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Pritzker: Should be no large gatherings until there is a vaccine

Pritzker: Should be no large gatherings until there is a vaccine

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CHICAGO — Gov. JB Pritzker said Thursday that the rise in new cases of COVID-19 isn't as steep as it was which may indicate progress in trying to fight the spread of the disease.

But during his daily virus update, Pritzker also delivered sobering news. He said the virus could pick up steam again next fall and winter and that people need to seriously consider canceling large gatherings planned for this summer.

"I think everybody needs to think seriously about canceling large summer events," Pritzker said. "From my perspective today, I do not see how we are going to have large gatherings of people again until we have a vaccine, which is months and months away. I would not risk having large groups of people getting together anywhere. I think that's hard for everybody to hear, but that's just a fact."

State officials announced that there were 1,344 new cases of coronavirus reported Thursday bringing the total in the state to 16,422. The virus has now been reported in 81 counties after Hancock, Pulaski and Schuyler counties all reported their first cases.

Deaths from the virus topped 500 with the report of another 66 fatalities. The total now stands at 528. Fifty-seven of the new deaths were reported in Cook and the surrounding counties.

Pritzker repeated the information from Wednesday that rise in new cases and deaths is not as steep as it had been.

"Our rate of rise is looking less and less exponential," Pritzker said. "That indicates to us that we are, in fact, bending the curve. There is even some evidence that we may be moving toward a flatter curve, but we need to keep watching the data on a daily basis. Keep in mind that our case numbers and the death toll are still growing."

That means, Pritzker said, that people must continue to be vigilant and practice social distancing and continuing to stay at home as much as possible to help control the spread of the virus.

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