By: Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s justifications for maintaining one of the strictest reopening schedules in the country are falling by the wayside. Even his own science and data are working against him. 

The data is overwhelming. Daily hospitalizations and deaths are dropping significantly. Hospitals are more than prepared for any new surge. The majority of COVID-related deaths are concentrated in a known, limited segment of the population. Illinoisans under the age of 30 have been spared by the virus. And the general population has been largely unaffected.

Illinois’ reopening plan has been pegged as the most strict in the nation and it’s continuing to destroy lives and livelihoods. Here are five of Pritzker’s own data points that show why he can reopen Illinois in a much more aggressive fashion.

1. Hospitalizations are down by half, deaths by 40 percent since their peaks

Data from the IDPH shows the COVID-19 situation in Illinois has been steadily improving. Downward-trending daily hospitalizations and deaths serve as convincing evidence for expediting the reopening of the state.

Hospitalizations are down to 2,365, less than half the peak of 5,036 on April 28. The actual peak of the virus was even earlier. Hospitalization lags infection by about 13 days, according to the CDC. This means the virus actually peaked sometime in mid-April. 

COVID-related deaths, a lagging indicator, have also been trending downwards. At its peak, the seven-day average for deaths was 117 on May 15. The most recent seven-day running average was 68 deaths, over 40 percent lower.

Both of these peaks occurred before Phase 2 even began, which was on May 1. There’s been no visible surge in hospitalizations or deaths since then. Illinois moved to Phase 3 only 12 days ago, so the impact of any further reopening remains unknown due to the lag effect of the virus. 

2. Illinois hospitals are fully prepared for a potential surge

Being unprepared for a surge in serious cases may have been a legitimate concern at the beginning of the crisis, but it no longer holds true today. Illinois now has more than enough hospital resources to tackle a spike, as evidenced in the following graphics. In fact, Illinois always had a surplus of resources, even during the peak of the virus. 

About 14,000 hospital beds are unused today, or about 39 percent of the state’s total supply. Illinois never saw an occupancy of more than 70 percent of its beds since the government began reporting hospitalization data on April 3.

More than 43 percent of intensive care unit (ICU) beds are also unused, totaling almost 1,700 beds. Illinois’ occupancy of ICU beds never exceeded 78 percent of its total, even during the peak.

And around 77 percent, or 4,500, of Illinois’ ventilators are currently unused. Illinois never used more than 46 percent of its ventilators since the beginning of April.

The combination of declining hospitalizations and abundant hospital resources should be comforting to Illinoisans preparing for the state’s reopening. It also eliminates one of Pritzker’s major excuses for stunting the reopening of Illinois’ economy.

3. More than half the state’s deaths come from retirement homes, facilities the state regulates.

Pritzker’s health officials knew from the beginning of the crisis that residents in Long Term Care (LTC) facilities, like nursing homes, were the most vulnerable. Much could have been done to prevent those losses at the onset, but wasn’t. Focusing on protecting residents in LTCs will be a far more effective way for Pritzker to mitigate fatalities than continuing to restrict the actions of the general public.

Long-term care residents make up just 1 percent of the state’s population, but they’ve contributed to 53 percent of all COVID-19 deaths. That’s 3,083 of the state’s 5,792 deaths as of June 5th. Fix the LTC problem and the number of new Illinois deaths will continue to collapse.

4. Illinoisans now know who’s most at risk, and they can take the proper precautions.

After three months of constant crisis, Illinoisans most at risk of dying from COVID-19 – those with pre-existing conditions – are now more aware of that risk. They’re far more likely to take precautions to protect themselves. And those at less risk know to be more cautious around that vulnerable population. 

Illinois doesn’t currently share its comorbidity data with the general public. Instead, Illinoisans depend on national and international data, which consistently shows that those with hypertension, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are overwhelmingly the targets of COVID-19. 

