to rise, Pritzker said they appear to be growing more slowly.

“Our rate of rise is looking less and less exponential, that indicates to us that we are in fact bending the curve, there is even some evidence that we may be moving towards a flatter curve – but we need to keep watching the data on a daily basis,” Pritzker said Thursday.

Whatever progress is being made, Pritzker acknowledged “it’s still up in the air” whether the number of cases in the state are peaking.

“The curve is still upward trajectory, and so just because we’re bending the curve doesn’t mean it’s bending down yet, so people need to understand it’s unlikely we will be able to lift this stay-at-home order before April 30,” Pritzker said.

Even once the order is lifted, Pritzker said there will likely still be some restrictions meant to prevent a new spike in cases and hospitalizations from occurring, including limitations on crowd sizes. That puts the future of major events like like Lollapalooza, sports and even the Fourth of July in question.

Watch Above: Governor JB Pritzker, health officials provide update on the spread of COVID-19 in Illinois and the latest state measures Thursday

“I think everyone needs to think seriously about cancelling large summer events. From my perspective today I don’t see how we’re going to have large gatherings of people until we have a vaccine which is months and months away,” Pritzker said.

Cases of COVID-19 have now been confirmed in 81 counties across Illinois, with Hancock, Pulaski, and Schuyler counties reporting their first cases Thursday.

The latest statistics from the Illinois Department of Public Health indicate there are total of 16,422 confirmed cases, and a total of 528 people have died from coronavirus-related causes. A total of
80,857 tests have been performed statewide.

Unemployment claims in Illinois jumped nearly 13% last week, with 201,041 new claims largely attributable to the spread of the coronavirus. The jump breaks a record set just a week earlier at 178,421.

Nationally, another 6.6 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to the US Department of Labor. American workers continue to suffer from job losses, furloughs and reduced hours during the coronavirus pandemic. The federal government says it expects to begin making payments to millions of Americans under a new economic stimulus law by next week.

In Indiana, state health officials said Thursday 42 more residents have died from COVID-19, marking the largest single-day jump in the state’s death toll. However, officials say the deaths occurred over multiple days. The state’s health agency also reported an additional 430 confirmed COVD-19 infections, increasing its total to 6,351 cases and 245 deaths.

In Chicago, the first CPD officer to die from complications of COVID-19 will be remembered with a private burial service Thursday. Marco Di Franco, 50, was a 21-year veteran of the department who worked on the narcotics team.

A person who attended a birthday and a funeral in the city earlier this year may have left 16 people infected with coronavirus, three of whom died, according to a new study by the CDC.

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