Monica Eng
Oct 19, 2022 - COVID

Fall germs forecast for Chicago

Illustration of a giant needle holding multiple needles inside, showing vaccination against multiple types of flu

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

CDPH commissioner Allison Arwady is warning that sluggish uptake of the new COVID-19 booster could spell trouble for the fall and winter.

Why it matters: Just about 10% of Chicagoans have gotten the booster, and that's "not enough to get us through this winter without a likely fairly significant surge," Arwady said yesterday during her weekly COVID update.

Monica Eng
Sep 6, 2022 - COVID

New COVID booster now available in Chicago. Here's what it's like

Arm with a sticker and bandaid for vaccine

Booster recipients get a sticker and a bandage. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Boy is my arm sore.

What happened: I got one of the first doses of the new COVID booster that targets Omicron BA. 4 and 5 that now make up all local cases.

Monica Eng
Aug 30, 2022 - COVID

CPS COVID cases triple

Illustration of a stack of wooden toy blocks showing a syringe, a COVID cell and a cotton swab.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

CPS reported three times as many COVID-19 cases during the first week of this school year as it did a year earlier.

Why it matters: The highly contagious BA. 5 variant is dominating local cases, and CPS has weakened COVID precautions. That irks at least one local doctor.

COVID-19 rules fall as contagious variants rise

Mask on street

A discarded surgical mask on the sidewalk in Lakeview. Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Just as two highly contagious COVID-19 strains have taken over case rates in our region, state officials and at least one big event organizer have chosen to further relax mitigation rules.

Why it matters: BA.4 and BA.5 now make up more than 80% of our area's COVID cases. The strains are more contagious, leading some to warn about outdoor transmission. They're also better able to evade current vaccines and antibodies from a previous infection.

The case for masked hours

Illustration of a question mark wearing a mask.

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

While we might be back down to "medium" COVID-19 transmission risk levels, hospitalizations across Illinois have actually doubled since mid-April.

  • As of Thursday, 1,309 people statewide were hospitalized with COVID, the most since Feb. 21.
Monica Eng
Jul 6, 2022 - COVID

Contagious subvariants dominate COVID-19 rates

Data: CDC; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants now make up more than 70% of all COVID-19 cases in the Region 5 area that includes Chicago.

  • The rate is calculated by running thousands of samples through genomic sequencing.
Justin Kaufmann
Jun 22, 2022 - COVID

COVID-19 vaccines for youngest kids on the way

Illustration of a bandaid made out of lego blocks.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Parents can now book appointments for COVID-19 vaccines that are finally available for children under the age of 5.

What's happening: Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced several city-run locations that will start administering shots as early as Saturday.

Monica Eng
May 31, 2022 - COVID

Using caution during "high" COVID risk

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Even after Cook County's COVID-19 risk hit the orange "high level" zone late last week, health officials aren't mandating any behavior changes.

Why it matters: Lack of official mandates makes it harder for businesses to keep staff and vulnerable patrons safe from strains circulating in the community.


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