Wirepoints has provided the only comorbidity numbers available in Illinois. We ran our own calculations using the Cook County Medical Examiner death database and found that 91 percent of the county’s COVID-19 deaths had a comorbidity as a secondary cause of death. Those findings are consistent with those found across the nation and the world.

It’s irresponsible for Gov. Pritzker to continue to withhold comorbidity data from the public. There are still some people who may not understand their risk, which is why continued education and data are essential. 

5. Illinois’ school and university-aged population have been largely spared 

Illinois’ school- and university-aged population have seen few COVID-19 deaths, yet they’ll have been kept out of school for six months by the time September rolls around. Given what we know about COVID-19 and youth, there’s no reason to stop them from going back to school.

Only four Illinoisans under the age of 20 have died from COVID-19. At least two of them had pre-existing conditions. And just 21 youths aged 20 to 29 were victims of the virus. Sixteen of those had pre-existing conditions. 

While losing anyone to COVID-19 is a tragedy, fatalities under age 30 have been so rare that they shouldn’t be a reason for keeping Illinois’ nearly three million K-12 and college students from progressing with life.

Illinois is ready to reopen

Gov. Pritzker’s own data are working against him and his overly-restrictive plan. 

And it’s not just the data in Illinois. The CDC also says that under their “best estimate,” the infection’s fatality rate is just 0.4 percent. That’s far lower than the “crude” fatality rate implied by IDPH’s numbers. 

Doctors are also far smarter about and more prepared for the virus than they were two months ago. As the Wall Street Journal recently highlighted, hospitals are better at managing COVID-19 patients and have come up with increasingly more effective drug and medicine combinations to treat the virus.

Then there’s the crisis the shutdown is creating on the other side of the ledger. Over 1.2 million Illinoisans have filed for unemployment. Up to a third of all restaurants in Illinois may never reopen. 

Nationally, over half of all small businesses are expecting to shut their doors permanently. The consequences of the lockdown and the prolonged reopening are resulting in increased deaths from bad health, poverty, opioid abuse, suicide, domestic violence and depression

Add this all up and it’s clear Pritzker needs to relax Illinois’ existing rules and expedite Illinois’ reopening.

Read more about COVID-19 and the impact on Illinois:

52 Comments
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debbie
3 months ago

this governor is going to put us in a whole protestors don’t even work or pay taxes open business that do

John Small Berries
4 months ago

“Well, this parachute has slowed us down so we’re no longer falling at a deadly velocity. So there’s no reason to keep wearing it all the way to the ground!”

Mike
4 months ago

Pritzker Sucks website.

“Our team has been traveling Illinois and we have been to over 208 city’s, town’s and villages delivering our signs.

See when JB Pritzker decided to shut down Illinois, he also decided to take our means of income leaving our family and many others without income.

We nearly lost everything because of his actions.”

https://pritzkersucks.org/blog/f/traveling-illinois

Pritzker Sucks 18 x 24 sign shipped from Joliet is $16.

save on shipping within 10 miles of Joliet.

We're all in this together
4 months ago

To all the comments about the protesters, you call them hypocrites?

Protesting for human lives is a bit different than protesting for a haircut. You can bitch for “freedom” all you want, but clearly your bias is showing.

Chase Gioberti
4 months ago

They aren’t protesting for human lives. If they were they would protest their own people murdering each other every weekend. 18 last weekend.
 
You are a psychopath.
 

Read a book, Chase
4 months ago
Reply to  Chase Gioberti

People have been protesting about gang violence, gun control, and lack of political authority for decades.

Or did you forget about history?

debtsor
4 months ago

Exactly, protesting doesn’t work. It does nothing.
 
The black community would be better off if they stopped their criminals from committing a disproportionate amount of crime. It would keep more men in the home, keep them employed, help them pay child support, contribute to the community, not devastate their neighbors over petty grievances. I know that’s not PC to say, but it’s the truth. And not all black people – just the disproportionate amount of black criminals who commit a disproportionate amount crime.
 
