Our Chicago: Boosters, variants and COVID-19 in kids

ByJudy Hsu and Kay Cesinger via WLS logo
Sunday, September 12, 2021
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Dr. Susan Bleasdale, the Medical Director for Infection Prevention at UI Health, discusses COVID-19 trends in the Chicago area.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- On Thursday, President Biden announced a new, six-step plan to address the rising COVID numbers.

He also expressed frustration with the roughly 80 million Americans who have not been vaccinated, saying, "We've been patient. But our patience is wearing thin and your refusal as cost all of us."

His plan includes vaccine requirements for federal employees and contractors and companies with more than 100 workers.

Biden said the unvaccinated minority is causing a lot of "damage." So how are we doing here in the Chicago area?

Chicago COVID vaccine map shows how many residents vaccinated by zip code

"I think we've started to see a little bit of a plateau in the number of cases especially being hospitalized, " said Dr. Susan Bleasdale, the Medical Director for Infection Prevention at UI Health. "But we're also seeing some increases among the younger population related not necessarily to school but related to some of the social activities that happen when school starts and socialization starts as well. Although a plateau now, we may see a second bump again with the positives that we're seeing in some of the younger population right now. But overall we're seeing maybe a little trend that people are understanding the precautions that are necessary, the need to continue to mask even if you're vaccinated and really continuing to see more and more people get vaccinated. "

Our Chicago: Boosters, variants and COVID-19 in kids, Part 2

And for those who are vaccinated, what should they expect when it comes to getting a booster shot?

"We are going to hear formally about the recommendation about the booster from the advisory council on immunization practice, the ACIP, which has been giving us all of our recommendations around the vaccine probably we're hearing September 17th to 20th. so everyone is getting ready to be able to give this booster vaccine," Bleasdale said.

At the same time, one in four new cases of COVID-19 is being diagnosed in children.

"The rise in cases is certainly a concern for pediatricians, and parents and hospitals, and the community in general," said Dr. Nina Alfieri with Lurie Children's Hospital. "And frankly it's a warning sign that we're still in the pandemic, even though it's been a very long 18 months. We do have a lot more information about child infections at this point in the pandemic. We do know that the rise in cases has been driven by the spread of the Delta variant which seems to be more transmissible. We know that children can get and transmit COVID, particularly when there aren't protective measures in place like masking, distancing and staying home when they're sick. But we also know that there is a lot that we can do. Vaccination in both adults and eligible children will prevent infection and serious illness in kids and adults. So while it's concerning, we do have a lot more information that we did in the beginning of the pandemic."