Lollapalooza kicks off as COVID-19 cases in Chicago rise

2021-07-29 23:36:10 GMT2021-07-30 07:36:10(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

CHICAGO, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Chicago's average number of daily new COVID-19 cases inched up to 190 on Thursday as the third largest U.S. city kicked off Lollapalooza, an annual music festival launched in Chicago in 1991.

The musical festival may attract hundreds of thousands of visitors, as it did in the past years.

Hours after Lollapalooza got underway, Cook County was added to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) list of areas experiencing "substantial" COVID-19 transmission. Cook County now joined DuPage, McHenry and Will counties in the Chicago area, and 80 others statewide, in meeting the threshold where masks are recommended for everyone indoors, regardless of vaccination status, the Chicago Tribune reported on Thursday.

The CDC announced the new guidelines Tuesday for counties experiencing "substantial" or "high" transmission, as the Delta variant of COVID-19 surges across the country.

The office of the Illinois Secretary of State announced on Tuesday to reinstitute mask policy in all Driver Services facilities, Secretary of State offices and the Illinois State Capitol Building starting from Aug. 2, as a result of rising COVID-19 cases recently.

At a news conference held on Thursday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she's concerned about rising cases but they aren't doubling at the same rate they did last spring or fall.

Lightfoot faces some criticism with regard to the hosting of Lollapalooza, although more than 90 percent of the festival goers have shown their proof of vaccination and 8 percent have brought proof of negative COVID-19 test, according to the organizer's data.

Lightfoot said earlier this week she would consider a mask mandate and other restrictions once the city returns to having at least 200 cases per day on average.

Chicago's average number of daily new cases was 185 on Wednesday and 117 over the previous week. Statewide in Illinois, 1,691 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday, bringing the average of new daily cases to 1,543, down slightly from Wednesday's average of 1,587. Enditem