Mar 26, 2020
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker Coronavirus Briefing March 26
J.B. Pritzker: (00:00)
… child, someone you don’t know, someone’s spouse or loved one. Folks, we live in a free country, and we all want to maintain our freedoms even in the context of our stay-at-home order, but I am begging you, please, if you don’t have to be out, stay inside. If you go outside, please find a place to go that is not crowded. For the sake of everyone’s health, follow the social distancing guidelines that we talk about here every single day. Stay six feet apart, and don’t gather in groups of 10 or more. Right now, hosting a party, crowding down by the lake, playing a pickup basketball game in a public park, if you’re doing these things, you are spitting in the face of the doctors and nurses and first responders who are risking everything so that you can survive. We are quite literally in the middle of a battle to save your life. Every day, I look at the number of positive cases of tests conducted of deaths. I pour over hospital capacity and bed utilization and availability of ventilators and stocking of PPE and increasing the number of makeshift ICU beds around the state. My staff and I work to chase down literally every lead for personal protective equipment, and your public workers are engaged in this activity every single day all across our state. Right this moment, emergency workers are delivering new containers of nearly a million units of personal protective equipment like masks and gloves to healthcare workers in Edwardsville, in Champaign, and in Peoria, and every day, I asked myself, “What other measures can I take to help the spread of this virus?”
J.B. Pritzker: (01:58)
To be very clear, this virus doesn’t care that you’re bored and that you want to hang out with your friends. It doesn’t care that you don’t believe that it’s dangerous. The virus could care less if you think that I’m overreacting. It has infected infants. It has killed people in their 20s and 30s and 40s. It has forced doctors around the world to make terrible decisions about who will live and who will die.
J.B. Pritzker: (02:27)
If you get a loved one sick because you didn’t stay inside, they will have to travel alone to the hospital without you by their side to comfort them and look after them because hospitals and healthcare centers can’t afford to accommodate visitors right now. I don’t tell you all this just to scare you. I tell you this to save your life. We all have to own our actions right now, all of us. Ultimately, you’ll be judged by what you do in this moment. I have one job, and one job only, to save as many lives as possible, to keep as many people healthy as possible until we can develop a treatment and a vaccine. Please, please follow instructions, and stay at home.
J.B. Pritzker: (03:18)
In addition to the health challenges that we’re all facing, the economic toll of this virus has been difficult for most people to bear, but we must confront that head-on as well. Since the beginning of the month, Illinois has received over 100,000 more unemployment claims than we had by this point in March of last year, 2019. Total US unemployment claims this week broke the previous single-week record nearly five times over. We’ve got surveys reflecting that one in five American households have seen a reduction in work hours or a layoff, dropping one in four households below $50,000 income. That information was collected a week ago amid circumstances that are truly evolving by the hour.
J.B. Pritzker: (04:11)
Events that once seemed unimaginable have quickly become a daily reality, but let me tell you something amazingly great about our state. Since I put out the call for retired and former healthcare workers to rejoin the healthcare workforce to staff our hospitals and our healthcare centers statewide, 450 Illinoisans have submitted applications to do just that, and more are doing so even now. Your fellow Illinoisans continue to show up for each other no matter how hard things get.
J.B. Pritzker: (04:48)
I know that because I see it happening every single day in every corner of our state. I see our young people volunteering to deliver meals to seniors, our retired healthcare workers jumping at the chance to serve once more, our Illinois manufacturers retooling to produce the goods that will keep us all safe, and our teachers finding new ways to enrich the lives of their children. I see members of the Illinois National Guard leaving their families to staff testing centers for first responders and working to help stand up mobile hospitals. I see our grassroots organizations on the ground in communities across Illinois stepping up to answer the most fundamental calling they have to do the most good for the most people possible.
J.B. Pritzker: (05:39)
It is so often the case for Illinoisan, for all Americans, that during our darkest days, we live our finest hours. With that in mind, I am thrilled to announce a new initiative to support the nonprofit organizations caring for those most in need as we combat this virus. In partnership with the United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations, we’re establishing the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund. This fund will support local community foundations and organizations and nonprofits across the state who are doing the work that matters most to those hit hardest by COVID-19, providing emergency food and basic supplies, offering interim housing and shelter to those who need it, expanding primary healthcare services, assisting with utility costs and other financial burdens, and supporting children and families who are enduring school closings.
