As New York City now requires proof of vaccination for indoor activities such as dining, fitness and entertainment, could such a measure be implemented in Chicago?
According to the best doc in town, the answer may be, but not yet.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr Allison Arwady said Tuesday that although the city is “interested” in the idea, there are currently no plans to make such a move.
“I think at this point I’m definitely… we’re interested in it,” Arwady said. “We’re going to watch to see how it goes, but we don’t have a current plan to do something like this at the city level.”
Arwady noted that Chicago and Illinois were still working on the technology to implement vaccine proof on such a large scale, although she noted that such a requirement was “a very big decision.”
“I’m going to tell you that in New York there are a few things that are different. One is that I think they’ve embraced this vaccine passport idea a little more than what’s been adopted here in the Midwest. and in Illinois, ”Arwady said. “We worked with the Illinois Department of Public Health to make it easier for people to access their own immunization records, thinking of some behind-the-scenes work so that we could have a more standard way for people. to be able to show proof of vaccination, for example, because I think where you plan to do some of that potentially on a larger level, you want to make sure that it can be operationalized in a way that makes sense. ”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot echoed Arwady’s comments in a one-on-one interview with Telemundo on Tuesday, saying that as she watched to see how the New York move would go, “we weren’t are not ready “.
“Everything we do, we have to do in partnership with the companies that are going to be directly affected. As you know, our restaurants, bars and hotels have been significantly affected by the mandatory COVID-19 closures,” he said. she declared. noted. “We’re not going to take a step in any direction without having a collaborative conversation with them. It’s interesting that New York has decided to take that step, we will definitely be looking at it, but we’re not. willing to take that kind of … that’s a pretty drastic step. ”
Lightfoot and Arwady both thanked the city’s many restaurants that are already making vaccines a requirement and said they hope they have better technology for companies interested in taking similar action soon.
Enforcement of what’s called the “Key to NYC Pass” is scheduled to begin Sept. 13, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday. This will be its own digital platform, separate from the state’s Excelsior Pass, although the latter is also valid, as are paper vaccination cards.
“Climbing that ladder gives us more and more the ability to fight (against) the delta variant,” the mayor said on Tuesday.
He has made no secret in recent days of his intention to tighten restrictions on unvaccinated people.
“If people are still hesitant, we are going to climb that ladder faster and more. I think you are going to see more and more vaccine-only activity soon,” De Blasio said last week.
The move comes as the highly transmissible delta variant continues to boom in New York City unabated, now accounting for 72% of all positive samples – about triple what it was three weeks ago.
At the same time, virtually all of the major infection indicators in the city are also worsening, with daily confirmed and probable cases last Friday around 24% higher than they were a week earlier.
In Chicago, the average daily number of new cases reaches 234 per day, a 40% increase from the previous week.
That figure is also nearly seven times the lowest of 34 the city saw in late June, but remains significantly lower than the more than 700 cases per day the city saw earlier this year and last year, before the vaccines are not widely available.
Hospitalizations in Chicago are up 15% and deaths are up 60% from last week, according to city data. The positivity rate in the tests also reached 3.3% on Tuesday.
Arwady noted earlier this month that about 99% of new COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are in unvaccinated people.
“Certainly the cases are on the rise. The Delta variant is here,” Arwady said Tuesday. “We have seen it increase over the past few weeks. I expect this to continue and getting the vaccine is by far the most important thing to protect yourself. But as we go through this delta wave, as a reminder , we ask everyone, regardless of their immunization status, to put on this mask when you are indoors. “