Chicago floats rolling back coronavirus reopening, with mayor 'extremely concerned' about 2nd wave

New COVID-19 cases in the city are at the highest point since May

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday that the city may have to hold off on further reopening, as recent statistics indicate they could be experiencing a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

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According to a press release from the city, new cases rose to 500 per day, an increase of more than 50% over the past two weeks and the highest level since May.

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"The date is clear -  we are now in a second surge of COVID-19 and I am extremely concerned," Lightfoot said in a statement. "Now is the time to double down on what we know works and come together as a city to flatten the curve once again. Everyone must do their part to keep themselves and others safe and help us overcome this deadly disease."

Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady called on residents to wear masks when going out in public and to avoid even small social gatherings. The city's announcement said that "drastic but necessary" measures could follow in the near future, such as a "rollback" of business reopenings and potentially reverting to Phase Three of their reopening process.

"This is about saving lives," Lightfoot said at a Monday press conference. "It's about saving your life and the life of someone you love and you care about, and the life of your neighbor and the life of our city. We can't get through this without being in this together."

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More than 3,000 Chicago residents have died from COVID-19 so far, and recent trends have Arwady concerned, as not only are cases on the rise, but hospitalizations and positivity rates have both increased.

Chicago's Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a science initiative event at the University of Chicago in Chicago, July 23, 2020. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski

"I'm deeply concerned about these trends and worried that we've got some COVID fatigue setting in where people are following the public health guidance as they should," Arwady said. "This virus doesn't care who you are, it's just looking to spread, and if we give it the opportunity to do so it will."

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Arwady said that the pandemic has continued to disproportionately affect Black and Latino people, but noted that the rise in COVID-19 statistics applies to people of all backgrounds.

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