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Chicago mayor defends joining pro-Biden crowd amid COVID-19 surge

Chicago mayor defends joining pro-Biden crowd amid COVID-19 surge
© Greg Nash

Chicago Mayor Lori LightfootLori LightfootDemocratic figures accused of hypocrisy on COVID-19 precautions Chicago mayor says COVID-19 vaccine faces 'reluctance' among African American communities McEnany hits Democratic leaders for not following their own COVID-19 restrictions MORE (D) on Friday defended joining the crowd that gathered in the city on Saturday to celebrate President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE’s win as the area experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases. 

 “I will tell you in that big crowd a week ago, everybody was wearing masks,” Lightfoot told MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle a day after she announced a 30-day stay-at-home advisory for Chicago, starting Monday. 

“Mask compliance in our city is actually up very, very high,” the mayor added. “Yes, there are times when we actually do need to have ... relief and come together, and I felt like that was one of those times.”

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“That crowd was gathered whether I was there or not, but this has been a super hard year on everyone. Everyone feels traumatized. They feel threatened, their safety, and they don’t know what tomorrow’s going to bring,” she said.

Lightfoot went on to emphasize the need for the new stay-at-home order, including guidelines urging Chicago residents to leave their homes only for essential activities, such as school or grocery shopping, not to hold gatherings with anyone outside of one's immediate household, avoid all nonessential travel and not to gather in person with friends and extended family on Thanksgiving. 

“With this new surge in cases, we have just got to step up and do the right thing, and I think people understand that,” she said. “Right now, the biggest risk that we’re seeing in our city is in these private spaces and gatherings. So, we want to support our economy as best as we can, but we’ve got to do the things that we know are necessary to save lives.” 

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Lightfoot also tweeted that the Chicago Department of Public Health “will be deploying approximately 2,000 City workers, including up to 550 contact tracers, and a network of hundreds of community-based organizations to reach at least half of all Chicago households.”

As of Thursday, Chicago had recorded a total of 125,549 confirmed coronavirus infections, with more than 2,000 new cases that day. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health had counted 551,957 confirmed cases as of Friday, with a total of 10,504 deaths as a result of the virus.