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As many as one in 15 Chicagoans has active COVID-19 right now

Chicago's top doc urges locals to stay home and avoid gathering.

Morgan Olsen
Written by
Morgan Olsen

As the city's confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to climb, Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady shared a startling new statistic in a press conference this afternoon: An estimated 125,000–180,000 Chicagoans have active, infectious COVID right now, which means that as many as one in 15 Chicagoans is infected today.

If you're looking at the city's latest stats, which note that just over 25,500 people are actively infected, you might wonder how Dr. Arwady came up with those figures. Thanks to local and national data, health experts now "know that about five to seven times as many people as have been tested actually have COVID-19," according to Dr. Arwady. She also noted that the curve we're seeing now shows no signs of flattening, which means we could have as many as 4,000 new cases per day in the next few weeks.

"That is why the risk of gathering is significant. It's why we've recommended that you not have anybody over into your home right now that doesn't need to be there," Dr. Awardy says. "... If this is a visit that can be delayed, it must be delayed at this point. The risk is just too high, and we know that particularly in homes, people tend to put down their guard and we see COVID spread." 

This information comes in conjunction with the city's latest emergency travel order update, which now includes 48 states. Of course, Dr. Arwady also reminded Chicagoans about Mayor Lori Lightfoot's current stay-at-home advisory as well as the city's recommendation that locals cancel traditional Thanksgiving plans.

"I ask you—please—take this seriously, do the things that you know work: wearing a face covering whenever you're leaving your home, washing your hands, keeping that 6-foot distance, protecting people who are at higher risk for severe outcomes, not having anybody over to your home and, right now, staying home as much as you can."

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