Illinois passes “a tragic milestone.”
On Thursday, January 7, the number of Covid-19 cases since the pandemic first began surpassed the 1 million mark. 8,757 new cases were reported on Thursday, taking the total count to 1,008,045. That figure is double the tally of 511,183 recorded on November 10, less than two months ago and November’s numbers were double those two months prior to that with the tally passing 250,000 on September 7.
Make no mistake, many parts of Illinois are improving and there are reasons to be optimistic for the year ahead but the latest milestone comes as yet another fresh reminder of how lethal and widespread this virus is and how we are still some way from controlling it.
Governor J.B. Pritzker remarked that the “tragic milestone” was “heart-wrenching” and called on Illinoisans to take extra caution in light of the hope we have for 2021. “Now that vaccine distribution is underway, we can see the light at the end of this difficult time, but the virus will continue to cause sickness & death in the months ahead. Let’s do everything we can to ensure that families & neighbors can get across that finish line healthy,” said Pritzker.
A surge in cases last spring paled in comparison to an aggressive fall and winter resurgence that affected every region of Illinois. Since last spring, however, Illinois has greatly expanded its capacity for testing which in turn means significantly higher daily positive tests and a higher count. On May 1, 2020, the average number of daily tests was around 13,500 tests while as of Wednesday, January 7, 2020, the daily average of tests being conducted in Illinois was close to 75,000, slightly down from a peak in November of around 100,000.
With this grim milestone, Illinois joins the more populous states of California, New York, Florida, and Texas as the fifth member to have passed 1 million cases.