Chicago Department of Public Health Weekly Media Brief, 6/30/2023

June 30, 2023


For Immediate Release
June 30, 2023
Chicago Department of Public Health 
Weekly Media Brief 
Jump Ahead

Leave the Street Racing to the Professionals

NASCAR drivers will be zooming around Grant Park this weekend for the Chicago Street race, and while racing through familiar roads seems exciting, unless you’re a professional driver on a closed course, don’t try this at home. NASCAR drivers are experienced pros with crews of skilled mechanical and medical personnel. Unlike other Chicago motorists, they don’t need to watch for pedestrians and they won’t be ticketed for exceeding the speed limit.  

Avoiding traffic tickets isn’t the only reason to watch your lead foot. As speed increases, so does the likelihood of traffic crashes. But even minor changes in speed can make big differences in crash outcomes. Studies show that while pedestrians struck at 20 mph almost always survive, and those struck at 30 mph have a roughly 50/50 chance of survival, those struck at 40 mph almost always die. 

The City of Chicago believes that even one life lost in a traffic crash is unacceptable. We all have the right to walk, bike, take public transit, and drive on streets that are safe for everyone, regardless of who we are or where we live. 

Chicago is one of about a dozen cities that are part of the Vision Zero network. Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. As studies suggest, Blacks and Latinos are disproportionately affected by vehicular fatalities. Read about how Vision Zero is integrating equity into their work in this report. Read Chicago’s Vision Zero plan here. 

If you do encounter any speeding or aggressive drivers, don’t be intimidated by them, don’t engage with them, and don’t think you need to keep up with speeders. Never underestimate another driver’s potential for aggression. Keep a safe amount of space in-between your vehicles. And just let the tailgaters and speeders go around you. 


Air Quality in Chicago Improving

Smoke from Canadian wildfires blanketed Chicago and the upper Midwest throughout the week, making for uncomfortable and even dangerous conditions for sensitive populations, including those with heart and lung diseases. Thankfully, conditions improved as the week progressed and by Friday the air in Chicago was rated as ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups.’  

CDPH has updated guidance here and to learn more about air quality in our area and monitor for updates from the U.S. EPA, visit [] Residents can also sign up to receive alerts at or download the OEMC App through the Apple App or Google Play stores for public safety tips and alerts. 

It is important that residents monitor conditions and pay attention to the news for updates, for themselves and also vulnerable loved ones and neighbors. The guidance includes places where residents who don’t have air conditioning can get out of the heat and escape poor air quality. 


New Opportunities: Chicagoans Called to Participate in the City's Cumulative Impact Assessment

As the City and its partners work to comprehensively examine and assess how combined environmental, health and social stressors affect Chicago residents, and to identify communities that experience the greatest impacts as part of the first citywide Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA), input from impacted communities is critical. 

On Thursday, new materials and opportunities for involvement, including a draft environmental justice action plan, community input summary, community engagement calendar and CIA working group progress reports, were released. Residents are asked to learn more at and share their thoughts during the public comment period, open through July 31. 


Quick Hits!

  • Have a blast this Independence Day, and leave the fireworks displays to the experts! Fireworks are dangerous and illegal in Chicago, and CDPH reminds Chicagoans with health conditions to take extra precautions to avoid exposure to firework emissions. 
  • The City of Chicago was awarded the Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities Certification at the Gold Level earlier this week for exceptional use of data to inform policy decisions, allocate funding, improve services, evaluate program effectiveness, and engage residents. CDPH’s Data Academy, which empowers community stakeholders with the skills to use hyperlocal data to address critical health issues, was provided as a notable example of this work. 
  • #AskDrArwady ICYMI: Tik Tok star and epidemiologist Dr. Katrine Wallace joined Dr. Arwady’s weekly live stream discussing her claim to social media fame where she has grown a significant following for her videos debunking medical misinformation and educating on epidemiology, vaccines, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Arwady and Dr. Kat talk about how to identify misinformation and communicate with empathy with family and friends who might be spreading it.