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60% Of Americans Have Now Had COVID, With Omicron Fueling Surge This Winter, CDC Says

Omicron drove cases to record highs over the winter, which Chicago and Illinois hitting peaks in late December and early January.

Pedestrians, some wearing face masks, cross State Street in the Loop as the weather warms up on April 11, 2022.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — The majority of Americans have had COVID-19 at least once — with Omicron contributing significantly to driving up that number, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC found an estimated 60 percent of people in the United States showed signs of prior COVID-19 infection as of February, according to a New York Times report. That’s even higher among children, where the research showed 75 percent of kids 11 and younger show signs of having had COVID-19.

The research relied on blood samples taken September-February that contained antibodies that would indicate someone had previously been infected with the virus.

Omicron drove cases to record highs over the winter, which Chicago and Illinois hitting peaks in late December and early January. Nationwide, the CDC’s data shows the number of people showing signs they’d been previously infected with COVID-19 doubled between December and February, according to the Times.

Cases fell sharply after the Omicron surge. But they’ve begun to tick up, locally and nationally, in recent weeks as the more contagious BA.2 variant and mutations of it have spread.

Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said Tuesday the recent increase is “more gradual” than the spike seeing during the initial Omicron surge.

“I wouldn’t even call it a surge; I’d call it a little more of a ripple as opposed to a wave,” Arwady said.

Hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago remain at all-time lows, Arwady said.

Vaccinations:

• In Illinois, about 8.2 million people — or 64.65 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.

• Across the state, 16,728 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 21,812,955 vaccine doses of the 26,586,545 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.8 million Chicagoans — or 68.9 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 77.4 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot.

Everyone 5 and older is eligible to get vaccinated in Chicago.

COVID-19 vaccinations are free and do not require insurance. Anyone can call the city’s coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 to get more information on how and where to get vaccinated in their community.

The numbers:

• Since Monday, three Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19.

• At least 33,584 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 4,288 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 2,509 cases since Monday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 3,124,700.

• The state is reporting an average of 173 confirmed cases per day per 100,000 people. That average was at 172 on Monday.

• As of Monday night, 94 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 33 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, no deaths were reported since Monday. There have been at least 7,365 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of less than one death per day, unchanged from last week.

• Chicago has had 451 confirmed cases reported since Monday. It’s had a total of 579,135 confirmed cases. An average of 585 confirmed cases are being reported per day, up 26 percent from a week ago.

• Testing in Chicago is up 85 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 3.8 percent, down from 5.3 percent a week ago.

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