J.B. Pritzker: (06:40)
Already, the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund has raised nearly $22 million from an unprecedented founding coalition that has rallied together around the state that they call home. My team and I are incredibly grateful for all of the businesses and leaders and organizations who have stepped up to meet this moment.
J.B. Pritzker: (07:03)
Of course, I want to thank the fund’s chair, former United States Secretary of Commerce, longtime entrepreneur and civic leader, and most importantly, my big sister, Penny Pritzker. She has taken on this project like no one else could, and already, she’s catapulted it to incredible heights in just a few short days. When it came to finding someone who could lead an initiative of this magnitude, there is no one better, and I’m so proud to have her leading it. For more information on this fund and for those who can afford to make a contribution, please visit ilcovidresponsefund.org. That’s ilcovidresponsefund.org.
J.B. Pritzker: (07:51)
Illinois means something to all of us, and I want to be clear, no amount is too small. In the coming weeks, individuals and families in need of support should visit that same website ilcovidresponse.org for updates on which local organizations have received grants to offer assistance in their communities. There will be multiple rounds of funding administered by a steering committee of dedicated leaders all across this state, so revisit the site if you don’t see your hometown on the list after the first grants are announced.
J.B. Pritzker: (08:28)
This is a fund to support all Illinoisan, from Chicago to Carbondale, from Cairo to Rockford. No one is immune from this virus, and nobody should be left to recover without help. We will get through this if we work together and stand up for one another. Thank you all, and now, I’ll turn it over to the chair of the Illinois COVID-19 relief fund, former Secretary and longtime sibling Penny Pritzker.
Penny Pritzker: (09:02)
Thank you, Governor Pritzker. We are so grateful to you for your outstanding and dedicated leadership at this critical time for our state and our nation. Your passion for helping others is truly inspiring, and I am so very, very proud of you.
Penny Pritzker: (09:22)
When J.B. called me last week to talk about the need for a fund to support basic needs for all Illinoisans during this critical time, he said there was nothing more important that we can do then to help the too many people across our great state who are desperate for assistance. That is what this effort is all about. I am honored that J.B. asked me to chair this endeavor that we are announcing today, a new statewide fundraising effort to quickly deploy needed and critical resources and support to our state’s most vulnerable residents in the wake of this terrible pandemic. Make no mistake, these funds will help many people across our state who are really, really hurting now.
Penny Pritzker: (10:16)
Today, the Illinois COVID-19 response fund is pleased to announce that we have raised, and Governor, I hate to correct you, but we’ve raised nearly $23 million… Since you were last brief, another million came in from individuals… from corporations and foundation donors. These funds, and with your help, hopefully much more, these monies will be dispersed to nonprofit organizations across our state, serving individuals, families, and communities hardest hit by COVID-19 pandemic. While it is me standing here today representing this effort, there are many, many others that we owe a deep-
Penny Pritzker: (11:03)
There are many, many others that we owe a deep appreciation for making this happen. We’re particularly grateful to the United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois community foundations who are working in collaboration with the Office of the Governor for helping us establish this effort and serve as the organizations that will house this effort.
Penny Pritzker: (11:25)
We also want to thank the incredible team that has worked for the last few days helping us build this effort, led in the short term by Gretchen Sims Crosby from the University of Chicago, the Boston Consulting Group, Accenture, the Kivvit Group, and so many others who have stepped up to volunteer their time and their energy on behalf of our fellow Illinoisans.
Penny Pritzker: (11:55)
I have been blown away by the so many people who have answered the call in just the last few days to create this effort. Everyone we asked to help signed on immediately and I mean everyone and without hesitation and we are so grateful for their time, their expertise, their resources and their passions to help us with this really deadly cause.
Penny Pritzker: (12:26)
More specifically, this fund will swiftly and efficiently deploy additional financial resources to local community foundations and nonprofits to support residents in need of emergency food and basic supplies, interim housing and shelter, primary healthcare services, utility and financial assistance, support for children and other vulnerable populations and nonprofit safety and operational assistance.
Penny Pritzker: (12:57)
The Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund will work in tandem with other funds set up around the state to ensure that the resources are directed where they are needed most. In particular, we are modeled on and we’ll work closely to compliment the Chicago COVID-19 Response Fund whose leaders have been extraordinary partners to us already.
