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(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Since May 5, federal health officials have warned all residents of Cook County that they face a “medium” risk of contracting COVID-19. Since then, Chicago health officials have “strongly” urged Chicagoans to wear a mask when they are indoors, particularly in a crowded setting where they are unaware of the vaccination status of those around them.

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Workers at a drive-up COVID-19 testing clinic stand in a tent as they prepare PCR coronavirus tests, Jan. 4, 2022, in Puyallup, Wash., south of Seattle. (AP Photo / Ted S. Warren, File)

Experts say testing has dropped by 70 to 90% worldwide from the first to the second quarter of this year — the opposite of what they say should be happening with new omicron variants on the rise in places such as the United States and South Africa.

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Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, appears on “Chicago Tonight” on May 9, 2022. (WTTW News)

Chicago, Cook County and several surrounding counties have all recently been designated as being at “medium risk” of their residents contracting COVID-19. 

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(WTTW News)

Residents of seven northeast Illinois counties — McHenry, Lake, Cook, Kendall, DuPage, Will and Grundy — face a medium level of COVID-19 risk, according to the CDC. Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said Chicagoans should consider the CDC’s medium level of risk warning as “a yellow light of caution.”

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(WTTW News)

Patients are presenting with stuffy nose, nasal congestion, cough, post-nasal drip and sore throats. In the age of COVID, that leaves people worried. 

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the president, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Greg Nash / Pool via AP)

Dr. Anthony Fauci has given an upbeat assessment of the current state of the coronavirus in the United States, saying the country is “out of the pandemic phase” when it comes to new infections, hospitalizations and deaths, but that it appears to be making a transition to COVID-19 becoming an endemic disease — occurring regularly in certain areas.

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(WTTW News)

Data provided by Chicago health officials to WTTW News show fewer than 10 outbreaks at Chicago day care facilities between Jan. 2 and March 20, but officials acknowledged there were likely more outbreaks.

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A sign for the Food and Drug Administration is seen in Silver Spring, Md., on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The InspectIR COVID-19 Breathalyzer is about the size of a piece of carry-on luggage, the FDA said, and can be used in doctor’s offices, hospitals and mobile testing sites. 

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(AP Illustration / Peter Hamlin)

Since it was first identified in November, BA.2 has been spreading around the globe, driving new surges in parts of Asia and Europe. It’s now the dominant coronavirus version in the U.S. and more than five dozen other countries.

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President Joe Biden signs the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, April 6, 2022. Watching from left are Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Annette Taylor, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., and Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich. (A

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi received a positive test result for COVID-19 and is currently asymptomatic, her spokesman Drew Hammill said Thursday in a tweet. He said she had tested negative earlier in the week.

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(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Top Chicago public health officials say that the BA.2 omicron subvariant will be making up most of Chicago cases by the end of the month.

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(Jakayla Toney / Unsplash)

Illinois will close its community, free COVID-19 testing sites within the next week. The Illinois Department of Public Health cites a “sharp increase in demand” that dropped “precipitously in recent weeks” as its reason for closing the testing locations, as well as an “anticipated end of federal funding.”

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Two people wearing masks walk in Regents Park in London, Monday, March 23, 2020. (AP Photo / Frank Augstein, File)

There were more than 12 million new weekly cases and just under 33,000 deaths, a 23% decline in mortality, according to the U.N. health agency’s report on the pandemic issued late Tuesday.

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A woman wearing a face mask rides on a tram in Hong Kong, Wednesday, March 16, 2022. (AP Photo / Kin Cheung)

In the U.N. health agency’s weekly report on the pandemic issued late Tuesday, WHO said there were more than 11 million new COVID-19 infections last week — about an 8% rise — and 43,000 new deaths. The number of COVID-19 deaths globally has been dropping for the past three weeks.

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(HeartlandMom / Pixabay)

According to a November study, researchers estimate that anywhere from 700,000 to 1.6 million people in the U.S., are currently experiencing chronic smell loss or distortion because of COVID-19. For several Chicago-area residents, the loss persists. 

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The red-yellow regions are the parts of the brain that shrink the most in the 401 SARS- CoV-2 infected participants, compared with the 384 non-infected participants. (Credit: G. Douaud, in collaboration with Anderson Winkler and Saad Jbabdi, University of Oxford and NIH via CNN)

The study, published Monday in the journal “Nature,” is believed to be the largest of its kind. It found that the brains of those who had COVID-19 had a greater loss of grey matter and abnormalities in the brain tissue compared with those who didn’t have COVID-19.