Story at a glance

  • Lollapalooza has led to more than 200 reported COVID-19 cases, Chicago health officials said Tuesday.
  • Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said at a news conference Tuesday the number of cases is within the expected range.
  • “No sign of a ‘superspreader event,’ she added.

The massive annual music festival Lollapalooza has led to more than 200 reported COVID-19 cases, Chicago health officials said Tuesday. 

Yet Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said at a news conference Tuesday, the number of cases is within the expected range, ABC10 reported

“Nothing unexpected here,” Arwady said. “No sign of a ‘superspreader event’. But clearly with hundreds of thousands of people attending Lollapalooza we would expect to see some cases.”

Around 385,000 packed into the windy city music festival that began two weeks ago, leading to criticism that the gathering could be seen as a COVID-19 superspreader, but Arwady told reporters Tuesday a larger spike in cases would have already occurred if that was the case. 

“We would have seen a surge if we were going to see a surge at this point,” she said.

Arwady said the officials are continuing to investigate potential cases. 

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) previously defended the city’s decision to move forward with the festival as the delta variant surges across the U.S. Lightfoot said that officials applied stringent measures, including proof of vaccination, to all attendees. 

“We checked with them every single day, multiple times a day. We had our people at the screening checkpoints. And I will tell you Dr. [Allison] Arwady, the public health commissioner, kind of went a little bit incognito, didn’t have all her paperwork right and they wouldn’t let her in,” Lightfoot told local radio station WVON, according to The Chicago Sun-Times.

“Every single day, they turned hundreds of people away — either who didn’t have the right paperwork or had an expired test that wasn’t [taken] within 72 hours,” Lightfoot added. That tells me there is a rigor around the protocols that they were using to screen people.”

Among attendees who tested positive, officials reported that 80 percent are under 30, 138 are from Illinois and 58 are from Chicago. 

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Published on Aug 12, 2021