New COVID Variants, CDC Tracker Sees Signs of Shift – NBC Chicago

Chicago’s top doctor noted what could be the start of a fall-winter shift in COVID variants, but how concerning is that?

Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:

Chicago’s top doctor points to signs of shifting COVID variants heading into fall

Chicago’s top doctor pointed out what this week could be the start of a change in the COVID variants circulating in the US and Midwest.

“We’re starting to see a little change here,” said Dr. Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady during a Facebook Live Tuesday, noting in particular changes in BA.2.75 and a new BF.7 variant.

Read more here.

Here are the COVID-19 variants being tracked by the CDC, including the new BF.7

A new COVID-19 variant, which is increasing in number while the BA.5 omicron subvariant begins to decline, is one of several variants currently being tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as it heads into the fall and winter while experts are on the lookout for a mutation that could cause another surge in the pandemic.

While the Omicron subvariant BA.5 has been the dominant COVID strain in the United States for several months, there are at least four other subvariants gaining ground in recent weeks.

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How soon after COVID illness can you get the new COVID vaccine boosters?

If you recently had COVID-19, when is the best time to get the new omicron-specific booster shot?

Federal officials say there are no restrictions on getting the booster if you have a recent COVID infection. Anyone who received a primary COVID vaccine is eligible two months after their last dose of either the original vaccines or previous booster shots.

But Chicago’s top doctor, who recently recovered from COVID on her own, said while there’s no need to wait, some people might consider postponing their last dose if they’ve recently been infected.

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Is the COVID Pandemic ‘Over’ as Biden Says? Chicago pundits weigh in

After making headlines with comments that the COVID-19 pandemic is over in the US, President Joe Biden is being confronted by doctors who say such language could paint an overly rosy picture of the situation if the fall and winter months are approaching.

“The pandemic is over,” Biden said during an appearance on “60 Minutes” over the weekend. “We still have a problem with COVID, and we’re still working a lot on it, but the pandemic is over.”

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Do Omicron COVID Vaccine Boosters Protect Against Infection? Top Doc explained

With the arrival of the long-awaited COVID-19 booster shots targeting BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants, many may be curious as to how effective the new vaccines are.

How well will the new bivalent COVID boosters protect against infection from the latest variants and mutations, including the now dominant Omicron subvariant BA.5?

While health officials have said vaccines continue to offer effective protection, especially when it comes to severe episodes from the virus, experts are hoping the latest shots could go further.

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New COVID variants are gaining ground as BA.5 cases slow, CDC says

While the Omicron subvariant BA.5 has been the dominant COVID strain in the United States for several months, there are at least four other subvariants gaining ground in recent weeks.

According to the latest estimates released Tuesday by the CDC, subvariant BA.5 still accounts for 84.8% of COVID cases in the United States.

This subvariant, which has been the dominant COVID strain in the US since early July, reached nearly 90% of cases at one point, but has been slowly declining as at least four other omicron types circulate in the population.

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Not sure if your symptoms are Long COVID or something else? Here’s what you should know

As respiratory infections rise, cold and flu season begins, allergy season lingers, and the BA.5 omicron subvariant continues its dominance, it can be difficult to distinguish what exactly is behind your COVID symptoms—especially as some linger longer than others.

The Chicago area has reported a sharp increase in child hospitalizations in recent weeks due to a variety of respiratory infections. Meanwhile, nearly two dozen Illinois counties remain at high community levels for COVID, and allergy season continues to take its toll.

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What to expect with possible side effects of the booster vaccination with the bivalent COVID vaccine

With the arrival of the long-awaited COVID-19 booster shots targeting BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants, many may be curious about the possible side effects while preparing for another vaccination.

It turns out that the new boosters may not differ much from your last dose.

Read more here.

Illinois coronavirus: Nearly 18,000 new cases, 74 deaths reported in last week

Illinois health officials reported 17,584 new COVID-19 cases last week and 74 additional deaths, a decrease in cases from a week earlier, as 20 counties within the state remain at “high” community levels for COVID-19.

