Surgeon general: Chicago among ‘hot spot’ cities for virus


A woman walks across the usually busy Columbus Drive that splits Chicago’s Grant Park in half, on the first work day since Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker gave a shelter in place order last week. Pritzker says Illinois is not receiving enough medical supplies in its fight against the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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CHICAGO — Chicago is among several large American cities identified as hot spots for COVID-19 infections and will see the number of local coronavirus cases rise, the U.S. surgeon general said Friday.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on “CBS This Morning” that he is hopeful New York, which has reported a nation-high 519 deaths and more than 44,000 confirmed cases, will see cases begin to come down next week. But he warned that Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans “will have a worse week next week.”

Cases in Chicago and suburban Cook County account for about three-quarters of Illinois’ 2,538 total as of Thursday afternoon. Chicago and suburban Cook County authorities have reported 18 deaths linked to the coronavirus, among 26 statewide.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coordinator for the coronavirus response, also mentioned Cook County as an area of concern on Thursday.

Earlier Thursday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned that 40,000 people could need treatment at hospitals in the coming weeks as she ordered the city’s lakefront trails and adjacent parks shut down.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and death.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order requiring residents statewide to stay at home took effect Saturday. People can still go out for essential errands and to exercise. Essential industry employees also can keep going to work.

The city is working to re-open a shuttered hospital to take pressure off healthcare workers. Chicago has partnered with hotels to provide thousands of rooms for people with mild cases who do not require hospitalization but could still spread the virus at home.

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