'Quantum leap' in COVID cases puts Chicago reopening on hold

"We have over 400, almost 500 cases on average as of today. That's a quantum leap from where we were even three weeks ago," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

Video Transcript

CRAIG WALL: Rob, this surge that the mayor and public health director have been talking about for this past week or so, now getting worse and could dash hopes for easing restrictions just as the weather is getting nicer.

- The upward tick in COVID cases being driven by young people on the North and Northwest Sides are the cause for growing concern, the mayor says.

LORI LIGHTFOOT: We have over 400, almost 500, cases on average, as of today. That's a quantum leap from where we were even three weeks ago.

- But as the weather improves and more people grow weary of COVID restrictions leading to risky behavior, such as bar crawls, the mayor issuing a warning today about the upward trend in new COVID cases.

LORI LIGHTFOOT: That is concerning, and that is obviously dictating that we have to proceed with caution as we open up. We're not going to see anything more significant in the reopening front until we see those numbers stabilize and start to come down.

- Lightfoot says, she is excited about opening two new mass vaccination clinics on the Southwest Side of Chicago State University and on the North Side near Wrigley Field. It comes as the CDC announced that Chicago's vaccine allotment will more than double from nearly 16,000 this week to nearly 40,000 next week. Still, that is not enough to convince the mayor that Chicago will be able to comply with the state guidelines, which will open vaccine eligibility to anyone over 16 starting on April 12.

LORI LIGHTFOOT: I don't want to commit to something that we can't fulfill because we don't have enough vaccine.

CRAIG WALL: The mayor did say it was only coincidental that there will be a new mass vaccination site on the North Side where this recent spike in cases has been centered. Now, she says, they're focusing on working out the logistics for how both of those new mass [? vacc ?] sites will be run.