(The Center Square) – Illinois won’t be restriction-free until there is an effective treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan, but it’s not yet clear on how long that could take.
There were distinct timelines laid out in the governor’s reopening plan to move from Phase 2 to Phase 3 and then to Phase 4. But to get to Phase 5, when all restrictions would be lifted, there needs to be an effective treatment, a vaccine or widespread immunity.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker reiterated what many health professionals across the country are finding.
“The federal government provided us with Remdesivir to distribute and we did and it’s actually been somewhat effective from what we understand for hospitals that have used it,” Pritzker said.
Another drug, hydroxychloroquine, which was touted by President Donald Trump, didn’t perform as well. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently removed its emergency use pronouncement for COVID-19.
Pritzker urged hospitals across the state to take part in research trials for treatments.
“We’re not making decisions about therapeutics at the state level,” Pritzker said. “That’s really going to be an FDA decision and of course there’s a lot of trials out there that are ongoing.”
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, a Republican from Oregon, said during a congressional hearing Tuesday that health officials are “building the plane as they fly” to manage the crisis.
“We released the first recommendations on testing and surveillance three weeks ago and are preparing to release recommendations on therapeutics and vaccines very soon,” Walden said.
Pritzker said he wants everyone to get a vaccine, but said he’ll consult with the White House’s top expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on the issue.
“I have been in somewhat regular touch with Dr. Fauci, not on this subject particularly, but in my next conversation with him I’ll certainly ask him what he thinks the right kind of measurement on goes first is because I really value his opinion,” Pritzker said.
Fauci told a U.S. House committee this week a vaccine could be ready by the end of this year or early next year.