Illinois health officials wants youth to help limit coronavirus spread with mask design competition

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WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health hopes a creative mask competition for youth can get them to partake in doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Ngoze Ezike, head of the health department, hosted a virtual conference with youth and city business partners to discuss what they can do to make sure their age group takes the virus seriously.

She said that while the coronavirus risk is lower for teens and young adults, that does not mean there is none.

"We are concerned that young people can move into a space that has more high risk people and that they might not do as well if an unknowing, healthy looking, a symptomatic individual passes it on," Ezike said.

To get youth involved, IPDH announced Saturday the #YesUCan campaign and mask contest. Contestants need to complete and submit an original artistic rendering of a face mask which they have designed, along with a 500-word written essay or 1-minute video that addresses how one would their peers to take the virus seriously and wear a mask.

A first, second and third place will be chosen and the winning entries will be featured on the IDPH website and in various promotional and public service ads beginning in November 2020. All participants will receive Certificates of Recognition and be entered into a raffle to win participation prizes.

The contest seeks youth ages for the two age groups, 14 to 19 and 20 to 29, and the deadline to submit is Oct. 30. Those who want to partake can apply online.

"We really need you young people to understand the role and how you can help be a part of the solution," Ezike said.

IPDH states that two of the fastest growing groups of Illinoisans to fall victim to the virus are teens and young adults. Recent Chicago COVID-10 case patterns also backs this up.

The department said remaining vigilant against an unseen enemy and altering behavior through masking, hand washing, and social distancing continue to challenge these demographic sectors, as shown by the statistics compiled daily.