CHICAGO – Gov. J.B. Pritzker in his daily COVID-19 briefing had harsh words for people who gathered on Chicago’s beaches and in parks during this week’s warmer temperatures.
“Right now, hosting a party, crowding down by the lake, playing a pickup basketball game in a public park. If you are doing these things you are spitting in the face of the doctors and nurses and first responders who are risking everything so you can survive. “
Meanwhile, Illinois saw the highest growth in reported cases in a single day since COVID-19 patients in the state have been tracked. There were 673 new cases, bringing the total to more than 2,500. The death toll is now officially 26.
Much of the boost in cases comes from additional testing results, and while the spread of the disease has been rapid – the state’s public health director says cases are “slightly under” original projections. But she says it’s too soon to say how the pandemic will play out in Illinois.
Meanwhile, J.B. Pritzker’s sister, former US commerce secretary Penny Pritzker, is heading up a fundraising organization – the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund — created to assist local nonprofit agencies.
The United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations banded together to launch the fund.
As of Thursday, Penny Pritzker says $23 million had been raised to be distributed to charities that provide food and shelter and other needs.
“The point is to get these funds out to the organizations and nonprofits as quickly as possible so we can help our most vulnerable residents who are feeling so much pain right now,’’ she said.
A steering committee will determine where to deploy the money. Governor Pritzker mentioned he and his wife M.K. donated $2 million dollars personally to the fund and another $2 million from his family foundation.