Penny Pritzker: (13:22)
The fund will provide flexible resources to local nonprofit organizations across the state to supply essential resources to the individuals and households most impacted by the pandemic. We designed the fund to be flexible so we can deploy resources to address possible additional areas of community need as they develop. And while I’m honored again to chair this effort, we have an incredible diverse steering committee made up of philanthropic, social sector and corporate leaders from across Illinois who will determine where to deploy these funds.
Penny Pritzker: (14:04)
To learn more about the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund, I urge you to visit our website at www.illinoiscovidresponsefund.org. We are grateful to all of our early funders and we would appreciate anyone across our state who is looking to help to give to this cause. Even a dollar or $5 can make a difference in the lives of others at this horrific time.
Penny Pritzker: (14:36)
While we launched this effort today, our goal is to have announcements in the coming days as to where in which organizations we will disperse the funds that we have raised. Again, the point is to get these funds out to the organizations and nonprofits as quickly as possible so that we can help our most vulnerable residents who are feeling so much pain right now. Thank you again, Governor Pritzker and to the many organizations, individuals, businesses and others who have joined us in supporting this effort across this incredible state that we are blessed to call home.
Penny Pritzker: (15:20)
I’m personally, let me close by saying I am personally blown away at the nearly limitless capacity and generosity throughout our state to care for others and that gives me hope and certitude that we will come through this crisis together and stronger. Now it’s my pleasure to introduce Secretary Hou. Secretary is head of the Illinois Department of Human Services.
Secretary Hou: (15:54)
Good afternoon. Thank you Secretary Pritzker. I’ve spent my entire career in mission-driven work and I’ve had the pleasure to work in the nonprofit sector, philanthropy and of course government as the Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services now.
Secretary Hou: (16:11)
In my view and experience, we together mission-driven organizations who are built for the public good, must work together like pieces of a puzzle to maximize our efforts, reach those most in need and create change for good. This is a moment for us to do that. Before I left my position in philanthropy to accept this amazing position to be a part of Governor Pritzker’s cabinet, my parting conversations with my philanthropic colleagues was about how in my new role we wanted to maintain our connections, we committed continuing to work together and connect our institutions.
Secretary Hou: (16:49)
Once I began as secretary, I formed a philanthropic round table chaired by the Chicago Community Trust in Polk Brothers Foundation and gathered a statewide group of foundation leaders to learn about the Department of Human Services, our state’s needs and to develop partnerships to leverage our assets across the state. We didn’t know at that time that we would be called together to work on a crisis of this magnitude, but I have faith in the ties that we have developed to rise to this challenge.
Secretary Hou: (17:22)
As a former member of the philanthropic community, I appreciate its power to convene, catalyze, inform, and inspire. This coupled with the strong and compassionate leadership of our governor and our administration, the magnitude, the breadth and reach of our state government, I know we can produce results together that separately would not be possible.
Secretary Hou: (17:46)
Further, our nonprofit partners, our on the ground experts and the vehicle to deliver services, aid, respite, care, food and comfort across the state. This is the triple threat of mission-driven organizations and today we see that coming to life.
Secretary Hou: (18:07)
The Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund will complement and support the efforts of the Illinois Department of Human Services and our sister agencies enable us to fill the gaps. While our administration has been responsive and spry, there are places where philanthropic resources can move more quickly and more directly. Together we can maximize and leverage our assets to provide a safety net for providers and those individuals who are experiencing crisis situations during this pandemic.
Secretary Hou: (18:39)
We, I, have committed to being a transparent, eager partner to this fund so that we can be in true alignment. I thank the founders for your foresight and swift response to meeting the needs of all in our state.
Secretary Hou: (18:54)
At this time, it’s my pleasure to introduce U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.
Senator Dick Durbin: (19:05)
Thank you very much. It’s an honor to be here and to be part of this presentation. I want to preface it by thanking Governor Pritzker. When you stand for office, you’d never know what challenge you will face if you’re elected. No one could have possibly imagined the challenge which this governor and our entire team leading the state at this moment are facing each and every day.
Senator Dick Durbin: (19:28)
We hear these statistics and these are human lives and this governor’s made it clear that he is addressing this challenge in the most serious possible manner with professionalism, determination, and compassion. He’s put together an excellent team.
