Governor urges Illinoisans to wear masks

(The Center Square) – With rising COVID-19 case numbers around the state, Governor J.B. Pritzker is urging Illinoisans to wear a mask whether they are vaccinated or not.

On Monday in Aurora, Pritzker did not hint at a mask mandate, but said a mask should be worn in certain situations.

“If you are vaccinated or unvaccinated, but certainly, either way, wearing a mask indoors in a large event is a good idea,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker said the organizers of Lollapalooza were reasonable by asking attendees for vaccination cards before entering. The governor said last week he planned to attend the four-day music festival, but later decided not to go.

“It was also reasonable for people like me who got up near the date and decided I would rather not go just out an abundance of caution,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker’s decision also came in the wake of a recent document from the Centers for Disease Control which indicated that fully vaccinated people could spread the virus if they contracted breakthrough infections.

Provincetown, Massachusetts, was thrust into the national spotlight after it became the subject of a study that may have prompted the CDC to change its face mask guidelines.

Published Friday by the CDC, the study said 469 COVID-19 cases were identified in residents who traveled to that area between July 3 and July 17 and involved large public gatherings.

About 75% of those cases were among fully vaccinated people, a finding that suggests inoculated people can spread the virus. Five hospitalizations were associated with the outbreak, but no deaths.

“Almost 98.5% of people who are dying from COVID today across the nation are unvaccinated,” Pritzker said. “That should tell you something: Get vaccinated.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health reports 6.1 million Illinoisans 12 years and older are fully vaccinated, or 56.7% of the eligible population. IDPH reports nearly 7.9 million residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine, or 72.9% of the eligible population.

Illinois has seen a recent spike in the last week in vaccination rates.

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