In a recent press conference, Mayor Lightfoot has announced that Chicago may very well revert to phase three of the city's reopening guidelines due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. According to new data, 18-29 year olds seem to be the group that is contracting the virus in high numbers. This is likely due to the failure to wear masks at bars, restaurants and social gatherings. Though many members of this age group are advocating on social media to wear masks in public, it is becoming apparent that people are not taking their own advice, as Chicago is approaching 200 new cases of COVID-19 per day.
It is important to recognize how far Chicago has come in terms of re-opening and working towards an improved economy. In the same sense, it is equally important to recognize the frustration of having to potentially move backward in these phases. Throughout the entirety of Chicago's quarantine, Mayor Lightfoot and Governor Pritzker have been working tirelessly to move our city forward, but have faced many obstacles due to the fact that there are simply some people who do not want to follow the rules. There have been opportunities for us to move forward in the past, but most of those opportunities have been delayed because of those who do not want to wear masks in public or follow proper social distancing guidelines.
Though it is disappointing to think that we might be losing our ability to visit places around our city, we as a community have no one to blame but ourselves. As a member of the age group that seems to be contracting the most cases of COVID-19 at this time, I feel that it is our responsibility to hold one another accountable when we see our friends and peers not following the rules. Just because you might be wearing a mask and social distancing does not mean others around you are doing the same. You may be asymptomatic, and could very easily be spreading the virus to others without knowing it. Aside from holding one another accountable, it is extremely important to self-quarantine if you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19. As a community, we must continue getting tested, and most importantly, we must not let our opportunity for "freedom" at this time get the better of us. Just because we can show up to a restaurant or bar does not necessarily mean that we should. I myself have engaged in some of these activities since entering phase four, but after reading Mayor Lightfoot's current update, I am taking the time to re-evaluate and hold myself accountable. Instead of eating out at a restaurant, I can order takeout or have happy hour at home. I can social distance outside with friends and family members while wearing a mask. I can do my part to keep myself and those around me as healthy and safe as possible.
If we want to see Chicago move in the right direction and get our economy back on track, we must all do our part in following the proper guidelines. This is not an individual effort, but rather a collective one. If we cannot do something as simple as wear a mask in public, we cannot expect to see improvements in our community any time soon.