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(WTTW News)

Since Jan. 15, nearly 1,300 cases involving the variant, known as B.1.1.7, have been found in samples of COVID-19 positive tests from Illinois, officials said. 

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Cole Smith receives a Moderna variant vaccine shot from clinical research nurse Tigisty Girmay at Emory University's Hope Clinic, on Wednesday afternoon, March 31, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. (AP Photo / Ben Gray)

The vaccines currently being rolled out across the U.S. offer strong protection against variants. But new studies of experimental updates to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines mark a critical first step toward an alternative if the virus eventually outsmarts today’s shots.

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(WTTW News)

The spread of the U.K. variant is helping to fuel a surge in COVID-19 cases in Chicago and across Illinois, according to Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

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(WTTW News)

In all, 276 cases involving the United Kingdom variant have been found in samples of COVID-19 positive tests from Illinois since Jan. 15, officials said. 

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(WTTW News)

Twenty-nine cases of a COVID-19 variant first discovered in Southern California and believed to be more transmissible have been discovered in Illinois, state health officials announced Thursday.

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(WTTW News)

Twenty-five more cases of a COVID-19 variant first discovered in the United Kingdom that is believed to be more transmissible have been found in Illinois in the past seven days, according to data released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

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(WTTW News)

A variant of the coronavirus first discovered in Brazil and believed to be more transmissible is present in Chicago, officials announced Friday. The person who tested positive for the variant had not traveled outside Illinois, according to officials.

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(WTTW News)

Twenty-seven more cases of a COVID-19 variant first discovered in the United Kingdom that is believed to be more transmissible have been discovered in Illinois in the past five days, according to data released Tuesday by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

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(WTTW News)

No new cases of two COVID-19 variants believed to be more transmissible have been discovered in Illinois in the past seven days, according to data released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

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(WTTW News)

Twenty-two more cases of a COVID-19 variant first discovered in the United Kingdom that is believed to be more transmissible have been discovered in Illinois in the past seven days, according to data released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

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(WTTW News)

A variant of the coronavirus first discovered in South Africa and believed to be more transmissible is present in Illinois, state health officials announced Thursday.