While news of a new hybrid COVID variant circulating, how worried should you be?
Chicago's top doctor explained what residents should know as the city continues to see a "gradual increase" in COVID metrics and BA.2 cases that health officials say was expected.
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
‘Gradual Increase' in Chicago COVID Cases Was Expected, but Overall Risk Remains Low: Top Doc
Officials with the Chicago Department of public Health say that they are tracking a “gradual increase” in COVID-19 cases in the city, but that the overall risk of infection remains low for city residents.
According to a press release issued Tuesday, the city is currently seeing an increase in both its test positivity, which has risen to 1.6% this week, and its COVID cases, with the city averaging 284 new cases per day.
Read more here.
Why Chicago's Top Doctor Isn't Worried About Emerging COVID Variant XE Just Yet
A new hybrid COVID variant known as XE spreading in the United Kingdom is making plenty of headlines with concerns about its transmissibility, but Chicago's top doctor said she's not concerned about it just yet.
"Mostly, it's been detected in the UK, several hundred cases, but nothing at this point that is clearly showing major concern or spread," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement. "And so it hasn't even been labeled at this point, an official variant of interest."
Arwady noted that while the recombinant variant has been detected in the U.S. already, no cases have been reported in Chicago or Illinois as of Monday.
Read more here.
What is the XE COVID Variant and Where Has it Been Detected So Far?
A new hybrid COVID variant known as XE spreading in the United Kingdom is making headlines, but what exactly is it and why are health officials taking note?
COVID Symptoms in Children: Here's Are Signs for Parents to Look Out For
With children heading back to school following spring break vacations and some still unable to get vaccinated against COVID-19, many parents are wondering what symptoms they should be aware of in kids.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children have similar symptoms to adults, and in many cases experience milder illness.
"While children are as likely to get COVID-19 as adults, kids are less likely to become severely ill," the Mayo Clinic reports. "Up to 50% of children and adolescents might have COVID-19 with no symptoms. However, some children with COVID-19 need to be hospitalized, treated in the intensive care unit or placed on a ventilator to help them breathe."
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Here's How the XE COVID Variant Differs From Others, According to a Chicago Scientist
While the coronavirus has receded in the U.S., cases are soaring in the United Kingdom, where scientists are also keeping an eye on a new hybrid strain - the XE variant.
XE, which consists of material from BA.1, the original omicron strain, and its subvariant BA.2, first surfaced in mid-January. More than 600 cases in the U.K. have been confirmed since then, according to health officials.
Early studies show XE could be more transmissible than the highly-contagious BA.2 subvariant, by as much as 10%. However, further studies are needed, according to the World Health Organization.
Find the complete story here.
COVID vs. Allergies: Here's How to Tell the Difference
With pollen sweeping the air and COVID variants lingering around, it can be difficult to identify the culprit behind the sneeze. So, how can you tell the difference between the two?
Experts say the only real way to know the answer is to take a test, but until then, health officials say to treat any possible symptoms as COVID.