That would be a good place to start.
 

Last edited 4 months ago by debtsor
Poor people tend to commit crime, regardless of ra
4 months ago
Reply to  debtsor

Yeah, and Unions never accomplished anything either…

Chase Gioberti
4 months ago

Well, in this state unions accomplished bankrupting a once great state, so there’s that.

In order to continue advancing their illogical arguments modern liberals have to pretend not to know things…

Chase Gioberti
4 months ago
Reply to  debtsor

I know it is embarrassing that 53 percent of homicides and 60 percent of armed robberies are committed by blacks who make up 13 percent of the population.

It’s embarrassing but statistics don’t lie.

Don’t want to interact with the police? Do engage in criminal activity.

In order to continue advancing their illogical arguments modern liberals have to pretend not to know things…

debtsor
4 months ago
Reply to  Chase Gioberti

6%. Because it’s just African American men. And it’s actually much less than 6%, because the overwhelming majority of african american are law abiding. It’s a small fraction of black men that commit the ‘disproportionate’ amount of crime, mostly other other black people. I’m not going to make broad generalizations about black men based on a small set of, mostly gangbangers, who commit all the crime. But regardless, that community needs to get its disproportionate number of criminals under control, because that seems to be the source of a majority of the problems and the problems that stem from that… Read more »

debbie
3 months ago
Reply to  debtsor

yea the whites are the minority we only have kids we can feed that not a pollical problem there issues became tax payers problems

debbie
3 months ago
Reply to  debtsor

no they want to live for free

Chase Gioberti
4 months ago

Not in a meaningful way. Whenever they do it is coded in opposing “systemic racism” (yawn). Not in opposing abhorrent black behavior.

Leftists always validate the Mamet principle, which is:

In order to continue advancing their illogical arguments modern liberals have to pretend not to know things…

Well done.

ad hominem (ad ho·mi·nem)
4 months ago
Reply to  Chase Gioberti

I love this, thanks for teaching me about the “Mamet principle” from a Hollywood hack. David Mamet is trash, but I’m so glad you look up to him Chase.

You sound like you are a pseudo-intellectual, I bet you have an MBA from a “prestigious” organization but you never really learned anything.

Good luck with your bias and bigotry, I’m sure you will go far in life.

Fred
4 months ago

So much opinionated stereotyping in so few words. Al Sharpton would be proud (if less concise).

Chase Gioberti
4 months ago

And here the Communist citizen of Chaz reaches the point where it has nothing else, so it resorts to “racist, homophobe, xenophobe” (yawn, yawn, yawn).
 
This stupid fool who is parroting the lines of Chaz. “Protestors” (good one). “Bias” (in every post). What does that even mean, Karen? Do you even know what “bias” means?
 
Not that you hadn’t removed all doubt already, but thank you for exposing yourself as a total fool. Well done. I salute you.
 

Poor little Chase. The world can't see your power
4 months ago
Reply to  Chase Gioberti

Oh Chase, I’m disappointed. Using “Karen” at me is rich. (Yawn) I am quite sure I am actually getting under your skin and as much fun as it is, I must bid you farewell. Before I go, I’ll leave you with this. You are transparent. No one is fooled by you and I’m very sure your North Shore family is detested. If you are lucky to have found a bride, I’m willing to bet her alcoholism will eventually be the death of her. Fool yourself in the mirror, but deep down your self-loathing catches up with you as you know… Read more »

Chase Gioberti
4 months ago

Again, what a stupid fool with nothing but ad hominem attacks. You haven’t cited one source. You’ve just dropped by and called people hypocrites and bigots. That is all you have done in half a dozen posts. You are a typical product of Chicago Public Schools.

debtsor
4 months ago

Whoa, that’s some serious drivel there. Insulting other people over political views on the internet is practically a national past time, but getting all personal like that is a bit over the line.

