Illinois Joins 2 States in Virtual Lockdown

Governor announces number of coronavirus cases has reached 585
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2020 4:02 PM CDT
Illinois Joins 2 States in Virtual Lockdown
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker holds a news conference Thursday in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a stay-at-home order Friday for Illinois residents, joining California and New York in announcing a virtual lockdown during the pandemic. Illinois now has 585 COVID-19 cases, the Daily Herald reports. "You have a right to the truth because you can bear it," Pritzker said. "My bedrock is to rely on science." The governor said exemptions for the state's 12.6 million residents apply to leaving home to perform a vital job, buy groceries or medicine, as well as exercise, per the AP. Pritzer said he made the decision after conferring with "medical experts, epidemiologists, mathematicians, and modelers." The three states now under similar restrictions have 70 million people altogether and include the nation's three largest cities.

Pritzker also announced the state's fifth death from the disease, a Cook County woman in her 70s, per the Chicago Tribune. Illinois patients ages 3 to 99 have been found to have the coronavirus. Chicago's parks and libraries will close at 5pm Saturday to comply with the order, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. "The coronavirus will not go away by happenstance,” she said. "Now is not the time for half measures." Pritzker said the state doesn't have "the resources, the capacity, or the desire to police every individual’s behavior," ensuring residents abide by the order, but was counting on them to be good citizens. (More coronavirus stories.)

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