Child Care Troubles, COVID Hospitalizations – NBC Chicago

Doctors are bracing for a rise in illnesses following the new year’s holiday gatherings as many parents already struggle to navigate caring for sick children, child care disruptions and more.

The worries come as COVID hospitalizations rise in the U.S.

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

Move On From COVID? Child Care Disruptions Continue

For working parents of young children, it seems the rest of the world has moved on from the pandemic. But unending illness and child care disruptions have upended many families’ lives.

Vaccines for young kids and the end of quarantines for COVID exposure were supposed to bring relief. Instead, young families were treated to what some called a “tripledemic.” Flu, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus cases collided, stressing children’s hospitals and threatening the child care system. And doctors and parents fear disruptive illnesses will continue this winter.

Even parents of babies with less serious cases of COVID-19 have run into 10-day isolation rules that have taxed the patience of employers.

Flu and RSV on the Decline But COVID Hospitalizations Rise

COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising in the United States, even as hospitalizations for respiratory syncytial virus and the flu continue to fall.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday that, while flu is still spreading at high levels, virus activity is falling in “most areas.” For the week ending Dec. 24, around 18,800 people were hospitalized with flu, down from around 20,700 hospitalizations the week prior.

Read more here.

54 Illinois Counties at an Elevated COVID-19 Community Level as Cases Drop

As holiday celebrations wrap up across the state and country, cases of COVID-19 in Illinois have substantially dropped since last week’s reporting according to the CDC, although a drop in testing over the holidays may have played a factor.

All counties in the Chicago area are at a “medium” COVID-19 community level, with DuPage, Kendall and DeKalb counties dropping from “high” to “medium” over the past seven days.

CDC data shows that 54 of Illinois’ 102 counties are currently at a “high” or “medium” community level, down from 88 counties at an elevated level last week.

Read more here.

Here’s Where COVID Rules for Visitors From China Are Changing

Some countries announced new COVID testing requirements for visitors from China after the mainland said it would finally relax border controls.

Japan was the first country to subsequently release rule changes, followed by the U.S. and others. COVID-19 infections surged this month in mainland China, but there is limited data available publicly.

Here are some of the latest policy changes for travelers from China.

U.S. Records 100 Million COVID Cases, But More Than 200 Million Americans Have Probably Had It

The U.S. recorded more than 100 million formally diagnosed and reported COVID-19 cases this week, but the number of Americans who’ve actually had the virus since the beginning of the pandemic is probably more than twice as high.

COVID-19 has easily infected more than 200 million in the U.S. alone since the beginning of the pandemic — some people more than once. The virus continues to evolve into more transmissible variants that dodge immunity from vaccination and prior infection, making transmission incredibly difficult to control as we go into the fourth year of the pandemic.

Read more here.

What Are the Best Masks to Wear for COVID-19, Other Respiratory Illnesses?

The simultaneous threat of COVID-19, RSV and flu continues to circulate, spurring health agencies to recommend that people once against start what used to be a mainstay during the height of the pandemic: masking.

While face coverings aren’t currently recommended in the entirety of the Chicago area, masks are being advised in some portions following an uptick in COVID-19 metrics.

Read more here.

What Are ‘Never-Coviders’?

Not to be confused with people who have not yet caught COVID-19, researchers believe the section of the population that are naturally immune to the virus (never-coviders) won’t ever get sick.

Not to be confused with people who have not yet caught COVID-19, researchers believe the section of the population that are naturally immune to the virus (never-coviders) won’t ever get sick.

Watch here.

You Can Get Free COVID Tests From the Government. Here’s How

Once again, U.S. residents can get free COVID tests delivered right to their homes.

The Biden Administration announced Dec. 15 that it’s offering households four rapid virus tests through covidtests.gov, so how can you get yours?

Read more here.