By Marie Saavedra

CHICAGO (CBS) — Five Chicago neighborhoods are getting called out by Mayor Lori Lightfoot because of a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases among younger people. They are Lincoln Park, Old Town, Portage Park, Old Irving Park and Dunning.

It has always been people under 40 that many have worried about — those who might still be going out or being lax about protecting themselves. And now on what feels like the 10 yard line of this pandemic, the city believes that attitude is making more of them sick.

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“We have a very high rate here. I don’t know why people don’t realize it,” said 38th Ward Ald. Nicholas Sposato.

His ward is at the top of the list no one wants to be on. On a call with reporters Thursday afternoon, Lightfoot outlined what she called an “alarming uptick” in cases in people 18 to 39. She then highlighted those five neighborhoods of particular concern. Dunning and Portage Park are under Sposato’s care.

But why the jump in cases?

“‘I”m infallible. I’m 18 to 29. I’m going to live my life. I’m going to go to events. I’m going to go to a bar or a restaurant,'” Sposato said of the thought process he thinks people in that age bracket have.

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It’s a group not widely eligible for the vaccine yet, but they are spreading the virus the most. In 18- to 39-year-olds from last week through Thursday the COVID-19 positivity rate grew from 2.8% to 3.6%.

They’re also the sickest in the city. Of the 1,930 cases recorded in the last week, 630 were from those 18 to 29, followed by 421 cases from those 30 to 39.

It’s a cliché reminder, but the city’s sharing it: We are not out of the woods yet. The worry is these numbers are showing it, and they could get worse.

“That’s all I can think of. They’re not as careful as they should be,” said Sposato.

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He said he is trying to fight these numbers by advocating for more vaccine specifically for his communities. The mayor warned earlier this week she will stop easing COVID-19 restrictions if the numbers continue to climb.

Marie Saavedra