coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Symptoms With Omicron Subvariants, Novavax

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

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Are COVID symptoms changing with the newer variants? Chicago's top doctor explained a noticeable shift happening as omicron subvariants continue to spread.

Plus, there's a new vaccine authorized in the U.S., but what makes it different and when could shots begin?

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

Which COVID Symptoms Are Most Associated With Newer Variants?

The fastest-spreading COVID-19 subvariants yet, the two latest versions of omicron appear to evade protection from vaccines and previous infections more easily than any others before.

With new COVID variants and subvariants behind many positive cases in Chicago and other parts of the country, many are wondering if symptoms are shifting with the newer variants as many begin to experience them.

Currently, the highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants account for most reported cases this summer.

Those subvariants have caused more upper respiratory, cold and flu-like symptoms, according to Chicago's top doctor, including fever, night sweats and sore throat. Some patients, though not all, are again experiencing a loss of taste and smell.

Read more here.

Novavax COVID Vaccine: What Makes It Different, When Shots Could Begin

Americans may soon get a new COVID-19 vaccine option -- shots made with a more tried-and-true technology than today’s versions.

Novavax received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday.

It’s late in the pandemic for a new choice, but the company is hoping to find a niche among some of the unvaccinated millions who might agree to a more traditional kind of shot -- a protein vaccine — and also to become a top choice for boosters, regardless of which type people got first. Only about half of vaccinated adults have gotten a booster.

So what exactly is Novavax and what should you know about the vaccine? Here's a breakdown.

Why Are New COVID Variants Bringing More Symptoms? Chicago's Top Doc Explains

With more people across the U.S. contracting the highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 COVID-19 subvariants, doctors are warning of new, additional symptoms related to the virus.

Both BA.4 and BA.5 have caused more upper respiratory, cold and flu-like symptoms, according to Chicago's top doctor, including fever, night sweats and sore throat. Some patients, though not all, are again experiencing a loss of taste and smell.

Some doctors and researchers believe that because these new variants spread so rapidly, they more commonly impact mucosal immunity as opposed to longer-lasting immunity, Chicago Department of Public Health Dr. Allison Arwady explained.

Read more here.

Pritzker Eliminates COVID Vaccine Requirements at Colleges, Eases Testing Rules at Hospitals

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration has announced a series of changes to the state’s COVID mitigation strategies, including eliminating vaccine requirements for college students and faculty members.

The new rules will also ease testing requirements at long-term care facilities and hospitals that are certified through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, according to a press release.

Vaccine mandates will remain in place for staff at K-12 schools, as well as at daycares, state-run congregate care facilities and other locations that are not CMS-certified, according to the press release.

Read more here.

Testing Troubles: Some COVID Testing Labs Certified Too Easily, With ‘Little Scrutiny'

When pop-up COVID-19 testing sites opened all over Chicago and cities across the U.S. late last year, many had the same question on their minds: Where did they all come from, and who was authorizing them?

A few Chicago-area companies were responsible for managing tens of thousands of tests and hundreds of individual testing sites nationwide.

Many of these testing locations were housed in business spaces shuttered during the pandemic.

Read more here.

Which COVID Variants Are Currently Spreading in the US? Here's What's Being Tracked Right Now

From omicron to BA.2 to BA.5 to BA.2.75, the list of COVID variants and subvariants continues to grow, but with newer versions outcompeting others, which ones are still around and spreading in the U.S.?

Here's a list of the most common subvariants of omicron currently spreading, according to the CDC, and information on when they originated, the threats that they pose, and what those numbers mean.

The First Thing You Should Do After COVID Diagnosis, According to Chicago's Top Doc

As two more contagious omicron subvariants take hold across the U.S., you may be wondering what steps to take if you test positive for COVID-19.

With the spread of several new subvariants of omicron, Chicago’s top doctor is offering advice to residents in the event that they test positive for COVID-19.

Speaking during her weekly “Ask Arwady” session, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady offered her advice for residents who may test positive for COVID in coming weeks and months, including the very first thing they should do after that diagnosis.

Read more here.

COVID Variant Update: BA.5 Strengthens Grip as Country's Most-Prevalent Strain of Virus

The number of COVID cases tied to a more-contagious subvariant continued to grow this week, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying that nearly two-thirds of the nation’s coronavirus cases are now tied to the strain.

That subvariant of omicron, known as BA.5, is now responsible for an estimated 65% of COVID cases in the United States, according to the latest figures released by the CDC.

Read more here.

The quickly changing coronavirus has spawned yet another super contagious omicron mutant that’s worrying scientists as it gains ground in India and pops up in numerous other countries, including the United States.

Chicago's Top Doc Expects New COVID Variant Detected in US to Spread

There's a new ultra-contagious omicron subvariant making its way into headlines even as the highly-transmissible BA.5 variant continues its global spread. And though the newest mutation isn't in Chicago just yet, the city's top doc said more cases in the U.S. are expected.

Scientists say the variant – called BA.2.75 – may be able to spread rapidly and get around immunity from vaccines and previous infection. It’s unclear whether it could cause more serious disease than other omicron variants, including the globally prominent BA.5.

"It's about a quarter of the cases right now in India. It's sort of competing with BA.5 there," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said. "It does look to be contagious, at this point doesn't look to be more serious, but we're still learning. It's not been named a variant of concern at this point. So we're watching it just like we watch other variants."

Read more here.

How Are COVID Symptoms Shifting With New Variants? Here's What Chicago's Top Doc Says

As the highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 COVID-19 subvariants take over the U.S., some people are seeing new signs and symptoms surrounding the virus.

The new variants aren't offering a major change in symptoms, however, but Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a Facebook live event Tuesday that doctors are seeing additional signs.

"Nothing really significantly different, I would say, but just more symptoms. It's a more virulent infection," Arwady said.

Read more here.

Latest on Super Contagious Omicron Subvariant BA.5

A highly-transmissible mutation of the omicron COVID variant known as BA.5 is raising concerns globally as it continues to gain traction in several countries, sparking new waves of cases and, in some instances, hospitalizations.

The rise in case rates, even as metrics remain uncertain due to at-home COVID test availability, has sparked warnings and renewed calls for masking in some locations.

So what is it about the new variant that makes it particularly concerning and what should you be watching for?

Here's what we know so far.

COVID Exposure Guidelines: Here's How Long to Quarantine After Close Contact, Testing Positive

As infectious new subvariants of COVID-19 take over the U.S., how long should you quarantine from others if you've been exposed to the virus or test positive?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, any person who comes into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID should quarantine, if not up to date on vaccinations.

Read more here.

First COVID Symptoms: How to Recognize the Onset of the Virus

After recent declines in COVID cases, several subvariants of omicron are making significant gains in the United States, with some studies indicating that they could potentially do a better job of evading existing vaccines and immunity.

According to the latest updates from the CDC, the BA.5 lineage of the omicron variant is now the most prevalent strain of the virus in the United States, responsible for nearly 54% of cases.

With those case trends, many individuals are curious about what symptoms typically appear first with a COVID infection, and how quickly those symptoms can appear.

Read more here.

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