BA.2 Symptoms, Chicago COVID Numbers, CDC Appeal – NBC Chicago

BA.2 omicron subvariants now represent nearly all U.S. COVID cases, so which symptoms should you be watching for?

Plus, the latest on the travel mask mandate as health officials request an appeal.

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

CDC Asks Justice Department to Appeal Ruling That Lifted Travel Mask Mandate

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that it requested the Justice Department to proceed with an appeal of a ruling that lifted a travel mask mandate.

“CDC believes this is a lawful order, well within CDC’s legal authority to protect public health. CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in all indoor public transportation settings,” the agency wrote in a statement adding that it will continue to monitor public health conditions to “determine whether such an order remains necessary.”

The Department of Justice said in a statement that it filed a notice of appeal in the case involving Health Freedom Defense Fund, Inc., et al., versus Biden, et al.

COVID Rates Chicago: Cases Increase 12%, Hospitalizations Down 36% Over Past Week

COVID-19 cases continue to be on the rise across Chicago, though the city’s hospitalizations and deaths saw a drop over the past week, according to the latest data.

As of Wednesday, cases were up to 481 on average per day, which is up 12% from 430 as of one week ago, the latest data from the Chicago Department of Public Health showed.

Hospitalizations were down 36% over the last seven days and deaths were down 80%, though fatalities have remained below one per day on average for several weeks, data showed.

Read more here.

With Nearly All COVID Cases Now BA.2 Subvariants, Here Are Symptoms to Watch For

With BA.2 omicron subvariants now representing nearly all COVID cases in the U.S., what symptoms should you be watching for?

Cases of “stealth omicron” continued to increase in the United States over the last week, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying that iterations of the subvariant are now responsible for more than 90% of cases in the country.

According to the latest data from the CDC, the estimated number of cases linked to the BA.2 subvariant actually decreased slightly to 74.4%, but cases of the BA.2.12.1 subvariant went up to 19% in the United States, meaning that more than 93% of COVID cases in the United States are believed to be occurring as a result of the BA.2 subvariants.

Cases of the BA.1.1 variant, the original omicron variant that spread like wildfire over the winter in the United States, are now down to 6.1%, according to CDC estimates.

Read more here.

COVID Vaccines for Kids Under 5: What to Know as Travel Mask Mandate Lifted

COVID vaccines for children under the age of 5 are still not available, even as the country lifts some of its final masking restrictions, so what should parents know before they travel and when could vaccinations be authorized?

Dr. Vivek Cherian, an internal medicine physician in Elk Grove, the decision of whether to travel with unvaccinated children following the lifting of the mandate “really depends on your level of risk tolerance.”

COVID vaccines for children under the age of 5 took a major step forward last month as many parents anxiously await approval for the only age group not yet eligible for vaccination, but little has been heard since.

Read more here.

Mask Mandate on Planes: Which Airlines Still Require Face Masks — and Which Don’t

Monday, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle struck down a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel mask mandate — a mandate set to expire May 3 — saying the CDC failed to justify its decision and did not follow proper rulemaking procedures that left it fatally flawed.

Following the ruling, the Transportation Security Administration said it will not enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time.

Subsequently, many airlines, international and domestic, weighed in on whether or not they’ll continue mask requirements for passengers on planes.

Here’s a look at which major airlines are and are not lifting their mask mandates.

Chicago Health Department Asks Flyers to Continue to Wear Masks at Airports, If Feeling Sick

Though face coverings are no longer required on public transportation, including on airlines and inside transit hubs, the Chicago Department of Public Health asked that people continue to wear a mask while in airports, if feeling sick.

“Please continue to wear a mask if you feel sick, and be respectful of those who choose to wear a mask, CDPH said in a tweet response to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

According to the statement released Tuesday from the CDA, which administers all aspects of O’Hare and Midway, masks will no longer be required at both airports, effective immediately.

Read more here.

