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Illinois Gov. launches $5 million face-covering campaign

Illinois launched a $5 million advertising campaign on Monday to remind people to cover their faces in public to slow the spread of COVID-19, which has had a resurgence in the state since Gov. J.B. Pritzker loosened restrictions to help the state’s suffering economy.

Posted: Aug 3, 2020 4:52 PM
Updated: Aug 3, 2020 6:40 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois launched a $5 million advertising campaign on Monday to remind people to cover their faces in public to slow the spread of COVID-19, which has had a resurgence in the state since Gov. J.B. Pritzker loosened restrictions to help the state’s suffering economy.

The “It Only Works if You Wear It” ads will run in English and Spanish in a wide range of formats, including television and social media. They will be broadcast in real-time to areas of the state that have increased numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases in order to maximize the campaign’s impact, officials said.

The ads, which will be covered by federal coronavirus relief funds, prominently feature people in their late teens or 20s — a demographic that has been particularly hard-hit in recent weeks. They liken wearing a face mask during the pandemic to other common safety precautions, such as wearing a seat belt, life jacket or bike helmet.

“No one is asking you to wear a mask forever,” Pritzker said during a news conference. “But for the time being, until we see a very effective treatment or a vaccine, the best way to safely get to the other side of this emergency is for all of us to follow the mitigations recommended by doctors.”

Illinois has required people to wear masks since May 1 in public situations where it’s difficult to maintain 6 feet of distance. Experts say face coverings help protect wearers and those around them.

The campaign is likely to face a backlash from outspoken mask critics in more conservative parts of the state, such as in central and southern Illinois, where there were far fewer cases than in the Chicago area. Several counties have sued the Democratic governor over the requirement.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday urged officials in 11 counties that were listed in “warning level” status to toughen their public restrictions to try to slow upticks in the spread of COVID-19. Eight of the counties are in the far south of the state.

With Illinois’ case count dropping in late June, Pritzker lifted the most severe restrictions on social interaction, even re-opening bars and restaurants ahead of schedule, though with some safeguards still in place.

The numbers went right back up. The 10,593 new cases reported last week represented the highest seven-day total since late May and was more than double the 4,973 in the week the restrictions were lifted. The average number of daily COVID-19 deaths has dropped significantly, likely in part because it is infecting younger, healthier people who recover more easily and because health experts know more about how to treat the most seriously ill patients.

There were 1,298 confirmed new COVID-19 cases and 10 new deaths announced Monday, raising the state’s total number of cases since the pandemic started to 183,241 and its death toll to 7,526.

Although getting people to wear face masks is Pritzker’s main COVID-19 prevention focus, he said he won’t authorize noncompliance fines similar to those issued for not wearing seat belts.

“The first thing that we ought to do is ... warn,” Pritzker said. “The idea here is not to chase people down on the street and say, ‘Hey you’re not wearing a mask and I’m gonna throw a ticket at you.’”

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 368740

Reported Deaths: 9688
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1714375392
DuPage22100605
Lake20157508
Will17862426
Kane16211346
Winnebago9857179
St. Clair7814217
Madison7021154
McHenry6049120
Champaign594528
Unassigned4765270
Peoria443368
McLean404134
Rock Island388990
Sangamon374563
Kankakee331379
Macon283251
Kendall259528
Tazewell255953
LaSalle232063
DeKalb225142
Coles186438
Williamson183259
Boone179025
Adams176716
Clinton170926
Vermilion165310
Jackson151126
Whiteside132125
Randolph123815
Knox123116
Ogle11477
Effingham11394
Marion97617
Grundy9367
Franklin9308
Monroe90128
Stephenson9007
Jefferson89446
Bureau88117
Morgan86824
Henry8317
Christian80329
Macoupin77110
Union75125
McDonough72017
Lee6691
Fayette66622
Crawford6456
Shelby63812
Douglas6168
Livingston60810
Montgomery59515
Woodford58014
Logan5684
Saline5399
Warren4878
Bond4849
Iroquois47519
Fulton4731
Wayne47312
Jo Daviess4727
Jersey46721
Cass45911
Perry42116
Moultrie3965
Carroll3849
Johnson3400
Richland33016
Lawrence3248
Pike3234
Clay30213
Clark29811
Hancock2984
Mason2981
Washington2971
Greene28115
Cumberland2706
Jasper26010
White2594
De Witt2515
Mercer2446
Piatt2340
Pulaski2331
Wabash2185
Ford18711
Menard1731
Edgar1518
Marshall1483
Massac1472
Henderson1210
Alexander1171
Hamilton1142
Gallatin1062
Brown1050
Edwards1050
Scott1020
Putnam880
Schuyler881
Stark832
Calhoun670
Hardin530
Pope411
Out of IL90

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 157713

Reported Deaths: 4092
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25392789
Lake13805355
St. Joseph9277163
Elkhart8890135
Allen8278230
Hamilton6215113
Vanderburgh588261
Tippecanoe375915
Hendricks3302133
Monroe326638
Porter322049
Johnson3151129
Delaware297074
Clark296762
Vigo264840
Madison240595
LaPorte226658
Cass225522
Warrick195265
Kosciusko187826
Floyd180167
Howard164066
Bartholomew143358
Marshall140026
Dubois139626
Wayne132130
Henry128430
Grant127839
Boone124550
Hancock119944
Noble117434
Jackson114416
Dearborn98028
Morgan94840
Lawrence90837
Daviess89334
Gibson88612
Clinton86716
Shelby83531
LaGrange81015
Knox77410
Harrison77324
Putnam73716
Posey7236
DeKalb72011
Fayette69018
Steuben6338
Miami6305
Jasper6175
White59215
Montgomery59022
Greene55337
Scott52413
Decatur50739
Adams5027
Whitley4636
Clay4537
Ripley4538
Sullivan44414
Wells43511
Wabash4219
Starke4157
Orange40925
Huntington4015
Spencer3956
Washington3783
Franklin37625
Jennings36913
Fulton3653
Randolph3659
Jefferson3435
Pike33518
Carroll32913
Perry32614
Jay3116
Fountain3073
Tipton27823
Vermillion2531
Parke2374
Newton23011
Blackford2193
Rush2184
Owen2071
Martin2000
Crawford1591
Pulaski1562
Brown1433
Ohio1327
Benton1120
Union1110
Switzerland960
Warren841
Unassigned0234