Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is defying the rest of Illinois and refusing to open up COVID-19 vaccinations to all people 16 and older due to a “quantum leap” in cases.
Democratic Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker had announced that everyone ages 16 and older can get the vaccine beginning April 12, according to ABC News. The move follows nearly all other states and Washington D.C., which have pledged to expand vaccine eligibility to all people 16 and older by May 1.
“We have over 400, almost 500 cases, on average as of today,” Lightfoot said at a Wednesday press conference, according to ABC News. “That’s a quantum leap from where we were even three weeks ago.” (RELATED: REPORT: Lightfoot Used $281.5 Million In COVID-19 Relief Funds To Pay Chicago Police)
Data from the city of Chicago shows that the seven-day rolling average test positivity rate is 4.6%, which is up from the prior week’s seven-day average of 3.4%. The seven-day average for new daily cases is 519, a 41% increase from the prior week.
“We’re not going to see anything more significant in the reopening front until we see those numbers stabilize and start to come down,” Lightfoot added.
The mayor said on Twitter people should continue to follow guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and not be “reckless.” She called the current case numbers “unacceptable.”
The numbers we’re seeing now are alarming and we must move quickly to get them down. Folks, the pandemic is not over. Warmer weather is not an excuse to make reckless decisions. Please continue following public health guidance.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) March 30, 2021
“The numbers we’re seeing now are alarming and we must move quickly to get them down,” Lightfoot said Tuesday on Twitter. “Folks, the pandemic is not over. Warmer weather is not an excuse to make reckless decisions. Please continue following public health guidance.”
Pritzker and Lightfoot have disagreed over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic multiple times over the past year, ABC News reported.
In October 2020, Pritzker banned indoor dining and bar service in Chicago following an uptick in new cases and hospitalizations, but Lightfoot argued those businesses needed to stay open to support the economy. Pritzker also overruled Lightfoot in March of 2020 and ordered all state schools to close, despite the mayor’s concerns about children’s safety and getting enough to eat.
Lightfoot said she will not open up vaccine eligibility in Chicago until more doses are sent to the city, according to the report.