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New UK COVID-19 variant case means Chicago should hunker down, not reopen

For Immediate Release

Public health officials announced today that  a new UK COVID-19 variant case was identified in the city. The U.K. variant is believed to spread more easily, leading to more infections. 

The new, more contagious strain was first identified in the United Kingdom in September of last year. Since then, it has led to cases skyrocketing across the island nation, which caused Prime Minister Boris Johnson to impose a strict lockdown.

In response, Illinois PIRG Director Abe Scarr made the following statement:

“With Chicago’s first confirmed case of the U.K. COVID-19 strain, we should assume the variant has already started spreading throughout our city. 

It’s a mistake to think we can start opening up again. Although vaccines are rolling out and a more robust federal response could be on the way, we are still several months away from vaccinating most of the public. In the meantime, to keep people healthy and save lives, we should not allow for high-risk activities like indoor dining.

This is a dangerous time for our city and state, and preventing unnecessary deaths must remain our top priority. Finding the new U.K. variant in Chicago means to stop the spread of the virus, we should redouble safety efforts, not ease them.”

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