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)

Cases: 1680908

Reported Deaths: 28023
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook63626111214
DuPage1086211379
Will915681128
Lake802871090
Kane68604874
Winnebago41222561
Madison40178598
St. Clair36326599
McHenry34856331
Champaign27087197
Peoria26991368
Sangamon25818287
McLean23073220
Tazewell20689331
Rock Island18919362
Kankakee17959249
Kendall16268114
Macon15344252
LaSalle15078287
Vermilion14453201
Adams13188152
DeKalb12201134
Williamson12091175
Whiteside8328183
Jackson810494
Boone796583
Coles7918125
Ogle759290
Grundy741386
Franklin7339115
Knox7321169
Clinton7136102
Macoupin6988106
Marion6935144
Henry666177
Effingham6639100
Jefferson6573143
Livingston599498
Stephenson587893
Woodford578492
Randolph5563100
Christian536682
Fulton527977
Monroe5258103
Morgan5088100
Logan495675
Montgomery492882
Lee479760
Bureau444291
Saline436169
Perry433975
Fayette432464
Iroquois422577
McDonough374861
Shelby349848
Jersey336953
Lawrence335533
Crawford333730
Douglas328437
Union307748
Wayne304863
White280833
Richland280157
Hancock274435
Clark266940
Cass266531
Pike265658
Edgar260649
Clay259854
Bond257525
Ford246059
Warren244866
Carroll237138
Moultrie236333
Johnson229732
Wabash217319
Jo Daviess216629
Massac216551
Mason214452
Washington212928
De Witt206530
Greene205640
Mercer205036
Piatt202814
Cumberland190126
Menard172513
Jasper161621
Marshall141721
Hamilton134222
Schuyler108810
Brown106610
Pulaski104612
Edwards104118
Stark81828
Gallatin7939
Alexander73212
Scott7126
Henderson70914
Calhoun6932
Hardin60916
Putnam5674
Pope5566
Unassigned1342433
Out of IL140

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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

Cases: 1007681

Reported Deaths: 16470
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1355212121
Lake664101166
Allen57993801
Hamilton46350465
St. Joseph44397615
Elkhart35949510
Vanderburgh32251480
Tippecanoe27933260
Johnson25107445
Hendricks23897359
Porter22929365
Madison18748409
Clark18557252
Vigo17479303
Monroe15263200
LaPorte15173250
Delaware15073263
Howard14748290
Kosciusko12348148
Hancock11728176
Bartholomew11639180
Warrick11292189
Floyd11108215
Wayne10986253
Grant10082220
Morgan9472176
Boone8926115
Dubois8271131
Henry8229152
Dearborn822393
Noble8031106
Marshall7939135
Cass7546121
Lawrence7457171
Shelby7189119
Jackson698289
Gibson6597115
Harrison649192
Knox6421106
Huntington6395100
DeKalb632399
Montgomery6264111
Miami593398
Putnam581278
Clinton576171
Whitley565755
Steuben562576
Wabash5332104
Jasper532079
Jefferson511297
Ripley500586
Adams482576
Daviess4677114
Scott438974
Greene425196
Wells424888
Clay423360
White418764
Decatur4169102
Fayette406587
Jennings387361
Posey376644
Washington359151
LaGrange359078
Randolph3452100
Spencer340243
Fountain335760
Sullivan329452
Starke317171
Owen314771
Fulton312667
Orange293664
Jay284645
Franklin265643
Perry265452
Rush262432
Carroll261934
Vermillion258654
Parke231426
Pike229243
Tipton228159
Blackford193142
Pulaski183757
Crawford159823
Newton158348
Benton150617
Brown146747
Martin138719
Switzerland135011
Warren121116
Union107016
Ohio84613
Unassigned0540