Largest spike in COVID-19 cases yet in Orland Park
The Village of Orland Park, whose mayor continues to seemingly scoff at the use of face masks while advocating more public events and festivals, has experienced its largest monthly increase in COVID-19 infections to date. The total number of infections as of Oct. 5 is 1,398, an increase of 320 from the prior month, according to data provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health and tabulated by Suburban Chicagoland online news. (The majority of the infections took place at the end of September)
By Ray Hanania
The Village of Orland Park this week recorded its largest spike in confirmed cases of COVID-19 according to statewide infection data provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
The increase of 320 cases since last month, with a large spike in the past week, brings the total number of confirmed cases to 1,398 in Orland Park, a southwest suburban community of under 60,000 residents, according to the IDPH.
Confirmed infection cases have been steadily rising during the past month from 530 on July 1, 781 on August 1, 1,078 on Sept. 1, and 1,398 cases as of the end of October.
The steady increases in infections is alarming considering that the president of the village, Keith Pekau, has seemingly downplayed the importance of both the number of infections and the pandemic itself. Pekau appears to be reluctant to wear a face mask even while at public events.
Pekau has pushed hard to bring more and more public festivals and events to the village while other communities are remaining vigilant to the threat of the pandemic which has taken nearly 200,000 American lives, the highest fatality rate of any country in the world.
Pekau has justified his apparent skepticism of the effectiveness of wearing face masks, and has asserted that the rising numbers are attributable to the increased number of people who are getting tested for the coronavirus, ludicrous lack of public responsibility.
It is an assertion that Pekau has made in numerous political videos posted on the Village YouTube Channel that the cause of the increasing numbers is the rise in COVID-19 testing.
In his August 14, 2020 YouTube video chat with the public, Pekau said, “Cases are what we regularly hear about from press and from the governor. For me, cases do not really tell the story for several reasons. The sheer number of tests. The more we test the more cases we have.”
His conclusion from his assertion seems clear: if there was no testing there wouldn’t be any infections, apparently. His extremist view is irresponsible.
In truth, testing helps the village know the full extent of the infection, rather than burying your head in the sand of political selfishness.
In a recent photo of a Bike Ride for Special Olympics hosted by the Orland Park Police Department on Sunday August 30, 2020, Mayor Pekau was pictured filling out a form surrounded by other residents and attendees. He was the only person in the photo not wearing a face mask. But Pekau did have the equipment used by bike riders that one might argue isn’t really necessary to wear in order to ride a bike. Pekau wears the equipment to safely ride a bike, not a face mask to safely navigate the pandemic.
The issue of using face masks was driven home hard this week after President Trump was diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus. Trump ridiculed the wearing of face masks during his debate with former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday Sept. 29, 2020.
“I don’t wear face masks like him,” Trump said mockingly and pointing to Biden during the debate. “Every time you see him he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away … and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”
Biden responded to Trump’s ironic attack saying, “masks make a big difference.” He argued face masks can help stem the transmission of the coronavirus. He said that if more Americans wore face masks and practiced proper social distancing, it could save up to 100,000 lives.
Pekau is a far rightwing conservative who has dragged the Republican Party to the deep end of extremism reflecting President Trump’s anti-face mask views. Trump’s mishandling of the coronavirus and his own infection have undermined his re-election chances in the Nov 3, 2020 General Election.
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