coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Johnson & Johnson Booster Shot, Halloween Guidance

Johnson & Johnson and Moderna could soon have their booster shots evaluated for emergency authorization, but when might that happen?

Plus, Chicago health officials are expected to release their plans for Halloween in the city.

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

What Could the Holidays Look Like This Year? Chicago's Top Doc Answers

As families begin their preparations for holiday gatherings this fall and winter, many are wondering if in-person gatherings will return following a year that saw many turn virtual.

Chicago health officials are preparing to release guidance for celebrating Halloween this week, but beyond that, the city's top doctor said it's hard to predict, though she admitted she is "a little worried."

"I'm not anticipating, you know, seeing an enormous surge like [last year] but I am a little worried," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. "I think what was driving that was us moving inside, frankly. We know there's a reason that influenza season happens every, you know, late fall and winter here, and we could see that with COVID."

Arwady said that she's confident that, if metrics continue on their current trend, gatherings involving fully-vaccinated individuals will likely happen, but it all depends.

Read more here.

Chicago Travel Advisory Drops to 47 States as Connecticut is Removed From List

Chicago's travel advisory dropped to 47 states and three territories, as Connecticut was removed from the city's warning list Tuesday, the city announced.

The city's health department said Connecticut saw its daily case rate drop below the threshold for being on the travel advisory and stay below that threshold for two straight weeks.

Connecticut, California and Puerto Rico are now the only locations not on the city's advisory.

Officials noted, however, that the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and Louisiana are close to coming off the list.

Read more here.

J&J Seeks US Clearance for COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Doses

Johnson & Johnson asked the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday to allow extra shots of its COVID-19 vaccine as the U.S. government moves toward expanding its booster campaign to millions more vaccinated Americans.

J&J said it filed a request with the FDA to authorize boosters for people 18 and older who previously received the company's one-shot vaccine. While the company said it submitted data on several different booster intervals, ranging from two to six months, it did not formally recommend one to regulators.

Read more here.

Chicago Travel Advisory Set for Update Tuesday

Chicago's travel advisory is set to be updated Tuesday.

Last week, the advisory, which is updated weekly, has remained the same, with 48 states and three territories on the city's warning list.

"Though the national average daily COVID case rate continues a recent trend of decreasing each week, CDPH reminds unvaccinated travelers that under the advisory, they should be tested for COVID before and after travel and should quarantine upon arrival in Chicago," the city's health department said in a statement Tuesday.

Chicago Public Schools to Unveil New COVID Quarantine Guidelines, CEO Says

Chicago Public Schools is expected to announce new quarantine guidance for schools Tuesday.

The district's CEO Pedro Martinez said during an event Monday that he plans to unveil a new quarantine protocol as CPS reports thousands of students currently in quarantine.

Martinez said he met with Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady to discuss a plan for students. He is expected to speak about the new plan later Tuesday afternoon.

Read more here.

When Will Illinois' Mask Mandate End? What Pritzker Says Needs to Happen First

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday Illinois' COVID-19 metrics must be on a "good downward trajectory" before he'll decide whether to rescind the mask mandate that was reinstated in late August due to a rapid rise in cases.

Addressing reporters Monday, Pritzker pointed to progress in the declining number of new hospitalizations, but said the number of existing patients hospitalized with COVID-19 remains steady.

Read more here.

Chicago Officials Expected to Release Halloween Guidance This Week

Chicago health officials are preparing to release guidance for celebrating Halloween this week.

The Chicago Department of Public Health told NBC Chicago Monday that the city "should have an updated Halloween guidance later this week."

"CDPH does follow the CDC and recommend people cons​ult them if they have questions in the meantime," the department said in a statement.

Read more here.

President Biden's Trip to Chicago Now Set for This Week After Being Postponed

President Joe Biden's expected trip to Chicago has been rescheduled for this week, according to the White House.

The president is set to arrive in the city Thursday, resuming his plans to tout vaccine mandates after the trip was postponed last week.

"The President will travel to the Chicago, Illinois area to highlight the importance of COVID-19 vaccine requirements," the White House said in a release Monday.

Read more here.

CDC Guidance for Celebrating Holidays in 2021 'Being Updated'

With the coronavirus pandemic continuing into a second holiday season, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention appeared to have released updated guidance over the weekend for those looking to celebrate safely.

But the portion of the agency's website reflecting holiday guidance, refreshed on Friday, was taken down on Monday.

"The content is in the process of being updated by CDC to reflect current guidance ahead of this holiday season," CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said in a statement. "The page had a technical update on Friday, but doesn’t reflect the CDC’s guidance ahead of this upcoming holiday season. CDC will share additional guidance soon."

What Are the Side Effects, Risks of Pfizer's COVID Booster Shot?

As more people become eligible for Pfizer's COVID-19 booster shot, are there any side effects or risks associated with the next vaccine dose?

Among people who stand to benefit from a booster, there are few risks, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded.

Serious side effects from the first two Pfizer doses are exceedingly rare, including heart inflammation that sometimes occurs in younger men. Data from Israel, which has given nearly 3 million people — mostly 60 and older — a third Pfizer dose, has uncovered no red flags.

A small number of people have experienced a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine, like anaphylaxis, which would occur during the 15 to 30 minutes patients wait after the injection.

The CDC has noted that side effects with the third shot "were similar to that of the two-dose series."

Read more here.

Moderna vs. Pfizer: Is One Vaccine Stronger Against Delta Variant?

With many now able to choose which COVID vaccine they receive, questions surrounding which offers better protection against the now-surging delta variant have spiked.

Several studies have been conducted to determine vaccine effectiveness, but is one vaccine actually better than the others?

According to medical experts, the three vaccines currently available in the U.S. each offer protection.

Here's a breakdown of what we know so far about each vaccine.

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