Is COVID still a pandemic? Chicago’s Top Doctor Weighs In – NBC Chicago

COVID-19 has been around for two years and counts, but is it still considered a pandemic?

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady says COVID-19 continues to be a “major pandemic” as more infections occur in the city – and around the world – with the spread of new variants.

“We’re not showing any signs of this ebb or it becoming something we won’t see again,” Arwady said on Thursday.

Illinois health officials reported 35,371 new coronavirus cases in the past week, along with 48 additional deaths as 66 counties in the state are at a “high” community level for COVID-19.

The previous week, the state reported 32,268 new cases, 52 deaths, and 50 counties at the “high” community level.

The previous week, the state had reported 33,066 new cases and 59 deaths.

A total of 3,563,653 coronavirus cases have been reported in the state since the pandemic began, according to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health released Friday. The additional deaths bring the state to 34,375 confirmed COVID deaths.

Sudden increases in COVID-19 cases have been driven by the emergence of new variants, including delta and omicron. Currently, a more contagious omicron subvariant, called BA.5, accounts for most new cases in the United States, but a distinct, newer subvariant is gaining attention.

The BA.2.75 subvariant may be able to evade vaccines and previous infection, the scientists say.

Cases of BA.2.75 have surfaced in at least a dozen countries, including the United States, where numbers remain extremely low. A total of 13 cases have been confirmed in the United States, including three in Illinois, Dr Arwady said.

At this point, it doesn’t look like the strain will lead to another major wave of COVID in the United States, but the possibility remains.

NBC Chicago

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