Gov. Pritzker launches ‘It Only Works If You Wear It’ mask campaign

Since the start of the pandemic, Illinois has reported a total of 183,241 cases, including 7,526 deaths.
Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 10:56 AM CDT
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(WIFR) -- Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced the launch of a new public awareness campaign aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 on Monday morning.

You can watch the announcement LIVE here. Since the start of the pandemic, Illinois has reported a total of 183,241 cases, including 7,526 deaths.

As of Sunday night, 1,418 virus patients in Illinois were being treated in hospitals, including 347 patients in intensive care, and 132 on ventilators. The statewide COVID-19 hospitalization rates have been relatively flat since late June.

However, Gov. JB Pritzker has warned that the recent upward trend in overall cases and positive test rates could force him to reinstate stricter health guidelines in some regions of the state, such as ordering bars to close, or to mandate that restaurants and other businesses reduce capacity, in order to slow the spread of the virus.

Eleven counties in Illinois — Cass, Gallatin, Jackson, Jo Daviess, Johnson, Perry, Randolph, Saline, Sangamon, St. Clair, and White — have been placed on a “warning level” for COVID-19, meaning tighter restrictions could be imposed if infection rates and hospitalizations in those counties continue to increase.

The governor said those counties recently have seen outbreaks tied to businesses that aren’t enforcing mask requirements, school graduation parties and other social gatherings, people packing into bars without observing proper distancing, and clusters in long-term care facilities.

“As much as we’d like it, this virus isn’t going away on its own. So we have to take responsibility. We have to take collective and individual action to protect the people that we love,” Pritzker said Monday morning, as his office announced a new public awareness campaign, reminding Illinois residents to wear masks in public.

The $5 million “It Only Works If You Wear It” campaign will include ads on TV, radio, billboards, and social media in communities with the greatest risk from the virus, according to the governor’s office.

“Every day we do things that keep us safe, like buckling a seat belt, or putting on a bicycle helmet. A mask is no different. It only works if you wear it. So always wear a mask when you’re out in public to protect yourself and others. Keeping it in your pocket, or wearing it just around your neck doesn’t work. It’s really that simple. It only works if you wear it,” Pritzker said.

Illinois has required people to wear masks in public since May 1.

“We’ll continue to need them until this pandemic is over,” Pritzker said. “No one is asking you to wear a mask forever, but for the time being, until we see a very effective treatment or a vaccine, the best way to safely get to the other side of this emergency is for all of us to follow the mitigations recommended by doctors: wash your hands, watch your distance, wear a mask whenever you’re out and about.”

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