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Gov. Pritzker pushes back on reopening plan criticism, says he’s ‘going it alone’

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker appears on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning. | Photo: CNN.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he is ‘going at it alone’ and not counting on the federal government for COVID-19 assistance, as he emphasized that Illinois will not reopen until the state meets his standards.

Pritzker appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” program with Jake Tapper Sunday morning.

“I have not been counting on the White House because there have been too many situations in which they made promises not delivered,” Pritzker said, adding “We’re going it alone, as the White House has left all the states to do.”

He said that the White House recently promised to send 620,000 testing swabs and 465,000 viles of viral transport media.

The shipment was scheduled to begin arriving in early May but was delayed. It is expected to arrive on Sunday, Pritzker said.

A study conducted by Harvard University shows Illinois needs to do at least 64,000 tests a day to begin reopening.

Pritzker promised that Illinois will continue to grow testing on their own. He said that Illinois is imitating Massachusetts’ contact tracing program, which is crucial to reopening the state.

“We think we can have a massive contact tracing effort up in the next few weeks,” Pritzker said.

The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board wrote an editorial on Wednesday criticizing Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan.

“He’s being more than just cautious. He has moved the goal posts… Pritzker’s state goal was to ‘get the outbreak under control’ — not eradicate COVID-19 completely… We don’t want his pursuit of the perfect outcome to unnecessarily delay the restarting of activities,” the board said.

Pritzker responded to the board’s editorial by saying they “did not read the plan.”

“The truth is, coronavirus is still out there. It hasn’t gone anywhere. We all are going to have to change the way we do things until we’re able to eradicate it,” he said.

“If the Chicago Tribune thinks everything is going to go back to normal without us having a very effective treatment, or a vaccine — they’re just dead wrong,” Pritzker added.

Illinois is currently in phase two of Pritzker’s five-phase plan. The earliest any of the state’s four regions could move into phase three would be May 29.


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