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Pritzker predicts smaller mid-May COVID-19 peak

Pritzker predicts smaller mid-May COVID-19 peak

Says president is ‘fomenting some violence’ with ‘liberate’ tweets

By JERRY NOWICKI
Capitol News Illinois
jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. JB Pritzker said Tuesday the state’s COVID-19 peak could come in mid-May and he is examining the current stay-at-home order for potential changes.  

The governor made the comments during a Washington Post Live interview with reporter Robert Costa.

Pritzker said people “have really been abiding by” the state’s second-in-the-nation stay-at-home order, which he said led to fewer deaths and hospitalizations than anticipated at this point. 

“And so the result of that has been the pushing out of what had been anticipated to be a peaking in the middle or near the end of April, so it's been pushed out now according to the models to maybe mid-May but at a lower level,” he said.

Pritzker was asked about differences in the Chicagoland area and downstate Illinois when it comes to fighting the virus, and he said there are different infection rates depending on region. That could inform changes to the stay-at-home order, the governor said, although he did not directly respond to a follow-up as to whether some counties might reopen before others.

“And now I think we can make some adjustments based upon hospitalization rates, based upon ICU bed availability, based upon infection rates, as we look to, how can we begin to adjust things and work toward — after the peak — really reopening the economy,” Pritzker said.

He was also asked about recent tweets from President Donald Trump calling to “liberate” certain states with Democratic governors.

“When he tweets out liberate Michigan or liberate Minnesota, or liberate Virginia, he's fomenting protest and I hate to say that is fomenting some violence and I'm very concerned about what that might mean for the country if he keeps doing things like that,” Pritzker said.

The governor said the president “should be pulling people together right now,” and he noted recent protests of stay-at-home orders nationwide will likely lead to a wider spread of the virus, including more deaths among those who attended the events.

“They're frankly going to be giving each other coronavirus and people unfortunately will get sick, and some people may die as a result of the president's rhetoric that has brought them out to protest,” he said.

While Pritzker praised the federal government’s efforts to help set up an alternate care facility at the McCormick Place convention center in downtown Chicago, he said they fell short in other areas. He once again said Trump could have used the Defense Production Act to force greater manufacturing of testing supplies and personal protective equipment. He said Illinois received “maybe 10 percent” of what the state needed from the federal government in terms of PPE.

“None of that has been done at the federal government level,” he said. “That's the mistake that has been made all along here, we could have organized this and led this on a federal level.”

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