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Worst Of COVID-19 Could Be Over — If Kids Get Vaccinated, No New Variants Emerge, Report Says

But local officials have warned a new variant that is resistant to the vaccines — or people not getting their flu and COVID-19 shots, leading to a double epidemic — could cause "significant trouble" in Chicago.

Commuters walk through the Loop as Chicagoans begin to return to their offices on May 13, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — The worst of the coronavirus pandemic could be over, according to a new report.

Modelers tracking and projecting the arc of the pandemic said the Delta surge appears to be peaking nationally, which means a slow decline in cases and deaths is expected — so long as there’s not a winter surge, according to NPR.

“Any of us who have been following this closely, given what happened with Delta, are going to be really cautious about too much optimism,” Justin Lessler, who helps run the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub, told NPR. “But I do think that the trajectory is towards improvement for most of the country.”

The team of modelers said the most likely scenario — which relies on kids getting vaccinated and no “super-spreading” variant emerging — forecasts infections will drop slowly from about 140,000 per day now to about 9,000 per day by March, according to NPR.

At the same time, deaths from COVID-19 would fall from about 1,500 per day now to fewer than 100 per day by March.

The models are not certainties, though.

“We have to be cautious because the virus has shown us time and time again that new variants or people loosening up on how careful they’re being can lead things to come roaring back,” Lessler told NPR.

Chicago’s COVID-19 numbers have fallen in recent weeks after quick rises as Delta swarmed the city over the summer. Cases, deaths and other metrics remain higher than they were before Delta hit, though.

RELATED: Flu Shots Needed Again This Year To Protect Health Care System During COVID Surge, Top Doc Says

And local officials have said they are worried about potential surges this fall and winter, especially if people don’t get vaccinated or if there is an emergence of variants that are resistant to the vaccines or are even more contagious than Delta.

“I think I would be foolish to not be at all worried about fall/winter,” Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a livestream Tuesday.

A new variant that is resistant to the vaccines — or people not getting their flu and COVID-19 shots, leading to a double epidemic — could cause “significant trouble” in Chicago, Arwady said.

William Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told NPR that places that get hit hard by cold weather over the winter could see an increase in cases.

And the Modeling Hub projects that the emergence of a more contagious variant would lead to more cases — an estimated 50,000 per day by March.

Vaccinations:

• In Illinois, about 6.96 million people — or 54.67 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — have gotten all their COVID-19 vaccine shots, according to state data.

• Across the state, 19,494 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 14,377,808 vaccine doses of the 17,135,875 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.54 million Chicagoans — or 57.2 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated. Just over 62 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot.

The numbers:

• Thirty-eight Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 since Tuesday.

• At least 24,699 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,652 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 3,561 cases since Tuesday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,605,320.

• Since Tuesday, 118,813 tests were reported statewide. In all, 30,912,653 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate was at 3.2 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 3.4 percent Tuesday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 3.9 percent. It was at 4.1 percent Tuesday.

• As of Tuesday night, 494 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 262 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, four deaths were reported since Tuesday. There have been at least 5,738 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of more than four deaths per day, down 6 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago has 444 had confirmed cases reported since Tuesday. It’s had a total of 314,435 confirmed cases. An average of 408 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 9 percent decrease from the week prior.

• Testing in Chicago has increased 23 percent since a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 3 percent, down from 3.4 percent the week prior.

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