Illinois vs Indiana: Comparing the two States COVID Response, Reopening Plans

Illinois vs Indiana: Comparing the two States COVID Response, Reopening Plans

Chicagoans, when they cross the border into northwest Indiana, are likely to experience a very visible ad campaign that the state aggressively pushes in that area. The marketing campaign stresses the lower taxes for both individuals and businesses in the Hoosier state, and how the cost of living in Indiana is lower. 

However, comparing the Land of Lincoln to the Crossroads of America is sort of like apples and oranges, given how Illinois contains Chicago, the nation’s third largest city and the absolute hub and de facto capital city of the Midwest. Having a major metropolis like this means Illinois has had to approach the COVID-19 pandemic in a completely different way than Indiana.


Up until the stay-at-home orders, Chicagoans would typically only cross the border into northwest Indiana for gambling. When casinos were far fewer in number, denizens of the second city would often head to Hammond, Whiting, East Chicago or Gary to test their luck. Now going online, from anywhere in the world, provides an opportunity to find out more about betting in the Hoosier state, where the gaming industry is currently booming. 

Natives of Chicagoland often traverse this area for another reason- taking the SkyWay to the Indiana Dunes. With “Hunker Down Hoosiers,” the state’s stay-at-home order which began on March 24 ending on April 30, Republican Governor Eric Holcomb is striving to be fully reopened by the Fourth of July holiday. Meanwhile Illinois is still under stay-at-home order since March 21. While the state is slowly re-opening, the city of Chicago is lagging a phase behind. So you can expect a lot of Chicagoans to take Indiana Toll Road trips this summer.


Here’s the upshot though- Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker is doing a better job. ProPublica did an analysis of state-level data, updated daily, for the five metrics which stem from the reopening guidelines issued by the Center for Disease Control. Those metrics are: number of positive tests per 100,000 people; percentage of tests that are positive; number of tests per 100,000 per day; availability of ICU beds; and number of hospital visits for “flu-like illness.”

In other words, the decision to when and how to reopen was based on five benchmarks, and Illinois was the ONLY state in the entire country to hit all five.

California and New York, two states also on the stricter end of the spectrum, who have also struggled mightily with the coronavirus, hit four of five goals. Indiana was one of 30 states to hit just three.


So really, at the end of the day, freer wheeling Indiana looks like the state that’s much more fun. However, buttoned-up Illinois is the safer and more productive place to be.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TVSports IllustratedChicago Now and SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for Chicago Tribune.comon Twitter and his cat on Instagram.

Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.


Filed under: Current Events, Policy

Leave a comment