Senator Dick Durbin: (19:42)
I want to thank Doctor Ezike. It’s been my pleasure to work with her in several different capacities and Secretary Hou and others who are here. I want to shout out as well to the big sister Penny Pritzker, a personal friend for many years, a leader at the federal level as our Secretary of Commerce. And governor, I couldn’t think of a better person to choose than your sister to lead this effort to bring together the caring and charitable people who want to help Illinois through this crisis. So thank you all for what you have done to this point and I stand ready to work with you moving forward.
Senator Dick Durbin: (20:21)
Something miraculous has happened in Washington. We’ve actually done something, on a timely basis. Think about it. Over the past four weeks, we have enacted three major pieces of legislation. It was just four weeks ago that on a bipartisan basis, we said to the president that his request for $2 billion wasn’t enough to face this crisis and in a matter of days we raise that number to $8 billion and passed it quickly. Then we realized that wasn’t even close and in a matter of days again, we passed the second piece of legislation which raised the amount to $100 billion focusing on making sure that testing would be free, that people would have enough to eat in the midst of this crisis, that we would send more money back to the states to compensate them for hospital care, that we would have family leave and medical leave available to the employees who feeling sick could leave work and still get a paycheck, feed their families. That was $100 billion undertaking. We did it on a bipartisan basis. Then last night, close to midnight in Washington DC, we passed a measure, which is nothing short of miraculous by federal standards. Consider this for a moment. The cost of the rescue package that we enacted last night is about $2.2 trillion dollars. $2.2 trillion dollars. That is larger than the federal budget for an entire year in domestic and discretionary spending and the programs we put together were the highest…
Senator Dick Durbin: (22:03)
Very spending and the programs we put together were the highest priorities. We thought them through, we debated them, we disagreed, we came back to the table over and over again, and at the end of the day, this measure passed with a unanimous, unanimous bipartisan vote in the United States Senate, 96 to nothing. The four senators who didn’t vote, two of them are facing diagnoses and two are under self-quarantine at this moment. But to think that every Senator, Democrat, Republican came together tells you, I believe that we not only understand the gravity of this challenge, but the importance that we move quickly and put politics aside when it comes to the well-being of the people we represent in the future of our nation.
Senator Dick Durbin: (22:47)
Let me touch a few of the highlights of that measure last night, and let me say at the outset, it isn’t officially done. The House of Representatives needs to take their action. Speaker Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, her Majority Leader, have suggested that they’ll do it as soon as tomorrow, maybe by voice vote so that members of the House won’t have to return. But I’m hopeful if that isn’t the case, that whatever debate will be short and we’ll get this matter signed into law by the President.
Senator Dick Durbin: (23:15)
What does it mean for the people who are following and asking, “Well, they made a lot of noise in Washington, what’s it going to mean to me in my life?” Well, there’s some very basic things that you ought to take into consideration. The White House suggested, both parties agreed, with a cash payment primarily to people making less than $75,000 a year and not more than $100,000 a year as individuals will receive $1,200 for each adult in the household, and $500 for each child. For some people, that really is money that they desperately need to get through this difficult time.
Senator Dick Durbin: (23:50)
The second thing we did was to really focus on our healthcare system. We said that we needed a Marshall fund when it came to healthcare, and I know the Governor feels as I do, our hospitals are facing a moment of challenge and testing the likes of which they have never seen. When I was on a conference call with the hospital administrators from across the state just last week, a number of them from downstate Illinois told me, as they’ve told you, they’re hanging on by a thread. The question is whether their doors will be open, not whether they can have the capacity to meet the need in this crisis.
Senator Dick Durbin: (24:26)
Why? Why are they in these financial problems? Because a hospital makes money on outpatient treatment and elective surgery, and those have been pushed aside because of the people coming in with the symptoms of COVID-19. The good news is that our priority of a Marshall plan for hospitals will provide over $120 billion to the hospitals and healthcare providers across the United States, including of course the state of Illinois, to help these hospitals stay open and respond. It’s money not only for the hospitals keeping the lights on, but it’s money as well for them to expand their services to meet this need and to have the protective equipment they need to be able to achieve it.
Senator Dick Durbin: (25:07)
In addition to that, we are working on helping small businesses. When the Illinois Restaurant Association came out to see me two weeks ago, it was a sad meeting. So many of those restaurants had been closed because we want to get this epidemic, pandemic, under control and they worried about reopening. We had a proposal, a bipartisan proposal by Senator Rubio, Republican Florida, Senator Carden, Democrat of Maryland, and this proposal was included in the major last night. It’s going to allow these hospitals, pardon me, these restaurants and many other small businesses to continue to pay their payroll, to pay their rent, and be ready to reopen as soon as we’ve finally reached the point where it’s safe to do that. That’s a critical part of what we’re doing.
