(The Center Square) – An Illinois state representative says data and science show Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 mitigation, which was among the strictest in the nation, may have made the death rate worse in Illinois compared to neighboring states that had fewer economic restrictions.
Illinois is the tenth most restrictive state in the nation when it comes to COVID-19 mitigation, according to WalletHub. The consumer finance website ranked the states based on a range of factors like face mask requirements and workplace temperature screenings and more.
Illinois ranked No. 42 of all states and the District of Columbia. A detailed breakdown of some metrics for Illinois showed the state was 49th strictest for allowing restaurants and bars to reopn, 34th for reopening non-essential businesses and 26th for large gathering restrictions.
Illinois state Rep. Tony McCombie’s district is on the border with both Iowa and Wisconsin, which ranked No. 3 and No. 8 respectively for least strict states by WalletHub. McCombie said for months consumers have been going to neighboring states’ restaurants and other businesses, including herself.
“We were going over there if someone wanted to go for a cocktail or if they wanted to go for a meal, or if they wanted to go shopping, consumers will find a way and they did,” McCombie said.
She said based on numbers she’s reviewed, the more strict restrictions in Illinois haven’t helped the state’s COVID-19 death rate compared to neighboring states.
The CDC pegs the Wisconsin COVID-19 death rate at 106 per 100,000. WalletHub ranked Wisconsin eighth least restrictive on COVID-19 mitigation. Iowa, ranked by WalletHub at No. 3 least restrictive, had 148 deaths per 100,000. Illinois’ COVID-19 death rate was 163 per 100,000.
McCombie, who’s Illinois district borders both Iowa and Wisconsin, said it doesn’t appear the governor’s mitigation in Illinois did any good.
“Wisconsin is ranked 8 compared to Illinois’ 42, so it just shows you that the increase of restrictions did not do what the intention was,” McCombie said.
The same holds true for neighboring Missouri. WalletHub said the Show Me state was the seventh least restrictive. The CDC says Missouri had a COVID-19 death rate of 106 per 100,000 cases.
Kentucky ranked No. 26 per WalletHub. The CDC reported 77 deaths per 100,000. Indiana’s death rate was 144 per 100,000. WalletHub ranked the Hoosier state as the 20th least restrictive.
When comparing Illinois with neighboring states for total cases per 100,000, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin surpassed Illinois.
Another indicator of the impacts stricter mitigations are having on Illinois compared to neighboring states is the unemployment rate. Illinois’ unemployment rate is 7.6. That’s more than double Iowa’s unemployment rate of 3.1 percent and higher than all neighboring states.
McCombie said what’s clear is the economic damage the mitigations in Illinois have brought.
“The businesses around my area, whether it be a small community like Savanna or Thompson compared to Rock Falls or Sterling or in the Quad Cities, they just want to be open,” McCombie said.
While 10 of Illinois’ 11 regions Pritzker carved up as part of his reopening plan can now allow some indoor dining, meetings are still limited to no more than 25 to 50 people. depending on the region’s status. McCombie said that continues to practically block conventions and associated economic activity.