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Dr. Allison Arwady Identifies Household Gatherings Of Friends And Family As A Source Of Rising Coronavirus Cases

By Colby Smith

Dr. Allison Arwady Identifies Household Gatherings Of Friends And Family As A Source Of Rising Coronavirus Cases

The State of Illinois is now averaging at just above 4% of positivity rate.

Back in early July, the City of Chicago experienced a welcomed drop in coronavirus cases. However, since that moment, the city has seen its case numbers steadily rise. One key source of this rise, Dr. Allison Arwady explained Tuesday, has been home gatherings of friends and families.

On June 24, the City of Chicago transitioned into Phase 4 of the city’s reopening plan. In the “Gradually Resume” phase, the city permitted bars and restaurants to resume indoor seating at 25% capacity, as well as allowed zoos, museums, summer camps, and some performance venues to reopen.

At this time, Chicago is still in Phase 4; however, things have definitely changed. In response to growing case numbers, the city has rolled back on indoor seating at bars and restaurants, as well as established an Emergency Quarantine Travel Order on 22 states — including Puerto Rico effective August 7 — which mandates a 2-week quarantine period for incoming travelers or returning residents. Meanwhile, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has warned that the city would revert to Phase 3 of its plan, if numbers were to continue to rise.

One source of these rising cases, Dr. Allison Arwady points out, are gatherings of friends and families wherein people are “letting down their guard” and potentially spreading the virus:

“I know that you feel safe at home. I feel safe at home. I know that you feel safe when you are among friends that you know. It’s easy to let your guard down, to not wear masks, to not social distance,” Dr. Arwady said. “As people are letting down their guard, they are out potentially contracting COVID and then bringing it back into households.”

Dr. Arwady explained that people are 10 times more likely to contract the virus in the household rather than in public settings.

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She also observed the difficulty in enforcing measures like social distancing, wearing face masks, and other preventive safety measures outside the public setting, which has lead to increasing numbers.

“In private spaces, like households and social gatherings, the city of Chicago broadly can’t regulate that activity,” said Arwady. “And those are decisions that people are making on a regular basis.

The latest data shows that Chicago has reached a 4.8% positivity rate in cases of the virus, compared to 4.2% last week.

See also: Pritzker Launches $5 Million ‘It Only Works If You Wear It’ Mask Awareness Campaign

[Featured image: @kchance8 via Unsplash]