Senator Dick Durbin: (25:53)
For those with fewer than 500 employees, they’re eligible for loans from the SBA through their local banks, which if they use for payroll, benefits, and rent are forgiven. They don’t have to pay them back. We want to make sure that there’s continuity in these entrepreneurial undertakings, even in this difficult time. There are also funds that are going to be available for loans to organizations that are not for profit organizations, for corporations that are larger than 500 employees, and we come to the rescue of industries that are critical to our state and nation, starting with the aviation industry. I flew out of Washington this morning to Chicago. It’s good to be home, but I will tell you there were 10 people on my plane from Washington and three of them were flight attendants. Nobody’s flying and the airports are empty, and we know what that means to these airlines and their revenues.
Senator Dick Durbin: (26:49)
These are major employers in our state and nation as well as a major part of our national economy, so they become a focal point in terms of rescuing the economy of this nation. I could go on with a long litany, but I won’t. I’ll just tell you this. I have been proud to serve in the Senate with my colleagues, especially Senator Tammy Duckworth. She and I have worked together on everything. We do everything jointly, all the letters, all the meetings, all the conference calls. It’s a great benefit to have a colleague that you can trust completely who is going to work with you for the good of your state and nation. Tammy Duckworth is that person. And my hats off to the congressional delegation, Republicans and Democrats alike. So far we’ve been able to work together and put aside political differences. Isn’t that exactly what the people of Illinois want at this moment in history?
Senator Dick Durbin: (27:36)
I think it is. I hope these monies, and the one part I’ll close with is near and dear to the Governor’s heart, is a stabilization fund. We said that there had to be help coming back to the state and local governments that have incurred great expenses, seen problems with their budget multiplying, there had to be a helping hand from Washington. This stabilization fund was enacted and it’s going to mean revenues coming back to this state to help us through this challenging time. I thank the Governor, again, for his leadership in this measure, in this challenge. I can tell him that as long as he needs our help, he can pick up the phone and know that we’ll be there in Washington to help out. Thank you.
J.B. Pritzker: (28:15)
Thank you, Senator. And I’ll just follow up his comments by saying that I can’t tell you the number of times that he has reached out to me to say, “What more can I do? What calls can I make? Who else do you need me to contact? What do you need to get done?” So I’m just very grateful to him and to his colleague, Tammy Duckworth. They really have been terrific partners working with us at the state level, but obviously in Washington D.C. to help us get done what’s necessary for the safety and health of the people of our state. So with that, I’m happy to take questions from those in the room and then we’ll take some from those online.
Speaker 1: (28:50)
Governor, could you care to comment about the President’s letter to the Governor [inaudible 00:28:55]?
J.B. Pritzker: (29:02)
So, let me comment that we had a call with the President just before that letter arrived. The nation’s governors did. And you know, all I can say is that I’m concerned about the desire of the President to ignore potentially the science, to try to do something that I know he’s has a desire to do, but people will die, people will get sick. We need to make sure that we’re operating on the same playbook together to save people’s lives, and of course simultaneously we’re all thinking about how we’re going to keep the economy going during this time period and as we reach peak and beyond it.
J.B. Pritzker: (29:48)
So to the question about unemployment insurance, so we’ve been working on this and I’ve spoken with our technical leads on this issue. Today alone, actually, we had a record number of people successfully able to file their unemployment claims, over 17,000 just as of about two o’clock today, which is an amazing number considering that they’re literally building this airplane while it’s trying to take off.
J.B. Pritzker: (30:20)
So I’m very proud of the work that they’re doing. There’s still more to do. They’re going to keep working at it. I literally spoke with our Chief Information Officer for the state this morning. I called him at 8:30. I woke him up because he only went to bed at about four in the morning. So unfortunately I think I ended his sleep for the day because he’s gone to work right after I spoke with him this morning. We’re going to get this right and we’re going to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to file for unemployment claims, and we have sped up the process for people to actually receive those claims as well.
