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COVID-19 In Chicago: Stay-At-Home Advisory Begins Monday For City; Doctor Weighs In On How It Will Work

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois reported 10,631 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, and 72 more deaths.

Nationwide, the U.S. has now reached 11 million cases – just six days after hitting 10 million. It is the fastest the country has added a million cases since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Because of the rapidly-spreading outbreak, Chicago has issued a stay-at-home advisory effective at 6 a.m. Monday.

As CBS 2's Steven Graves reported, doctors say at its core, the advisory is about being responsible. With Thanksgiving ahead, the message is more of a desperate plea.

On Sunday night, CBS 2's cameras caught people making final stops at Chicago stores. They had essentials such as toilet paper in hand, hours before that stay-at-home advisory was to take effect.

It was a similar scene to when a statewide stay-at-home order was in place back in March. But the advisory in Chicago, and a similar one for the rest of Cook County, is a strong suggestion rather than an order.

Restaurants are still operating outside, and museums are still open.

"What it relies on is all of us doing our part," said Dr. Bala Hota of Rush University Medical Center.

Personal responsibility is the key, Hota said. It is also something that the city banked on this past summer when a travel quarantine order went into effect.

"Throughout the summer, what we saw was that there were a couple of times where we had peaks, but subsequently, numbers came down," Hota said. "But this is different now."

It is different, he said, because of large indoor home gatherings. Health officials point to events like game and wine nights spiking COVID-19 cases.

But if the goal is to stop them, it is next to impossible to enforce. City leaders have said each advisory is more educational.

At last check, no one had been cited or arrested for violating that travel quarantine order in Chicago. But that is not the case everywhere that has put in such orders.

In New York City, at least one person has been arrested for such a violation. But other places such as Austin, Texas also bank on education and voluntary compliance.

Doctors say the best way for protection remains masking up and social distancing no matter where you are – advisory or not.

"I think it's a start," Hota said. "I think we can see where we head, and the next step might be enforcement. But my hope is we take that measure and change our behavior."

Hota said proof of whether the advisory does or does not work will show in the coronavirus numbers two weeks from now. In the meantime, he expects cases to keep climbing.

As to something mandatory, Gov. JB Pritzker said last week that a new stay-at-home order for the entire state of Illinois might be the only option left if the numbers do not turn around.

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