BA.2 Transmissibility, 2nd Booster Shot – NBC Chicago
How much more transmissible is the BA.2 subvariant than the original omicron strain?
As cases begin to show signs of increasing and the omicron subvariant is rapidly becoming the dominant strain in parts of the United States, will you need another booster shot?
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic in Illinois today:
Illinois to halt COVID testing at 10 state sites
Citing a “sharp decline in demand for COVID-19 testing services,” the Illinois Department of Health announced plans to cease operating such sites in the state at the end of the month.
According to health officials, the sites are performing “less than 1% of the tests performed statewide.”
“The number of daily tests performed at these sites is on track to be the lowest on record, with each site seeing fewer than 50 people per day, according to IDPH G data,” the health department says. “Given the availability of free at-home COVID-19 testing from the federal government, the network of qualified health centers statewide, and the large number of SHIELD Saliva Testing Sites Throughout Illinois, there are many convenient opportunities for Illinois residents to have access to testing if needed.”
However, the department said the state is “currently well positioned to respond to a potential increase.”
All 10 locations will stop operating for testing, vaccinations or both after March 31. Locations include: Aurora, Arlington Heights, South Holland, Fairview Heights, Peoria, Bloomington, Champaign, Harwood Heights, Rockford and Waukegan.
How much more transferable is BA.2 than Omicron? Here’s what the doctors say
As the BA.2 omicron subvariant spreads in parts of the United States, some question its transmissibility, particularly whether BA.2 is more contagious than the original omicron strain.
BA.2 has been steadily growing as a proportion of COVID variants circulating in the United States since Feb. 5, when it accounted for about 1% of genetically sequenced virus samples, according to data released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although BA.2 is increasing in the United States, top public health officials do not expect a dramatic further increase in cases, largely due to the level of immunity from vaccination and the fierce epidemic during the winter wave of omicron.
Learn more here.
FDA expected to authorize second COVID booster shot this week
The Food and Drug Administration could authorize a second booster of the COVID-19 vaccine early this week, according to two people with knowledge of the plan.
The move is coming in the middle of the first signs that the United States may soon experience another wave of Covid as the omicron subvariant, known as BA.2, is spreading throughout Europe and other parts of the world. Other countries, including UKChile, Israel and Sweden, already authorize a fourth vaccine for certain vulnerable populations.
Earlier this month, Moderna asked the FDA to authorize a fourth Covid vaccine for all adults, following Request from Pfizer-BioNTech for a second booster for people aged 65 and over. Both companies said protection against the initial recall waned after a few months.
Additional information is available here.
How long should you quarantine with COVID? Here’s what the CDC recommends
As coronavirus cases begin to rise in parts of the United States, residents are looking for reminders of what to do in case they are exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
The BA.2 subvariant of omicron is driving upward trends in cases in many places, including the Midwest. According to the latest data from the CDCthe omicron variant is still the dominant strain of the virus in the United States, with the BA.2 subvariant, otherwise known as the “stealth omicron,” accounting for about 35% of cases as of last week.
In the Midwest, the BA.2 subvariant is estimated to be responsible for more than 30% of new COVID cases over the past week.
So what should you do if you are exposed to someone with COVID? It depends on whether or not you are up to date with your vaccinations. Here’s what you need to know.
Chicago travel advisory: COVID precautions recommended in 9% of US under new guidelines
The Chicago Department of Public Health on Friday urged COVID-19 precautions in areas of the country considered medium or high risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as it unveiled new recommendations for travel advisories to align with federal guidelines.
CDPH issued a press release, explaining that it has adjusted Chicago’s travel advisory to match CDC county-level guidelines, which places more weight on hospitalizations and hospital capacity, rather than to the strict number of cases. Under the new protocols, counties are considered low, medium, or high risk for COVID transmission.
Starting later this week, Chicago’s travel advisory will look different, as city officials announced plans to change the structure of the advisory.
In medium-risk areas, people should “consider wearing a mask in indoor public spaces,” health officials say. In communities deemed high risk, people are advised to wear a mask in such settings.
Learn more here.
What are the symptoms of Omicron BA.2 subvariant? Here’s what the experts are saying so far
Months after the United States experienced an increase in cases of the omicron variant, attention turned to a different strain – BA.2, a sub-variant of omicron, also known as “stealth omicron”.
BA.2 caught the eye as it spawned a surge in infections in Europe earlier this month, and in recent weeks the number of cases has spiked in New York, where BA.2 appears to be poised to take over. as the dominant strain.
The BA.2 omicron subvariant is expected to make up most of Chicago’s COVID cases by the end of the month, the city’s top doctor said Tuesday.
As of March 19, the subvariant accounted for nearly 35% of COVID-19 cases in the United States, an increase of about 12% from the previous week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In recent days, the number of cases has also increased in the Midwest.
According to the CDC, the BA.2 subvariant accounted for just over 30% of new COVID cases in a six-state region, including Illinois, during the week ending March 19.
The full story can be found here.