Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she has 'serious questions' about the national strategic stockpile needed to fight the coronavirus
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot raised questions about the national strategic stockpile of personal protection equipment and ventilators in a Tuesday interview with Insider. "I have serious questions as to whether or not there is a robust stockpile at the federal level," she said, noting that many states' requests of the Trump administration "have not never even come close to being fulfilled." The mayor said her administration had prepared for the possibility of a pandemic by participating in a "mock exercise" last August in which city officials made plans to address a fictional virus that originated in China and was set to ravage Chicago. Lightfoot said she's "fearful" Trump's response to the crisis will "come back to haunt us." But the mayor's response to the crisis has also incorporated humor. On Monday, she released a humorous video in which she acts out a series of characters urging Chicagoans to "stay home and save lives."
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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot pleaded for stronger presidential leadership amid the coronavirus pandemic in a Tuesday interview with Insider. She also raised questions about the national stockpile of personal protective equipment and ventilators. "I have serious questions as to whether or not there is a robust stockpile at the federal level," she told Insider in a Tuesday interview. "I have not heard anybody ask the question, and I think it's time that we call that into question: Do you have the materials or do you not? Over the last three and a half years, have you kept these materials in climate-controlled environments so they'd be ready if there was a need?" Lightfoot said she'd discussed this question with mayors across the country whose requests for essential medical supplies from the federal government she said have gone unfulfilled. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said he'd been informed on Tuesday that the national stockpile is now "empty" and that his state is "on our own" after procuring just 50 additional ventilators. But Trump insisted during a Tuesday evening press briefing that the federal government still has "almost 10,000 ventilators" that it is waiting to distribute until a major "surge" hits vulnerable regions. "We are holding back quite a bit," he said. States across the country have encountered a strapped and chaotic marketplace for personal protective equipment and other crucial medical supplies, as Trump initially encouraged them to procure their own materials. On Monday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that after the president promised him he would ship 300,000 N95 masks to Illinois, the federal government sent his state thousands of surgical masks instead. Pritzker attacked Trump last week over his crisis response, accusing him of wasting "precious months" and "throwing tantrums from the back seat." Illinois began implementing a statewide stay at home order on March 21 and the governor extended the length of the order by three weeks on Tuesday, moving the end date from April 7 to April 30. As of Tuesday, Chicago has had 2,611 cases of COVID-19, while Illinois has had a total of 5,594. Lightfoot said Chicago likely won't see the peak of its infections until late April. Lightfoot said Trump's slow response to the pandemic and his repeated public downplaying of the threat was "a lost opportunity that I hope doesn't come back to haunt us, but I'm fearful that it will." And she demanded that the president respond to the concerns of states and cities. "Red states and blue states, elected officials, mayors, governors, other local elected officials are crying for help because we all need it," she said. "All of us have to prepare as if we are the next hot spot. And we shouldn't be in this fight alone. We should have the full embrace of the federal government." The mayor, a former federal prosecutor who took office in May 2019, noted that her own administration had prepared for the possibility of a pandemic by participating in a "mock exercise" last August in which city officials made plans to address a fictional virus that originated in China and was set to ravage Chicago. "Who would've known that exercise would have been so prescient? But it was," she said. "So when we started seeing reports coming out of China in December and then in January, and seeing the spread, our folks were ready, and that has served us incredibly well." Memes inspire a funny 'stay home' campaign Lightfoot's aggressive implementation of her state's stay at home order has spawned a host of memes showing her blocking the city's public parks and admonishing people gathered in public places. Taking a cue from those memes, Lightfoot on Monday released a funny video in which she acts out various characters encouraging Chicagoans to "stay home and save lives" during the pandemic. In one scene she plays "the astrologer," who apologizes to "all the Aries" for being forced to stay in on their birthdays, but adds "maybe you can celebrate with the Geminis later." Playing a "true friend," Lightfoot quips, "What's more important: saving lives or getting a pedicure? It's cold out, nobody's going to see your toes." The video attracted a burst of media attention and quickly went viral. Lightfoot told Insider she "had a lot of fun with it." "I'm not a social media person myself, but 1 million views in 24 hours I'm told is pretty damn good," she said. "I think people are getting the message and clearly hungry for a distraction from the serious circumstances that we're all finding ourselves in."