Speaker 2: (30:52)
Governor, you were talking about, of course, social distancing [inaudible 00:30:55] grocery stores. People are crowding in grocery stores, not giving any kind of distance. Should there be some kind of uniform standard to put out there so that all grocery stores are operating with safety in mind?
J.B. Pritzker: (31:10)
Well we have in fact told people that they should stay six feet apart. I know that there are stores that are enforcing that, that are actually asking people please space out as you’re waiting in line for whatever it is that you need, whether it’s checkout or something else. I’ve seen the pictures that you’ve seen, and maybe you’ve experienced it personally too, and people need to take responsibility for themselves. And there are many people who are. I don’t know if you saw the video of Bonnie from Chicago who made a video of herself and posted it on Twitter about her social distancing herself from somebody, and that person essentially calling her a kook, because there are still people out there that don’t believe that this is real. Well, they should go to the hospital today. Go walk in. See what’s going on at the hospitals. Talk to your healthcare provider.
J.B. Pritzker: (31:59)
I don’t want them to go to the hospital because I don’t want them to get infected, and I don’t want them to infect anybody. But the point is they should see what’s happening around them and look at the numbers, and they will see that Bonnie is right, and that the people who are social distancing and managing that are right. So please, everybody take responsibility for yourself. If you see that the grocery store is crowded, you don’t need to be there at that hour. Grocery stores are open for many hours. They’re not crowded at all hours. And oh, by the way, those shelves are being restocked. The grocery stores are operating actually quite reasonably well across the state. Do the right thing.
Speaker 3: (32:37)
We’ve got time for one more in the room.
Speaker 4: (32:39)
Doctor [inaudible 00:32:38], if you could give a little perspective to the numbers today, the 600 plus numbers, is that the largest single day increase? I know we’re testing more. Well, what does that data point tell you in terms of where we are in this crisis? And then the second question, if I may, regarding ventilators, CPAP machines, which are now approved by the FDA to be used as an alternative or as a ventilator machine, as well as some other equipment. Is the state working to get more C-PAP machines-
Speaker 5: (33:03)
… machine as well as some other equipment. Is the state working to get some more C-PAP machines? Will that help?
Dr. Ezike: (33:05)
Thank you. So regarding our numbers, of course we know that we’re in a period of exponential growth, and so we know that the numbers are going to have these giant rises. When we looked at our initial predictions and forecasts, it did predict these large numbers. We’re fortunately a little bit under some of the predictions from the very beginning, again, because of so many measures that have been enacted by governor Pritzker limiting mass gatherings, closing schools, and then we’re going to see hopefully still more improvement from the shelter in place as we get through an incubation period following that. So we know that these numbers were going to really grow like this. They’re slightly under predictions, which is good. And we hope that we continue to enact measures that will help us fall under predicted.
Dr. Ezike: (33:57)
Regarding the ventilators and the CPAP, so we have lots of people working on the hospital, planning the surge capacity, and we know that there’ll be a lot of need for ventilators, whether it’s CPAP machines, oxygen. So all of those needs are being assessed. We’re looking at different kinds of ventilators that can be used. There’s a lot of resources that are going to be needed. And so all of the team that’s working on the hospital capacity and the surge are identifying all the different needs and trying to secure as much of that as we can in preparation for what’s still coming. Thank you.
Speaker 6: (34:32)
We’ll have to go to some of our reporters on the phone. Governor Andrew Cuomo called the Senate stimulus bill irresponsible and reckless because it doesn’t provide nearly enough money to cover his state’s revenue losses. Do you agree? New York has spent $1 billion on its response. How much has Illinois spent?
J.B. Pritzker: (34:49)
Look, this is progress, so let’s at least recognize a win when we see one. I think you heard Senator Durbin say so. So does more need to be done? Yes. We are frankly doing everything in our power to get the supplies that we need, the equipment that we need to expand hospital capability, ICU beds, everything that you can think of. And frankly, at this moment, my biggest concern is not the expenditure that we’re making to save lives. It’s are we saving the lives? Are we actually bending the curve? And that’s what we’re watching very closely. We’re beginning to do that. But y we’ve only had five days now under stay at home. We need to have more days under our belt before we start to see the bending of that curve further, but more needs to be done in Washington DC. And I know that Senator Durbin has said that there is likely to be potentially a relief package number four, maybe even number five. I don’t know if you want to address that Senator. So there’s work being done even now on what next.
