Ultimate magazine theme for WordPress.

Chicago’s Top Doctor Talks Omicron Variant, Gives COVID Update at 1 p.m. – NBC Chicago

NOTE: Watch the press conference live from 1pm in the player above.

Chicago’s top doctor is expected to speak outside the city on Tuesday to provide an update on the pandemic and discuss the new omicron variant of COVID that is raising global concerns.

Chicago Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, expected to be due at 1:00 p.m. from City Hall with the CDPH Medical Director, Dr. Geraldine Luna, and Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez speak.

The press conference is held to “provide an update on COVID-19 in the community and schools, present the latest data and discuss pandemic issues, including what we know about the Omicron variant,” according to a press release.

The press conference comes the day after Arwady and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot first raised concerns about the new variant.

In a joint statement on Monday, the couple said the city was “very much involved in the intensified discussions about the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, especially with our federal partners”.

“At this point in time, there are many issues that scientists around the world and in the Chicago Department of Public Health are actively working on as they closely monitor this exposure,” the statement said. “As this work continues, we as a city, and especially as individuals, must continue to adhere to the public health guidelines: get vaccinated, and if you are vaccinated, get your booster vaccination; wear a mask indoors and when you are around other people; and when you feel sick, stay home to save lives. The unvaccinated remain the most vulnerable for themselves and others, so please get vaccinated as soon as possible. “

Similarly, the Cook County Health Department said Friday it is monitoring the variant “very carefully.”

“We don’t know if the variant made it to the United States, but with global concern about the virus, it’s more important than ever to continue to follow public health recommendations: Mask Up, Wash Your Hands, Stay Physical Distancing, and Most Importantly is that you get vaccinated and get your booster shot as soon as you are eligible, “said Dr. Rachel Rubin, co-director and senior medical officer of the Cook County Department of Public Health.” The longer people are not vaccinated, the more it goes Risk of more deadly variants. “

The global Omicron risk is “very high,” said the World Health Organization on Monday, as more countries have reported cases of the variant that have raised concerns around the world that more pandemics are imminent.

Despite the worldwide alarm, there is still little understanding of the variant and how virulent it can be.

Chicago officials are preparing for the new omicron COVID variant, although they said there are still many questions to be answered about the emerging worrying variant. Mary Ann Ahern from NBC 5 reports.

The World Health Organization announced last week that Omircon has been classified as a “questionable variant”.

The technical director of the COVID-19 program of the WHO emergency health program, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said that early evidence for Omicron, known by the technical term B.1.1.529, shows that the variant has a large number of mutations, some of which have questionable properties.

Omicron also has an increased risk of reinfection compared to other highly communicable variants, suggesting that people who have contracted COVID and recovered may be more prone to contracting this variant again.

The leading U.S. expert on infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, added that public health experts are trying to find answers to questions such as whether the Omicron variant causes more serious illnesses and whether it can evade protection from vaccines or treatment.

“It also has a number of mutations that suggest it could bypass protection from monoclonal antibodies and maybe even convalescent plasma for infected and convalescent people, and possibly a vaccine enough, for example,” Fauci said.

The rapid spread of the variant is also worrying, said Fauci.

“It seems to have spread pretty quickly in South Africa, although the numbers are relatively small, its ability to infect people who have recovered from infection and even people who have been vaccinated make us say, ‘This is something that you have “. to be really attentive and ready for something serious, ‘”explained Fauci.” It may not turn out that way, but you really want to be ahead, and that’s why we do what we do. “

The symptoms associated with the new variety were described as “extremely mild” by the doctor who first raised concerns about the new variety. Dr. Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, told the BBC on Sunday that she began seeing patients earlier this month with “unusual symptoms” that were slightly different from those associated with the Delta variant, the most virulent Strain from the virus to date and dominant worldwide.

“It actually started with a male patient who is around 33 years old … and he said to me that he was just [been] Extremely tired the last few days and he has these body aches and a bit of a headache, “she told the BBC.

The patient has no sore throat, she said, but rather “scratches in the throat” but no cough or loss of taste or smell – symptoms that have been linked to previous strains of the coronavirus.

Coetzee said she tested the male patient for COVID and he was positive, as were his family, and then said she saw more patients that day who had the same symptoms, different from the Delta variant.

Other patients she had seen with the Omicron variant had also experienced “extremely mild” symptoms, and she added that her colleagues had noticed similar cases.

“What we see clinically in South Africa – and remember, I am at the epicenter of where I practice – is extremely mild for us.” [these are] mild cases. We didn’t take anyone in, I talked to other colleagues about myself and they give the same picture. “

However, the extent of the actual spread of the Omicron variant around the world remains unclear as countries discover new cases every day.

Scientists in several places – from Hong Kong to Europe to North America – have confirmed its presence.

Canada’s health minister says the country’s first two cases of Omicron were found in Ontario after two people who recently traveled from Nigeria tested positive.

The US has not yet identified any cases, but Fauci and other experts have warned they may have made it to America by now.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it were like that. We haven’t discovered it yet, but if you have a virus that shows this level of transmittability and you already have travel-related cases that have been identified in Israel and Belgium and other places, when you have a virus like this one, it will be essentially everywhere almost without exception, ”said Fauci.

As of Monday, the US has restricted travel from South Africa and seven neighboring countries: Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.

Many countries are introducing such bans despite contradicting the advice of the WHO, which warned of overreaction before the variant is thoroughly investigated.

Moderna chief medical officer Paul Burton said Sunday the vaccine maker could launch a reformulated vaccine against the variant Omicron coronavirus early next year.

The vaccine maker “mobilized hundreds” of workers as of early Thursday morning on Thanksgiving to begin researching the new variant, the company said in a statement.

Current vaccines might offer some protection depending on how long a person has been injected, Burton said. Even so, he said that unvaccinated people should get vaccinated or get their booster vaccination if they are eligible.

It is not clear whether new formulations are needed or whether current COVID vaccinations offer protection against the new variant that has spread worldwide.

“We should know about the current vaccine’s ability to provide protection in the next few weeks, but the remarkable thing about the Moderna platform mRNA vaccines is that we can move very quickly,” Burton said in the Andrew Marr Show ”on the BBC. “

“If we have to make a brand new vaccine, I think it will be early 2022 before it really becomes available in large quantities,” added the Moderna boss.

Comments are closed.