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(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago and Cook County last faced a low risk of COVID-19 on May 5. The region has bounced between a medium risk and a high risk all summer.

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In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a medical worker takes a swab sample from a resident for nucleic acid test at a community testing site for COVID-19 in Yunyan District of Guiyang, Sept. 5, 2022. (Yang Wenbin / Xinhua via AP)

At a press briefing in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world has never been in a better position to stop COVID-19. The U.N. health agency said deaths fell by 22% in the past week, at just over 11,000 reported worldwide. There were 3.1 million new cases, a drop of 28%.

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(WTTW News)

In its latest weekly assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.N. health agency said there were 5.3 million new cases and more than 14,000 deaths reported last week. WHO said the number of new infections declined in every world region except the Western Pacific.

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(WTTW News)

Monday marks the first day of the 2022-23 school year, as some 300,000-plus students head back to class on one of the earliest start dates in recent memory.

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(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago Department of Public Health officials continue to recommend that residents wear masks indoors and on public transportation to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19 and ensure they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.

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Residents wearing face masks wait in line to get their routine COVID-19 throat swabs at a coronavirus testing site in Beijing, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022. Chinese authorities have closed Tibet’s famed Potala Palace after a minor outbreak of COVID-19 was reported in the Himalayan region. (AP Photo / Andy Wong)

The U.N. health agency said there were more than 14,000 COVID-19 deaths in the last week and nearly 7 million new infections. The number of new deaths rose by 19% in the Middle East, while dropping by more than 70% in Africa, 15% in Europe and 10% in the Americas.

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President Joe Biden speaks to reporters after meetings with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Waldorf Astoria Jeddah Qasr Al Sharq hotel, Friday, July 15, 2022, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci, File)

“Back to the Oval,” President Joe Biden tweeted after the White House released the latest daily update from his doctor confirming that he was clear to end the isolation period that is required after someone tests positive for the coronavirus. Biden, 79, tested positive last week.

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President Joe Biden speaks to members of the media after exiting Air Force One, Wednesday, July 20, 2022, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that Biden was experiencing “mild symptoms” and has begun taking Paxlovid, an antiviral drug designed to reduce the severity of the disease.

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(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago Department of Public Health officials recommend that residents wear masks indoors and on public transportation to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19 and ensure they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.

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(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The threat of COVID-19 eased across Chicago and Cook County Thursday, as federal officials lowered the warning level to “medium” after two weeks at “high,” according to Centers for Disease Control data. However, Chicago Department of Public Health officials continue to recommend that residents wear masks indoors and on public transportation. 

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(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

One week ago, federal officials lowered the risk warning level to high for Cook County. But even as confirmed cases of COVID-19 continued to drop, hospitalizations rose just enough across Cook County to trigger an increase in the warning level by federal officials.

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(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

COVID-19 posed a high risk in Chicago and Cook County for 21 days, but neither state, county nor city officials imposed new restrictions designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Chicagoans should consider the CDC’s medium level of risk warning as “a yellow light of caution,” Dr. Allison Arwady has said.

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A worker in protectively overalls and carrying disinfecting equipment walks outside the Wuhan Central Hospital, China on Feb. 6, 2021. (AP Photo / Ng Han Guan, File)

That stance marks a sharp reversal of the U.N. health agency’s initial assessment of the pandemic’s origins. WHO concluded last year that it was “extremely unlikely” COVID-19 might have spilled into humans from a lab.

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(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago officials will not immediately reimpose an indoor mask mandate because the city’s hospitals are not being strained by the number of people seriously sick with COVID-19.

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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.