I don’t have much time to myself these days, but I felt I needed to make sure everyone knows how I feel about this Stay at Home Order. Which one motivates you the most to stay at home? #StayHomeSaveLives pic.twitter.com/pDbCdySMQk — Mayor Lightfoot #StayHomeSaveLives (@chicagosmayor) March 30, 2020
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Chicago's mayor donned a lime green cowboy hat and announced she'd send around a 'Census Cowboy' to remind communities to fill out the 2020 Census
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she's sending a "Census Cowboy" to 10 communities with low 2020...Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she's sending a "Census Cowboy" to 10 communities with low 2020 Census response rates to encourage participation. In a video, the Mayor compared this initiative with efforts made by the mayor of Gotham in Batman. The census helps determine crucial funding and congressional representation. Lightfoot has a goal of a 75% response rate in Chicago, right now it's at 55%. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. In a strange video announcement, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that a "Census Cowboy" will now be going to the ten communities in the city with the lowest census completion to urge residents to fill out the form. "Giddy up, Chicago. I'm calling on the Census Cowboy to help improve our Census response rates across Chicago. Make the Census Cowboy proud by filling out the Census today at http://my2020census.gov," Lightfoot said in a tweet of the video. Giddy up, Chicago. I'm calling on the Census Cowboy to help improve our Census response rates across Chicago. Make the Census Cowboy proud by filling out the Census today at https://t.co/tt2S9ojTmW. pic.twitter.com/eT2e6V74uk — Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) July 13, 2020 Lightfoot started her speech by comparing Chicago to Gotham City from Batman. "When I was a kid, I loved the Batman TV show. And when the city of Gotham had a real difficult challenge one of the things the mayor there did is he called out and he sent out the distress signal to Batman. So, we are doing something similar for the census," Lightfoot said. Picking up and putting on a green cowboy hat, Lightfoot announced: "And I'm happy to report I'm calling out the Census Cowboy." A man dressed as a cowboy then came into the frame as Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" played. Local outlet WLS-TV reported that the man is Adam Hollingsworth, who is known to ride his horse through the city and is known as Dreadhead Cowboy. Lightfoot said that if residents see the Census Cowboy in their neighborhood, it's "not a good thing," and they need to "step up" and fill out the census. The mayor added that the cowboy will be stopping by the ten communities with the lowest response rate. The census is taken every decade and helps determine important funding as well as congressional representation. According to WLS-TV, the mayor reported that a little more than half of Chicagoans filled out the forms online, but the state of Illinois as a whole had over 66% response. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the response rate in some South and West side neighborhoods is less than 40%. Lightfoot is aiming for a 75% response rate across the city. "Let's do this Chicago. Let's make the Census Cowboy proud," Lightfoot said. Read more: Here's how to fill out the 2020 Census if you've temporarily moved because of the coronavirus and have no idea what you should list as your home Watch Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's speech to 2020 graduates: 'Solutions to seemingly intractable challenges are not found in 140 characters or on other forms of social media' The government teamed up with Christian cartoon franchise 'VeggieTales' to teach children about this year's census Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
Illinois' governor organized secret flights to bring masks and gloves from China out of fear Trump would seize them
Illinois' governor reportedly organized secret flights to haul millions of masks and gloves from China to...Illinois' governor reportedly organized secret flights to haul millions of masks and gloves from China to bypass any Trump administration efforts to seize the products. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the details were kept secret after the Illinois government "heard reports of Trump trying to take PPE in China and when it gets to the United States." A number of reports have documented federal efforts to seize ventilators, masks, and other PPE for the national stockpile, even intercepting and diverting orders without explanation. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker organized secret flights bringing millions of masks and gloves to the state from China on charter jets in an effort to bypass potential Trump administration efforts to seize the products, The Chicago Sun-Times reported. Two invoices from the state revealed $888,275 purchases for "aircraft charter flight to Shanghai, China for COVID-19 response," according to the newspaper. The state has reportedly spent $174 million on coronavirus-related purchases, such as ventilators, personal protective equipment, and hand sanitizer. The Sun-Times cited a source familiar with the purchases, who said the details were kept secret "because we've heard reports of Trump trying to take PPE in China and when it gets to the United States." Pritzker's press secretary declined to give the newspapers details on the flights, but noted the "challenges" Illinois has faced to obtain PPE for frontline health care workers. "The supply chain has been likened to the Wild West, and once you have purchased supplies, ensuring they get to the state is another herculean feat," press secretary Jordan Abudayyeh told the Sun-Times. "These flights are carrying millions of masks and gloves our workers need. They're scheduled to land in Illinois in the coming weeks and the state is working to ensure these much-needed supplies are protected and ready for distribution around the state." A number of reports have documented federal efforts to seize ventilators, masks, and other PPE for the national stockpile, even intercepting and diverting orders without explanation. Pritzker has vehemently criticized Trump for his handling of the coronavirus. In a CNN interview on April 14, Pritzker said he had "given up" on the Trump administration's promises to deliver medical supplies. Trump has criticized Pritzker right back, saying he "is always complaining." Prizker also described fierce bidding wars against the Trump administration, as well as other states, for PPE and other items from overseas. Last month, an Illinois official even sped up a highway with a $3.4 million check to personally meet a supplier's deadline to obtain 1.5 million N95 masks, the Sun-Times reported.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How waste is dealt with on the world's largest cruise ship