COVID, Cold and Flu: How Symptoms and Infections Differ

From a sore throat to a runny nose, several symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to those of the common cold and flu, and people have been asking how to tell the difference among infections.

Before self-diagnosing, health officials said the best way to identify the ailment is through testing, especially given many symptoms overlap among COVID, a cold and the flu.

Read more here.

Are Masks Required Anywhere in Chicago? From Airlines, to Public Transit, to Uber – Here’s the Latest

After Florida judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle struck down the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel mask mandate —which had been set to end May 3— earlier this week, confusion arose not only across state lines and agencies, but across Illinois as a whole.

That’s partly because the state of Illinois was under an executive order from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, set to expire April 30, that required residents and visitors to wear masks on public transportation and in public transportation hubs.

But by Tuesday afternoon, the language in that executive order had already changed.

Here’s a breakdown of what all the changes look like, at the federal and local level.

Will a Mask Protect You If Others Aren’t Wearing One?

As travelers begin shedding masks in many public transportation settings, questions over safety concerns, particularly for those who cannot be vaccinated yet or those who are immunocompromised, are being raised.

Will wearing a mask protect you if no one else is wearing one?

Read more here.

CDC COVID Quarantine Guidelines: What to Do if You Were Exposed or Test Positive

What should you do if you or someone you have been in close contact with tests positive for coronavirus? How long are you contagious, how long should you quarantine for and when should you get tested?

With COVID cases slowly rising in Illinois and parts of the U.S., local health officials have issued warnings to take precautions, particularly in areas where transmission risk is increasing.

Here’s a look at the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on what to do if you test positive or believe you were exposed to someone who has. This guidance was most recently updated at the end of March.

Read more here.

COVID by the Numbers: Illinois Cases Rising, but Hospitalizations Remain Steady

Coronavirus cases are continuing to rise in the state of Illinois, but hospitalizations and ICU admissions have remained mostly steady in recent weeks, according to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

As of Monday, the state of Illinois is now averaging 2,191 new cases of coronavirus per day. That represents an increase of 25% in the last week, with the average number of new daily cases rising from 1,753 on April 11.

Read more here.

How Long After Exposure Could COVID Symptoms Start?

As cases of the coronavirus begin to rise in Illinois and parts of the U.S., due in part to the now-dominant BA.2 omicron subvariant, the risk for being exposed to someone with COVID is also slowly climbing. But when might symptoms first appear following a potential exposure?

Read more here.

When is the Best Time to Get Tested After COVID Exposure?

Testing is an important part of both quarantine and isolation guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention following exposure to someone with coronavirus. But when is the best time to get tested for COVID if you’ve been exposed?

Changes sparked by the omicron variant resulted in new guidance from the CDC last year, which shifted the timing for isolation and quarantine.

Read more here.

Symptoms, CDC Guidelines and More: What to Know as COVID Cases Rise in Illinois

As COVID-19 cases take an uptick in Illinois, health officials are monitoring symptoms, updating guidelines and evaluating precautions to ensure areas remain at low transmissibility levels.

On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health issued a warning as coronavirus case rates are “slowly rising in many areas of the state,” saying residents “should be paying close attention to conditions in their local communities.”

In the same notice, the health agency urged vaccinations and booster shots for eligible populations.

Here’s what to know as cases continue to rise.

When Could COVID Vaccine Be Available for Kids Under 5? The Latest on Timing

COVID vaccines for children under the age of 5 took a major step forward last month as many parents anxiously await approval for the only age group not yet eligible for vaccination, but little has been heard since.

With cases of the omicron subvariant BA.2 on the rise across the U.S. and restrictions largely lifted across much of the U.S., parents of children still not eligible for vaccination are wondering when their time might come.

The nation’s 18 million children under 5 are the only age group not yet eligible for vaccination.

While the race is on to get the youngest members of the population vaccinated, which vaccine will work best and when might one be approved?

Here’s what we know so far.