Governor J.B. Pritzker of Illinois has criticized people who attended a massive house party in Chicago despite the state's lockdown. Video of the party went viral online, with publications estimating the number of people in attendance from "hundreds" to 1,000.
Video of the party, posted to Facebook by Tink Purcell, shows what appears to be hundreds of young people packed into a single room. People are crammed in the room shoulder-to-shoulder, with only a few wearing face masks.
The video has since gone viral, with over two million views and thousands of likes and shares. TMZ reports that as many as 1,000 people may have been in attendance.
Gov. Pritzker blasted people attending the party during his Sunday press conference, calling it a violation of the state's stay-at-home order.
“By standing together, not social distancing and not wearing masks, you’re literally putting everyone around you in danger,” Pritzker said. “They’re putting you in danger, and very importantly, all of those people are putting their families and friends who are not there with them in danger.”
“First, you are asymptomatic, but you are a carrier,” Pritzker continuted. “And you might feel just fine, and you’ll go home, but you still might give it to people in your home. They’ll see your friends, you’ll feel fine, and then you’ll give it to more of your friends. And then, you are a spreader of COVID-19.”
“I would suggest that all of those people have violated not only the intention of the order that we’ve put out but also the trust of their friends and family,” Pritzker continued. “I want to remind everyone that standing together, not social distancing, many people not wearing masks, you’re literally putting everyone around you in danger.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was also critical of those in attendance. "What was depicted on the video was reckless and utterly unacceptable," Lightfoot wrote on Twitter.
"While most Chicagoans are doing their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19, reckless actions like these threaten our public health and risk erasing the progress we have made. We will hold those responsible accountable," the mayor added.
She went on to ask Chicagoans to report any house parties to the police.
Chicago police are looking into the incident, but have not been able to confirm details of the video.
“We have asked police and other law enforcement to remind people when they see them not following social distancing norms that they need to be doing those things,” Gov. Pritzker added. “If you’re putting the community in danger (at a party), that should be broken up.”
Unsurprisingly, the party was criticized by many online too. "I seen that video with that packed ass party in Chicago," one user wrote. "Y’all just won’t learn y’all lesson til this virus hits you or someone close to you."
Another added: "I don’t know why it’s so hard for people to get it in their head to stay home. Yet someone threw a f**king house party over the weekend? You guys are the reason social distancing keeps getting extended in Chicago. STAY THE F**K HOME."
While young people have the lowest hospitalization and death rates as a result of coronavirus, health experts fear that they are far more likely to be asymptomatic and pass the virus on to more vulnerable populations.
“What we are starting to see is that there are some people who are younger, people your age - young, healthy, vigorous - who don’t have any underlying conditions who are getting seriously ill,” Dr. Fauci said in March, according to Reuters.
“It’s still a very, very small minority, but it doesn’t mean that young people like yourself should say, ‘I’m completely exempt from any risk of getting seriously ill.’”
“You need to protect yourself because you are not completely exempt from serious illness,” he added.
“And you can become the vector, or the carrier of infection, where you get infected, you feel well and then you inadvertently and innocently pass it on to your grandfather, your grandmother or an uncle who is on chemotherapy for cancer.”
“That’s what we’ve got to be careful of.”
The best way to prevent contracting or spreading coronavirus is with thorough hand washing and social distancing. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit NAMI.org.