COVID-19 cases are once again skyrocketing across the country — including in Chicago.
The city is now averaging 165 new cases per day, a 76% increase since last week. The case positivity rate is also growing, while about 52% of all Chicagoans have now been fully vaccinated.
Amid this surge in cases, Lollapalooza is set to begin Thursday.
The four-day music festival is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people to Grant Park, and many are concerned it could become a “superspreader” event.
But city officials are defending the festival, and say it will go on as planned.
“When you look at what can we do to make a setting as safe as possible, Lollapalooza has really tried to do that,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, head of Chicago’s public health department. “We’re in a place, certainly, of some concern, but we’re not in a place to be shutting things down yet.”
Arwady says appropriate measures are being taken by Lollapalooza organizers to make sure festival attendees stay safe.
“Lolla in this case really said yeah, we’re going to do this the right way, we’re going to make sure folks are either vaccinated or have had that negative test,” she said.
But the parameters for entry with a negative test have changed since the festival’s return was announced earlier this year.
Originally, the city announced a negative test would be required within 24 hours of arrival at the event, if an attendee was not vaccinated. Now, Lollapalooza’s website says the window is 72 hours.
— Heather Cherone (@HeatherCherone) July 26, 2021
Arwady says overall, it’s less about a specific time frame and more about concertgoers being proactive at reducing the spread of COVID-19.
“We want to make sure that they’ve had a test, but for me the hour window is not as important as making sure that they’ve done the work of ensuring they have a negative test, and then they’re not having symptoms,” Arwady said. “The main thing we want is for folks to get vaccinated, and we have seen lots and lots and lots of people get vaccinated.”