A Chicago city employee has died of COVID-19, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Wednesday.
“This sobering moment should remind us that the numbers we report every day are not mere statistics,” Lightfoot said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “They are people whose lives have been forever changed, and a network of people connected by crisis who need us to do everything that we can every day to save lives.”
Lightfoot asked the media to refrain from reporting on personal details of the case until all family members were notified.
The past week has seen Lightfoot playing a dual role as good cop/bad cop, issuing both stern pleas and friendly reminders to Chicagoans to stay at home to stall the spread of COVID-19.
On Thursday, Lightfoot closed Chicago’s lakefront beaches and parks, admonishing residents who took advantage of good weather last week to gather outside.
“Congregating on our lakefront, to be blunt, is going to create a risk that is unacceptable and could lead to death. That is why we are taking these actions and going back and saying again: dear god, stay home, save lives,” she said.
The move immediately spawned dozens of Lightfoot memes on social media, featuring a frowning photo of the mayor guarding public spaces across the city.
Chi Party Aunt is not wrong. https://t.co/AmnjdR8slS
— Mayor Lightfoot #StayHomeSaveLives (@chicagosmayor) April 1, 2020
But Lightfoot has embraced the memes in recent days, and struck a more playful tone in a video her office released Monday. In it, the mayor is featured in various scenes around her home, asking Chicagoans to “Stay Home, Save Lives.”
Speaking on NBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday morning, Lightfoot emphasized the gravity of the pandemic in Chicago — but also offered a few notes of hope.
“We are seeing a continued increase in the number of cases, which we expected based upon our modeling,” she said. “But what we are also seeing is the lengthening of time between the doubling of cases. It’s too soon to make any real predictions, but it seems like we’re starting to trend in the right direction.”