Let’s keep our foot on the gas against the coronavirus, Chicago — it’s working

If we don’t stay home, we risk losing the gains we’ve made, and quite possibly cause the virus to come surging back, needlessly endangering more lives.

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A barricade blocks a pedestrian walkway that leads to Lake Michigan. Despite a record number of deaths in Illinois announced Thursday, there is evidence that stay-at-home orders are flattening the curve of coronavirus cases.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

The coronavirus stay-at-home order hasn’t been easy on Chicago. But we can’t let up — or the bug could come roaring back.

We know it’s tough to be indoors. We see the economy cratering. We see the jobs being lost.

Statewide on Thursday, there were some grim numbers, too: Health officials announced that another 125 people had died from the virus. That’s the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in Illinois in a single day. The state also reported 1,140 confirmed new cases, raising the total to 25,733. More than 1,000 Illinoisans have died in all.

Despite this, Gov. J.B. Pritzker for days has signaled some optimism based on the doubling rate of infections slowing down. And his stay-at-home order is slowing the spread of the virus in Chicago — flattening the curve — City Hall says.

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration announced Wednesday that the city has seen 9,666 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 347 COVID-19 deaths as of this week. But the city could have suffered more than 62,000 COVID-19 cases and 2,000 deaths by now had Pritzker not issued his order on March 21 and had the city not closed its parks and lakefront, officials say.

“[W]e do think it’s important to let Chicagoans know why staying home is not just a catch phrase,” Lightfoot said, “but it’s something that we believe is vitally important from a public health standpoint.”

Staying indoors is also the best way we can protect the health of — and stand with — all the police officers, firefighters, nurses, doctors and others risking their lives.

Coronavirus Data

The numbers that tell the story: Our coronavirus data tracking

On our Coronavirus Data page, you’ll find a collection of graphs, charts and maps tracing the spread of the virus, tracking test results and plotting the impact on individual counties. Check back daily for updated totals.

New partnership could help

Also Thursday, Pritzker announced that he’s partnering with the governors of six neighboring states to devise a plan to restart the regional economy when the time looks right. States on the East and West coasts created regional task forces at least a week ago.

Warmer days are coming. Trees are budding. Birds are singing.

This stay-at-home business is going to get tougher than ever.

But we’d be plain stupid to walk away from this fight just when we’re beginning to win. Like the front page of our paper says, “Stay home, stay safe, stay six feet apart when you must go outside.”

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com.

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