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With assist from Mayor Lightfoot, public health doctors Arwady, Ezike to throw out ceremonial first pitches at Cubs home opener
Chicago Tribune - 3/31/2021
Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be at the pitcher’s mound on Thursday as the two public health officials who have shepherded Chicago and Illinois through the pandemic are honored for their work during the Cubs home opener, the mayor’s office says.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady and Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike will throw out the first ceremonial pitches before the Cubs play ball in front of a limited number of fans at Wrigley Field.
Political appointees whose work in normal times is largely behind-the-scenes, Arwady and Ezike have been front and center at news conferences during the pandemic, advising the public about the COVID-19 outbreak, prevention and, now, the vaccine rollout.
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Lightfoot, a die-hard Chicago White Sox fan, will be there, too, handing over the baseballs the doctors will use to make their pitches. In 2019, it was Lightfoot throwing out the first pitch as the city’s newly elected mayor. She did the same for the Sox home opener that year; the mayor hasn’t determined whether she’ll be at this year’s game on the South Side, a spokeswoman said.
No word on whether Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who is a Cubs fan, also will be in attendance.
Opening day with fans in the seats — a step toward returning to normal — comes as vaccine numbers along with newly diagnosed cases and COVID-19 hospitalizations are once again on the rise, prompting health officials and elected leaders to urge caution. That includes mask wearing and social distancing, particularly among 18- to 39-year-olds, whose age group has seen a significant rise in cases, the mayor has said.
Lightfoot announced this week that an area on the Wrigley Field campus would be transformed into a mass vaccination site.
Lisa Donovan is the host of The Spin, the Tribune’s politics newsletter. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox weekday afternoons.
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