Pritzker slams president, as new Illinois COVID-19 cases again exceed 4,000
As Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker reacted to criticism from President Donald Trump of his restrictions aimed at fighting COVID-19, the Illinois Department of Public Health Sunday announced 4,245 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state, including 22 additional deaths.
Nine deaths were in Chicago, seven in suburban Cook County, one in Lake and another in Kane.
On CNN's State of the Union with Jake Tapper, Pritzker Sunday was asked about comments the president directed at him during a Saturday rally in Wisconsin. "Illinois could use a new governor," the president said. "That guy doesn't know what's happening. They got to open up that state."
Pritzker replied, "Well, frankly the president has made it nearly impossible for states to open up any more than they are now."
And he defended the state's performance, saying, "This pandemic has been around now for seven to eight months, and without much help from the federal government, we've been fighting it off. Illinois has one of the lowest positivity rates among the Midwest."
He said that the state is bordered by Wisconsin, which has a 27% test positivity rate. "Ours is about a fourth of that," he said.
Tapper pointed to things the president has done right, including ramping up efforts to find a vaccine, and pressed Pritzker for specifics.
Pritzker responded, "Well, you just saw one of them, which is he's modeling bad behavior. He doesn't wear a mask in public. He has rallies where they don't encourage people to wear masks in public."
Illinois broke its single-case record on Friday with 4,554 new cases, and the Illinois Department of Public Health also reported that 34 counties in the state were at warning level.
Pritzker said, "We're trying to continue to convince people to do the right thing, but it is the president's allies in our state, all across the state, who are simply saying to people, 'Don't pay any attention to the mitigations. Don't follow the rules.'"
He noted that there are bars and restaurants that are ignoring restrictions on indoor service and "just filling the place up."
Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 344,048 cases, including 9,214 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases during the last week is 5.3%. As of Saturday night, 2,012 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 408 patients were in the ICU and 157 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.