A new COVID variant has sparked global concerns and travel restrictions, but what could that mean in the United States and Chicago?
Plus, what should you know about COVID testing after Thanksgiving meetings?
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic in Illinois today:
Chicago officials issue statement on new COVID variant of Omicron
Chicago officials are bracing for the new omicron COVID variant, although they said there were still many unanswered questions regarding the worrying emerging variant.
In a statement released on Monday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr Allison Arwady said the city was “very engaged in extensive discussions regarding the omicron variant of the COVID virus. 19, in particular with our federal partners “.
“At this point, there are many questions that scientists around the world and the Chicago Department of Public Health are actively trying to answer while keeping a close watch on this strain,” the statement said. “While this work continues, we as a city, and especially as individuals, must continue to follow public health guidelines: get vaccinated and, if vaccinated, get a booster; wear a face mask. indoors and when you are with other people; and if you feel sick, stay home to save lives. Unvaccinated people are most at risk for themselves and others, so get vaccinated soon as possible.
Read more here.
Watch live: President Biden to address Omicron variant
President Joe Biden is expected to comment on Omicron, the worrisome new COVID variant.
NBC News will offer a special report from the address starting at 10:45 am CT. Watch live in the player above.
Symptoms, cases and more of Omicron’s COVID variant: what we know so far
A new variant, named B.1.1.529, has been named a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization and has been given the name “omicron” from the letter of the Greek alphabet.
A new COVID variant dubbed omicron has sparked global concerns and travel restrictions for several countries over the Thanksgiving long weekend, but what makes it so disturbing and what symptoms should you watch out for?
The global risk of omicron is “very high,” the World Health Organization said on Monday, as more countries reported cases of the variant which has raised concerns around the world that there is more pandemic suffering to come.
Here’s a breakdown of what we know about the new omicron variant, its symptoms, and where cases have been found so far.
When will the Illinois mask term end? This is what we know
Mask requirements have been lifted in dozens of states, leading some to wonder when Illinois will follow suit.
Of the six states where mask warrants remain in effect – Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington – Illinois is the only one east of the Mississippi River.
An analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that of the aforementioned five states excluding Washington, which had no data listed, Illinois had the second lowest positivity rate – between 3 and 4.9%.
Read more here.
United Airlines is monitoring restrictions based on Omicron variants, but has not adjusted schedules
United Airlines officials say new travel restrictions on flights to several African countries have yet to lead to any adjustments to the airline’s schedule, with the company expected to operate new flights to those countries in the coming days.
In recent days, President Joe Biden has announced new restrictions on travel from several African countries due to the emergence of the COVID omicron variant. As of Monday, the United States will reinstate the travel ban on foreign nationals from a total of eight countries, including South Africa.
U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents will be exempt from the Level 4 travel restriction, according to the State Department.
In a statement to NBC 5, United Airlines said it was monitoring the impact of the new travel restrictions on flight demand, but said it had made no adjustments to its schedule.
Read more here.
Chicago area health officials are monitoring new Omicron variant very closely
Chicago health officials say they are closely monitoring the new variant of the coronavirus, Omicron, after a World Health Organization panel called the worrying threat “highly transmissible.”
Dr Rachel Rubin, co-head and chief medical officer of the Cook County Department of Public Health, released a statement on Friday saying authorities are uncertain whether the variant has reached the United States, but will continue to monitor health recommendations.
“We are monitoring the Omicrom variant very carefully. We do not know if the variant has reached the United States, but given the global concern over the virus, it is more important than ever to continue to follow public health recommendations. : Mask Up, Wash your hands, stay physically away and, most importantly, get vaccinated and receive your booster as soon as you are eligible. The more people do not get vaccinated, the more the risk of fatal variants increases “, Rubin said in a statement.
Read more here.
Omicron: What’s the difference between one “variant of interest” and another? “Worrisome variant? “
While the World Health Organization announces that omircon has been classified as a “variant of concern”, many question the difference between this categorization and an “interesting variant”.
Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, technical manager of the WHO health emergency program, said the first evidence for omicron, known by technical term B.1.1.529, shows that the variant has a large number of mutations, some of which have characteristics of concern.
Omicron has also been shown to have an increased risk of re-infection compared to other highly transmissible variants, indicating that people who have contracted COVID and have recovered may be more likely to catch it again with this variant.
Read more here.
How accurate are home COVID tests? What to know after Thanksgiving gatherings
After spending time with family and friends at Thanksgiving gatherings this week, more people are looking for ways to easily test for COVID-19 infection at home.
But how accurate are home coronavirus tests?
A number of at-home options are now available, the most recent of which received approval from the Food and Drug Administration last month. However, concerns were raised after some tests were recalled due to false positive results.
Here’s what you need to know.