SPRINGFIELD, iLL. (AP) – The number of new coronavirus infections reported in Illinois Wednesday fell below 10,000 for the first time in 13 days, but an analysis of data by The Associated Press shows an expeditious spread of the virus during the past 12 weeks.
There were 8,922 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, well below the 15,415 record set last Friday, but still significantly higher than at any time during the debut of the virus last spring.
The 140 deaths recorded Wednesday is among the 10 highest daily death tolls since the pandemic hit in February.
The extraordinary spread of the virus during its fall surge is clearly seen in the speed with which the state’s numbers hit milestones Wednesday, with overall cases topping 600,000 and deaths exceeding 11,000.
According to an AP analysis of Illinois Department of Public Health data, the virus infected 300,000 people within the first 212 days. To double that number to the current 606,771 took just 46 days, including eight days to jump from 500,000 to 600,000.
Similarly, the death toll is rising at rates seen in the worst days of spring. It took 51 days to reach 3,000 deaths, just 33 days to reach 6,000, 125 to hit 9,000, and 36 days to reach its 11,014. The latest 1,000 occurred in less than two weeks.
The enormity of the ongoing problem prompted Gov. J.B. Pritzker to put tighter restrictions on social interaction Tuesday. The so-called Tier 3 resurgence mitigations require retail stores to lower customer capacity to 25% from the current 50%, though grocery stores will be excluded and can operate at 50% capacity. Gyms will also be capped at 25% and indoor classes will no longer be allowed.
Illinois, which has operated under some sort of restrictions even during the summer when caseloads dropped, joined much of the rest of the nation in near “lockdown” status to prevent spread of the virus. Pritzker, who has been heavily criticized for the restrictions, particularly this fall when indoor dining and bar service was again restricted, warned that if the latest round of rules doesn’t cut down on transmission of the virus, the state may be in for another stay-at-home order, with which it was forced to abide for six weeks last spring.
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