Admin
4 months ago

Offer comments of substance and skip the ad hominem attacks, please, especially over-the-top ones like that.

debbie
3 months ago
Reply to  Chase Gioberti

I hear you

MikeH
4 months ago

If we’re “in this together”, then please explain why our esteemed governor kept leaving the state during his own lockdown. Also, please stay on topic. We’re not talking “people who have been protesting for decades” and you know it. This is why we criticize you lefties so much. You people couldn’t debate your way out of a wet paper bag.

debbie
3 months ago

get a job

Concerned Illinoisian
4 months ago

Congratulations, you get to pick the people in your family that you want to die. Also, if you get sick please do not go to the hospital and ask for treatment because you clearly are in denial that this illness can be serious.
 
Unfortunately, without contact tracing and adequate testing, as well as actual treatment options (or a vaccine) you are just avoiding the inevitable surge again.
 
The metrics you do look at as reason for opening are so positive because of the steps taken. It’s not like the virus just up and left.
 
Caution keeps people alive.

MikeH
4 months ago

Your only concern is that those from your own party dropped the ball. And contact tracing will open up a whole other can of totalitarian worms. And you and your ilk will happily go right along with it, all the while repeating the mantra: “JB uses science. JB is love. JB is life”.

Chase Gioberti
4 months ago

You guys support Selective killing of the baby in the womb so why pretend that you care later on? Hypocrite.

Concerned Illinoisian
4 months ago
Reply to  Chase Gioberti

I follow the teachings of Jesus and I work for a religious organization helping people in need. My concern is for all people, so no, I am not a believer in abortion.

Do not make assumptions and learn to have compassion in your heart. We are all in this together.

Chase Gioberti
4 months ago

No, We are not in this together. This is repeated like a religious mantra and is rooted in collectivism and is a blast any lie bordering on religious belief.   We are not in this together. This country has never been more divided due to the lock downers and race rioters and Communists running around our streets.   People like you who want to snitch on your neighbors to the state are not in this with the rest of us. You would be in it with the East German Stasi. You obviously feel energized within environments that fuel tyranny.  … Read more »

MikeH
4 months ago

If you truly followed the teachings of Christ, you would be suspect of those who are telling you to be afraid. Those are the same people who pushed the abortion for all narrative that you claim to be against. Thus, you are either being disingenuous or you need to read more scripture.

flowerbomb
4 months ago

“Unfortunately, without contact tracing and adequate testing as well as actual treatment options (or a vaccine) you are just avoiding the inevitable surge again.” What happened to “flattening the curve” and how did that turn into “lockdown until vaccine” You have repeated Humpty Dumpty’s science and data sermon which has killed more people than the dreaded virus. The contact tracing is nothing more than a tie quarantining certain precincts and forcing mail in voting. This is not an ebola epidemic, it’s the flu. We do not quarantine healthy people and encourage healthy people to run get their free, non-authorized medical… Read more »

Chase Gioberti
4 months ago
Reply to  flowerbomb

In order to continue advancing their illogical arguments modern liberals have to pretend not to know things…

MikeH
4 months ago
Reply to  Chase Gioberti

And if they’re really that concerned with science, ask them why it is that humans go against the natural order of things by terminating unwanted pregnancies. Then ask them how all those ancient glaciers melted without human help. And finally, force them to mount a coherent defense that doesn’t involve either moving the goalposts or engaging in ad hominem attacks.

Then sit back and watch the fireworks.

Rudy Rotorhead
4 months ago

Many are bringing up the hypocrisy of JB joining the protest. I agree. Just don’t forget that prior to the protest he cowered at the prospect of going before the US Supreme Court over church gatherings. If he had a spine, it turns out (tragically) he actually would have won (disclosure: I am appalled at the ruling). The point is his bulls–t is not “science and data”.

