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Get the Facts: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

I want to reassure you that addressing the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is the top priority in Congress. As part of the response, my office and I have been in frequent contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Chicago Department of Public Health, and other relevant agencies. I am also coordinating closely with local health care professionals and Chicago-area hospitals.

Out of an abundance of caution and to protect the health of my staff and visitors, my Washington, D.C. and Chicago offices will be operating remotely. My staff and I will continue to carry out their official duties and I will continue to monitor the situation very closely as it continues to develop. I can be contacted through my website at and by phone at (202) 225-4061 or (773) 267-5926.

It is important to remain calm and know that there is no reason to panic. Through my website, I hope to provide you with some basic information about the virus and its spread as well as updates on action Congress has taken to address this crisis.

Governor Pritzker has issued the following guidance to keep Illinois safe:

  • Illinois is currently in Phase 5: Illinois Restored. For more information on the phased re-opening and Governor Pritzker's mitigation plan, click here.
  • You can contact the Illinois Department of Public Health by emailing or call 1-800-889-3931 for health-related questions.

Mayor Lightfoot has issued the following guidance for Chicago:

  • The City of Chicago entered phase five of the “Protecting Chicago” framework on Friday, June 11, 2021. Click HERE to learn more about the city of Chicago's reopening plan.
  • In Phase 5, most mandatory COVID-19 regulations have been lifted, including capacity limits, social distancing requirements and mask mandates at most businesses.
  • The Chicago Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. Phone lines are currently staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m, seven days a week. Please note that this call center can not access COVID-19 testing results. For testing inquiries or results, please contact your health care provider. You can email the Chicago Department of Health at or call 312-746-4835.

Fight stigma and fear by understanding the facts about COVID-19 and taking the effective precautionary steps recommended by health professionals. Support people returning from COVID-19 quarantine and help reduce the spread of rumors by letting people know that viruses cannot target people from specific populations, ethnicities, or racial backgrounds.

If You Are Fully Vaccinated

In accordance with CDC guidelines:

  • You can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.

  • Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance

  • If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, find a vaccine.

Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?

In general, people are considerd fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second does in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single does vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine

Get Vaccinated

The best COVID-19 vaccine is the first one that is available to you. Do not wait for a specific brand. All currently authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines:

The CDC does not recommend one vaccine over another. Currently, three vaccines are authorized for use in the United States: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen. As of February 27, 2021, large-scale (Phase 3), clinical trials are in progress or being planned for two COVID-19 vaccines in the United States: AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and Novavax COVID-19 vaccine​.

All Chicagoans age 12+ are now eligible for the vaccine.

Learn how to get vaccinated by visiting the city of Chicago's website HERE.

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a type of virus. There are many different kinds, and some cause disease. A newly identified type has caused a recent outbreak of respiratory illness, now called COVID-19. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus cases.

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you are experiencing a fever, cough, and shortness of breath and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, you should contact your doctor immediately. The CDC has launched a "Coronavirus Self-Checker" tool to help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care. Please click here to learn more about the symptoms of COVID-19 and access the Self-Checker.

Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Preventing the Spread of Coronavirus

COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. We are still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of the illness it causes. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

Protecting yourself and others from coronavirus

Take steps to protect others and stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.

For the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention please visit

For the latest information from the Chicago Department of Public Health, please visit

Last updated June 24, 2021