New COVID Variant, Masking Requested Again – NBC Chicago

As doctors urge the public to return to masking guidelines with the rapid spread of BA.4 and BA.5, a new super-contagious COVID variant is also causing concern.

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

Doctor urges public to wear face masks as BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants spread

Two highly transmissible mutations of the omicron variant COVID-19 are gaining traction across the country, including in the Chicago area, leading some doctors to again recommend the use of face masks indoors.

The BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants now account for the majority of new COVID cases in the United States, according to health officials. As of July 2, the BA.5 subvariant was responsible for nearly 54% of COVID cases. BA.4 was nearly 17% higher, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Highly contagious novel coronavirus BA.2.75 mutant raises concern

The rapidly evolving coronavirus has spawned another super-contagious omicron mutant that is worrying scientists as it gains traction in India and appears in many other countries, including the United States.

Scientists say the variant – called BA.2.75 – may be able to spread quickly and evade immunity from vaccines and previous infections. It is unclear whether it could cause more severe disease than other omicron variants, including the world famous BA.5.

“It’s still very early for us to draw too many conclusions,” said Matthew Binnicker, director of clinical virology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “But it looks like, especially in India, transmission rates are showing a kind of exponential increase.” It remains to be seen whether it will surpass BA.5, he said.

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How long does COVID immunity last? Here’s what doctors are saying amid concerns about the new BA.5 subvariant

Unlike at the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 reinfections are no longer rare, with more new variants emerging and raising questions about immunity.

The omicron variant has led to a major shift in “natural immunity”, with many previously infected people susceptible to reinfection with the variant, as well as its faster-spreading subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5 .

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How long does it take for COVID Booster Shot to start working? Here’s what the research says

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has long touted the success of COVID-19 booster shots in reducing the risk of serious illness, encouraging eligible people to get a boost as soon as possible.

As two new subvariants of omicron, believed to be the fastest-spreading strains to date, circulate around the world, health officials widely say receiving a booster shot is a crucial part of reducing the risk of infection and curbing the pandemic.

For those who haven’t been boosted yet, people considering a second dose, and parents considering getting their children boosted, there may be some lingering questions.

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Latest information on the super contagious sub-variant of Omicron BA.5

A highly transmissible mutation of the omicron COVID variant known as BA.5 is causing global concern as it continues to gain traction in several countries, triggering new waves of cases and, in some cases, hospitalizations .

Rising case rates, though measurements remain uncertain due to the availability of home COVID testing, have triggered warnings and renewed calls for masking in some places.

So what’s in the new variant that makes it particularly concerning and what should you watch out for?

Here’s what we know so far.

What should you do when you have COVID? Here’s what health officials say

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

The subvariants known as BA.4 and BA.5 seem to evade protection from vaccines and previous infections more easily than any other before.

As of July 2, BA.5 was responsible for nearly 54% of COVID cases in the United States. BA.4 was nearly 17% higher, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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BA.4 and BA.5 COVID symptoms: what to watch for as infections climb

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

As of July 2, the BA.5 subvariant was responsible for nearly 54% of COVID cases in the United States BA.4, a similar subvariant, accounted for nearly 17% more, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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COVID exposure guidelines: Here’s how long to quarantine after close contact, test positive

As new infectious subvariants of COVID-19 invade the United States, how long should you quarantine yourself if you have been exposed to the virus or tested positive?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anyone who comes into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID should be quarantined, if they are not up to date on their vaccinations.

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Cook County moves from ‘high’ for COVID to ‘medium’: CDC

Cook County this week left the “high” community level for COVID-19, according to the latest data from federal health officials, leaving just two Chicago-area counties at that status.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 counties in Illinois are now classified at the “high” community level for COVID, including DuPage and Lake around Chicago.

Counties listed at the “high” community level are DuPage, Lake, Adams, Champaign, Coles, Fulton, Marshall, McLean, Peoria, Pike, Warren, Calhoun, Crawford, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jersey, Johnson, Madison, Massac, Pope, Saline, Wabash, Wayne, White and Williamson.

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Coronavirus in Illinois: 27,000 new cases, 48 ​​deaths last week as Chicago returns to high

Illinois health officials reported 27,543 new coronavirus cases in the past week, along with 48 additional deaths, marking a slight decrease in cases from the previous seven days as 28 counties in the state remain at a “high” COVID-19 community level.

The previous week, the state reported 28,216 new cases, 74 deaths and another 28 counties at the “high” community level.

The previous week, the state reported 27,094 new cases and 82 deaths were reported.

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Early Symptoms of COVID: How to Recognize When the Virus Appears

After recent declines in COVID cases, several omicron subvariants are making significant gains in the United States, with some studies indicating 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 these case trends, many people are curious about what symptoms typically appear first with a COVID infection and how quickly those symptoms can appear.

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How long are you contagious with COVID? Chicago’s Top Doc responds with the latest advice

Chicago’s top doctor, in a Facebook live event on Tuesday, detailed when patients are most infectious and how to handle a positive test result after 10 days.

“You need to stay home for five days, because those first five days are usually when you’re most infectious,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. “But between 6 and 10 days, some people can still spread the virus.”

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