To the Editor:
Five million. That’s how many passengers moved through O’Hare airport in January (actually 5.8 million). The number was 5.5 million in February, dropping off to 3.4 million in March (flychicago.com).
Since early March, air travel dropped 95% but is, as of last week, back up to 25% of its early March daily volume nationally according to the TSA. Since it dropped precipitously in March, I’m using January for my benchmark of averages. So if all that generally holds true, an average of over 48,000 people are moving through the airport daily.
The Grand American trapshooting competition was expected to draw 5,000 total participants and spectators to Sparta over a two-week period. The event is outdoors. The coordinators submitted a 41-page plan for preventing the spread of COVID-19 to the local health department, which approved it. And yet the state health department, with the expressed endorsement of IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike and her boss, Gov J.B. Pritzker, denied it.
It was scheduled for August. It will now be held in Missouri. The event annually brings a 30 million dollar impact to Southern Illinois (The Southern).
Recently, a large hoard of humanity moves through both of Chicago’s large airports, dropping their greenbacks as they passed through, riding together in Ubers and subway cars. Gov. Pritzker found time to gather with other officials to tout the opening of two Amazon fulfillment centers in Cook County (read: suburban Chicago). These facilities will provide about 2,000 jobs that start at $15 AN HOUR and go up from there. Good for them.
But back to us here in the hinterlands. There is a growing global consensus that outdoor transmission of the virus approaches zero while indoor transmission is the real danger (NY Times). Trapshooting? Outdoors? $30 million impact? Denied?
If I was asked to invent a scenario where a Democrat governor successfully alienated, if not down right punished a region, disloyal and politically inconsequential to him, I couldn’t do better. The Grand American would have been less risky than a Chicago-area Walmart.
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