Greg Stover
4 months ago

Pritzker is an idiot on a power-trip. He believes he has absolute control of his kingdom. People in Illinois are now basically ignoring fatboy’s orders. If the toilet king thinks he’ll get any votes in Southern Illinois, he’s really stupid.

Yoz
4 months ago

“Now, the World Health Organization says that it is “very rare” for asymptomatic carriers of the virus to infect other people.”
 
WHO pretty much retracted this as a general statement and clarified that they were more talking about which cases should be prioritized with respect to contact tracing.

Mike
4 months ago

Anyone ever see a local playground that had a bigger gathering than a protest?

Has anyone see Governor JB Pritzker at a protest lately?

Do as I say, not as I do?

Mike
4 months ago

Here’s the text on the sign.

“Wilmette Park District.

Playground Closure.

All Playgrounds are CLOSED until further notice, per Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order 2020-10.

Playground and park surfaces are not disinfected by park district staff.

Please practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings.”

debtsor
4 months ago
Reply to  Mike

My playgrounds opened up with a sign that said “Caution, contagion present”. Families tore down all the yellow tape the day after the large protests downtown. If tens of thousands can protest a fake issue, then my kid can play on the playground.

MikeH
4 months ago
Reply to  debtsor

“Contagion present” Good lord above, they’re grasping at straws here. New litmus test: avoid ANYBODY who takes these sorts of signs seriously.

Mike
4 months ago

Can’t take the kids to the playground parents and babysitters.
 
But you can take them to protest.

debtsor
4 months ago
Reply to  Mike

Daycares are still mostly closed too, causing major hardship. As if child care isn’t expensive enough, the state has increased the number staff needed and reduced the number of children per staff, and has mandated that all children wear masks. 3 year olds aren’t wearing masks all day, I’m sorry to notify you of that.

Richard Poo Millersky
4 months ago

Illinois has 217 home rule municapilaties, which can chose to extend the quarantine(s). 😑

Last edited 4 months ago by Richard Poo Millersky
Lilli parker
4 months ago

Pritzker himself was marching side by side with 100s of thousands of people in the streets. He broke his own orders. By default, he needs to open everything up, or he has to admit that he participated in gatherings that jeopardized the health of every single state citizen, and should be sued. Which one is it?

Marty Miller
4 months ago

But Porky BJ Pricktcer has his hands in the production of masks and breathing apparatus. Also in the testing kits and medical documentation field. So he’s in a hurry for the rest of us to get on with our lives and get back to work? Ha, ha, he’s in the windfall of new money. He’ll delay as long as possible, issuing his directives from his estate in …. Wisconsin or Florida.

Joe Citizen
4 months ago

Came back from my other home in Fla a week ago It’s like I stepped into a time warp – repressive and unnecessary. Are Gov. Big Boy and Mayor Beetlejuice punishing the citizens?
 
Open up – if you allow the “protesters” to congregate and run in packs, why hamper law abiding and peaceful folks?
 
Does opening up preclude your further political aspirations?

Marty Miller
4 months ago
Reply to  Joe Citizen

These two are shovel feeding us a big taste of socialism, hoping we’ll like it. They are in for a rude awakening. The Feds better make sure any Fed funds are attached with stipulations like account of all funds, to the penny, and the most important erasing the “sanctuary” from all policies.

Carol Cienkus
4 months ago
Reply to  Joe Citizen

He thinks he can mount a presidential run in 2024😂😂😂

Benicia
4 months ago

JaBba and his masters need (t)his disaster to get his hoped for helicopter money bailout.. Without the bailout the whole scam of state finances collapses.

Mark Felt
4 months ago

Never underestimate the stupidity of a politician. Pritzker is as stupid as he is wide.

UnclePugsly
4 months ago

The minute Pritzker joined in with the mob to march, all his excuses to maintain any form of lockdown went out the window.

Daskoterzar
4 months ago
Reply to  UnclePugsly

Yep and the mob will now loot the tax payers…again.