In the prior week, Illinois reported 19,933 new cases and 64 deaths. The week before, 26,127 new cases and 70 deaths were reported.

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Illinois reports highest vaccine counts in months after strong demand for new COVID boosters

More than 188,000 Illinois residents have received a dose of the newly updated bivalent COVID-19 booster shots, which health officials say will likely be key to stemming an expected surge in the coronavirus in the coming months.

The modified boosters, which contain half the original COVID-19 vaccine recipe and half protection against the latest Omicron subvariants, were approved by federal health officials in early September and began dispensing days later.

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Gov. Pritzker announces changes to Illinois COVID-19 requirements

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration on Thursday announced a change to the state’s COVID mitigation strategies.

The new guidelines included an update to testing requirements for school and childcare staff. Unvaccinated employees in these environments no longer need to be tested twice a week.

The change will go into effect on Friday, according to the governor’s office.

Read more here.

Will COVID symptoms shift to fall and winter? What experts say to expect

As COVID symptoms have shifted since the pandemic began, many are wondering what to expect next as the variant is expected to continue mutating through fall and winter. What do experts pay attention to?

As the pandemic enters its third winter, Chicago health experts noted Tuesday that newer variants may bring changes in symptoms — in fact, they already have.

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What respiratory diseases are behind the recent surge in Chicago-area children’s hospitalizations?

A recent surge in hospitalizations of children for respiratory illnesses across the Chicago area has caught the attention of health experts, with colder weather likely to make respiratory illnesses even more prevalent.

As COVID-19 continues to be a public health concern, other common respiratory viruses, which often manifest themselves in cold symptoms, are behind a surge that is occurring much earlier than a typical rise in illnesses each year, which coincides with colder weather.

Read more here.

What are the possible side effects of the Omicron-specific COVID-19 booster shots?

With the arrival of the long-awaited COVID-19 booster shots targeting BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants, many may be curious about potential side effects.

Well, the new booster shots may not be that different from the previous versions of the vaccines in terms of side effects.

Read more here.

Respiratory diseases leading to an early rise in child hospitalizations. Here’s what you should know

Fall and winter are usually the times when respiratory illnesses spike, but a recent spike in Chicago-area children’s hospitalizations has worried some health officials.

Fall and winter are usually the times when respiratory illnesses spike, but a recent spike in Chicago-area children’s hospitalizations has worried some health officials.

“Right now we’re seeing a lot of RSV, we’re seeing some other respiratory viruses, you know, a lot of kids being hospitalized right now with some respiratory viruses — more traditional ones,” said Dr. said Allison Arwady during a Facebook Live Tuesday.

Health experts across the region are reporting an increase in hospital admissions for respiratory diseases in children. And some say the COVID pandemic could have an impact on that surge.

Read more here.

Are you still contagious with COVID after 5 days? Here’s what we know

If the incubation period of COVID changes, what does that mean for isolation time and how long are you contagious?

During a Facebook Live last month, Dr. Chicago Department of Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said recent studies have shown that the incubation period for COVID has dropped to three days with recent variants.

Read more here.

How long have you been contagious with COVID? The incubation period has changed, says Top Doc

COVID’s incubation period has changed with extra-contagious omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, Chicago’s top doctor said, but what does that mean for how long you’re contagious?

During a Facebook Live last month, Dr. Chicago Department of Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said recent studies have shown that the incubation period for COVID has dropped to three days with recent variants.

Read more here.

Can you mix and match your COVID booster shot?

Do those planning a COVID booster shot have to get the same vaccine as their primary series, or can they mix and match?

The answer depends.

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If you have already received a booster shot, can you get the new COVID vaccine?

The new COVID vaccines, specifically targeting the Omicron variant and its highly contagious subvariants, come with many questions, including some from those wondering if they can still get the updated booster shot even if they’ve already had a booster shot ?

The answer is yes, as long as it has been at least two months since your last booster shot.

Read more here.

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