After voicing due respect for the dead and deathly ill, Dr. Ngozi Ezike on Wednesday next delivered the cold, hard COVID-19 numbers over the prior day: 192 dead, 1,677 new cases, more than 17,000 tests.

Then the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health spoke words that should not have been needed. “This is a real disease. This is a serious disease. It is not a hoax,” she said.

Only in these politically polarized times would a public official tally a death toll of nearly 4,000 souls in Illinois so far — then feel a need to state COVID-19 is nobody’s hoax.

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David Greising

David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative...