Metrics to unmask Illinois still vague
Ears perked up Friday when Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he'd like to "remove masks as soon as we possibly can."
Why it matters: Falling Illinois COVID-19 cases (down 51% last week) and the controversy around school masking are putting increased pressure on the governor to present clear metrics for ending the state mask mandate.
Context: Illinois' indoor mask mandate is unique in the Midwest and followed by just eight other states: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Washington.
- Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have similar rules.
Driving the news: Gov. Pritkzer extended his emergency management powers Friday for another month through a renewed disaster proclamation.
- The declaration grants the governor broad powers to deal with the pandemic, including mask mandates.
The bottom line: State officials say a combination of factors, rather than specific metrics, will be considered to end the mandate.
- "We continue to look at the data, especially hospitalizations, to determine the right time to reduce mitigations," Illinois Health Department spokesperson Melaney Arnold tells Axios.
- "We are headed in the right direction and a change could be coming soon."
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