(NewsNation Now) — Chicago’s health commissioner is defending the decision to allow hundreds of thousands of people to gather for Lollapalooza despite concerns about the delta variant.
“More than 90% of the folks coming into Lollapalooza were vaccinated,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago’s health commissioner. “If more than 90% of Americans were vaccinated, we’d be putting this largely behind us.”
The city’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, also defended the decision to hold the event, citing the vaccine requirements for the festival.
“I felt strongly about having a vaccine or testing requirement,” Arwady said. “It is an outdoor gathering, which we know is one of the safest things that can help with gathering, and it is almost all young people.”
Arwady say she does expect to see some COVID-19 cases because of the amount of people.
“I’m not concerned about overwhelming the health system at this point,” Arwady said.
Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, she says the city has asked people to temporarily put masks back on to help get through the delta surge.
“I’ve been telling folks, this isn’t forever, but it’s to help get us through while we keep trying to get people vaccinated, which remains by far the most important thing,” Arwady said.
She says they do not want to close down the city.
“We want to be open,”Arwady said. “We want to do everything we can to be, you know, open and careful. And vaccination is the main key to that.”
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