As Illinois COVID-19 deaths top 6,000, expert warns against 'coronavirus fatigue'
The number of Illinoisans dying from COVID-19 rose by 95 Tuesday, officials said, bringing the total fatalities to more than 6,000.
Cases of the respiratory disease grew by 797 in the last 24 hours, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported. Meanwhile, the seven-day positivity rate for COVID-19 tests is at 4%, reflecting a continued downward trend; on May 31 the rate was 7%.
Statewide, fatalities from the virus number 6,018 and cases stand at 129,212.
Asked if the hot weather will bring down COVID-19 infections, physician Michael Bauer said the evidence doesn't bear that out.
Instead, weeks of staying at home with continued physical distancing and wearing masks are working to tamp down the spread of the virus, he said.
Not everyone's following the rules about masks in public situations, and that's a sign of "coronavirus fatigue," said Bauer, medical director at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital.
"The virus is not over, but there are people who are over it," he said.
Tuesday's deaths report reflects a jump from the 14-day average of 79 fatalities a day. However, the additional cases are less than the two-week average of 1,144. The state's recovery rate is 92%.
So far the Northeast region that includes Cook and the collar counties is on track to enter Phase 4 of a five-phase, four-region restoration program on June 26, lifting more COVID-19 restrictions. On May 29, the state lifted a stay-at-home order and entered Phase 3.
People now may gather in groups of 10 or fewer; in Phase 4 that would expand to 50 people or fewer, allowing movie theaters to open with regulations.
Asked about concerns that more people mingling together, including massive protests against racism recently, will cause a surge in COVID-19 this summer, Bauer said that's unlikely.
"I do not anticipate another wave from that," Bauer said, adding that cases had an uptick after the Memorial Day weekend but subsided.
The number of people hospitalized in Illinois for COVID-19 has dipped from 3,336 on May 29 to 2,573 as of Monday, with some fluctuations, according to the state health department.
As of Tuesday, state data showed the Northeast region had a 9% COVID-19 positivity rate based on the last seven days; the state metric to achieve Phase 4 is 20% or less. Hospital admission rates are down and 32% of general hospital beds are available, which also meet state requirements.