Speaker 6: (35:57)
What should the return to normal order look like? Could some parts of the state reopen for business sooner than others if the infection rate remains low?
J.B. Pritzker: (36:05)
Again, I’m going to be guided by science on this. The virus knows no regional boundaries. So as you see, we have COVID cases all across the state. People didn’t believe me when I was saying that. When it was just in Cook County, there were people in other parts of the state who said, “It’ll never come here. This is just a Chicago problem or just a Cook County problem.” Well now we’ve seen it every region, an increasing number of cases in central and Southern Illinois, in Northwestern Illinois. We need to make sure that we’re tracking all of that, that we’re doing everything we can for all the areas of the state. And as we look at the aftermath, at the past the peak here, which seems hard to look for at the moment as we watch the numbers rise. But as we look past the peak, we’ll certainly be evaluating whether there are measures that we can take, whether it’s regionally based or based on the type of industry, where we can start to ratchet down the stay at home orders or the other orders that have been put in place.
Speaker 6: (37:12)
This is for Dr. Ezike. Are you considering a statewide do not resuscitate order for coronavirus patients?
J.B. Pritzker: (37:18)
Dr. Ezike: (37:20)
Speaker 6: (37:23)
Governor Pritzker, are you satisfied with the portion of the stimulus that relates to the defense production act and does it go far enough, and does it only apply to production of PPE or could president Trump use it to build a wall?
J.B. Pritzker: (37:35)
Well, there is nothing that’s been exercised with regard to the Defense Production Act. Every day I have pounded the table on the Defense Production Act to make sure that the president is doing what he can do. He’s not doing everything he can do. He talked about hoarding and price gouging as a reason why he had signed the Defense Production Act executive order, but nothing’s been enacted. So when we are out in the marketplace, we’re not seeing any order to the market. That’s what we want is order. We’re willing to pay reasonable prices for the goods that are made here in the United States that will save people’s lives, but what we can’t do is be competing one against another, one state against another, each state against the United States government, and against the 150 governments around the world that are competing for those goods as well. We need to protect the United States. He has the power to do that. I implore him to take up the Defense Production Act and actually utilize it from industry to industry
Speaker 6: (38:39)
With some continuing to congregate in outdoor spaces and the mayor’s action today to close lakefront parks and trails in Chicago, are you considering any additional statewide actions to enforce the stay at home order?
J.B. Pritzker: (38:50)
Well, you heard me in an impassioned fashion today, and I’ll do it every day if necessary, reminding people that need to take responsibility for themselves. I think the mayor was right in reaction to what she saw on a sunny day, on a warmer day. Frankly, people seem just not to understand what we’ve said over and over again at this podium and elsewhere. We’re going to try to get the message further out to people to make them understand. I think that the decisions about how this will be enforced are going to be done at the local level, but I have encouraged law enforcement to remind people this is not an opportunity for law enforcement to stop people and to harass them in any way. The idea here is we all ought to be doing the right thing. So I put it on the people of Illinois to enforce themselves and to remind their neighbors and their friends what the stay at home order really means.
Speaker 6: (39:44)
What areas of support will Illinois focus on now that we know to some extent what Illinois will be getting from the federal government’s disaster relief bill?
J.B. Pritzker: (39:51)
What was the first part of that question? Sorry.
Speaker 6: (39:52)
What areas of support will Illinois focus on now that we know to some extent what Illinois will be getting from the federal government’s disaster relief bill?
J.B. Pritzker: (40:00)
Well, we’re focusing on the areas that need to be focused on in terms of the expenditures. There’s a wonderful part of this relief bill that is going to help our hospitals directly, which is so critically important. We have many critical access hospitals in Southern central Illinois, all across downstate that we’re already teetering on being unprofitable, maybe even bankruptcy. The support for them, keeping them open, keeping the people working there, doing the amazing work that they do, that’s critically important. And so I love that that is part of the federal bill. As far as the support for the state, you’ve seen what we’re doing on a state level, and that direct state aid and the direct aid that goes to cities all across the state of Illinois is going to help to maintain the services that have all been increased significantly just in the last few weeks.
Speaker 6: (40:52)
And this will have to be our last question. Have you personally contributed to the COVID-19 response fund at this point? Or do you plan to do so? And at what level?
J.B. Pritzker: (41:00)
I did personally contribute already. My wife and I contributed $2 million of our own, and then my foundation contributed $2 million also. Thank you very much.