Gov. J.B. Pritzker defended his stay-at-home order and incremental plans to reopen, saying Sunday that Illinois residents have to change the way things are done until COVID-19 is “eradicated.”
The Democrat's comments on CNN’s “State of the Union” came as he faced a southern Illinois salon owner's lawsuit, criticism from some Republicans who deem his plans an overreach and a Chicago Tribune editorial accusing him of being “cautious to the extreme.”
Pritzker dismissed the criticism Sunday.
“The truth is that coronavirus is still out there,"' he told CNN. “It hasn’t gone anywhere. And so we all are going to have to change the way we do things until we’re able to eradicate it.”
While the number of hospitalizations have mostly remained mostly flat, Illinois continues to report a high number of daily cases and deaths. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
Pritzker said Illinois has been testing far more than other states, surpassing 20,000 daily tests Friday. The governor first issued a stay-at-home order in March, which has been extended to the end of May with some restrictions eased, including the reopening of some state parks. He released a five-phase plan Tuesday making reopening contingent on meeting certain metrics, with the last phase allowed only if there's a vaccine or an effective treatment.