‘We’re so close’ to a vaccine


Gov. J.B. Pritzker is pleading with Illinois residents to just “hang in there” and be vigilant in the remaining months before a COVID-19 vaccine arrives.

Illinois’ Tier 3 mitigations take effect at midnight and are in effect for at least two weeks. In that time, the state will track the positivity rates and hospital capacity metrics in regions over a 14-day monitoring period to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigation should remain in place. The new restrictions affect the personal care, fitness, manufacturing, retail, hotel, bar and restaurant, recreation, business, and recreation sectors.

With news that multiple companies are nearing a vaccine that would be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Pritzker said he understood the fatigue Illinois residents were feeling but begged them to continue vigilance.

“We are close, folks. We are close,” he said. “You can see the vaccines are coming. If you could just hang on. Just wear your mask, keep your distance, get a flu shot, we’re gonna get there.”

Pritzker expressed some optimism over the daily case count and other COVID-19 metrics beginning to slow.

On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced 14,612 new cases of COVID-19, attributing 168 additional deaths to the virus.

Pritzker also announced the state would give $60 million to community-based groups that will send the assistance to rural communities, Black and brown communities, elderly residents, people at or near the poverty line, undocumented immigrants, people experiencing homelessness, LGBTQ individuals, the disabled, disconnected youth, and people with limited English proficiency.

The groups, called community health navigators, will be responsible for providing the assistance in what Pritzker said was an effort to reduce the burden these groups shoulder during a pandemic. They would be assisting in contact tracing in these underserved communities.

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