CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s top doctor, Allison Arwady, describes the new surge of coronavirus cases in the city as a grave concern, and it is not just happening in Chicago. Thursday Illinois saw the highest number of cases in a single day of testing at 4,015. The statewide positivity rate is now up to 4.9%.
One factor in the rise of cases is the weather. There is less room for social distancing as people do more inside than out, but another factor is people are getting tired of having their guards up. As so-called “COVID fatigue” settles in Chicago, the case numbers are beginning to climb.
Most concerning to the Chicago Department of Public Health is the seven-day rolling average, which now sits at 442 cases a day. That is a 32% increase from last week. Although the city has also ramped up testing by 16%, that only accounts for half of the puzzle, says Dr. Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
“The spread is people getting together in four people or six people, playing Monopoly, making dinner,” she said.
She said there are not major outbreaks today like there were before. The rise in cases is spread out across all ages and races, with the Latino community still sitting at the top with the most cases. The positive tests span across all zip codes in Chicago, with specific attention to the southwest, northwest and southeast sides of the city, as has been seen before.
So far studies have shown that wearing masks in public settings with strangers has done its job to curb the spread. The steady climb, Arwady says, seems to be happening in the places that feel like home.
“They’re tired of wearing their masks,” she said. “They’re tired of social distancing. They’re often letting their guard down, especially when they’re gathering with people in their households and their friends and family.”
Arwady fears if we don’t act now, this could be the beginning of the second surge we’ve been hearing about.