Expert: We are dealing with an even more contagious COVID-19 subvariant, but the risk of another disease, monkey pox, is low for the entire population
Expert: We are dealing with an even more contagious COVID-19 subvariant, but the risk of another disease, monkey pox, is low for the entire population

Expert: We are dealing with an even more contagious COVID-19 subvariant, but the risk of another disease, monkey pox, is low for the entire population

CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s almost three months ago that city leaders dropped COVID-19 restrictions – but as we head towards summer, experts warn we could see more COVID cases.

As CBS 2’s Sabrina Franza reported, Chicago is expected to become an area with high COVID-19 risk already this week.

In the meantime, we are also now hearing new reports of another disease – abekopper – with cases popping up around the world and right here in the US

Franza spoke with Kiran Joshi, senior physician at the Cook County Department of Public Health.

Monkey pox is rarely identified outside of Africa, but as of Friday, there were 80 confirmed cases worldwide, including at least two in the United States, and a further 50 suspects. The first case was confirmed in Massachusetts last week, and the authorities in New York were examines another suspected infection. No infections have been reported in Illinois.

Although the disease belongs to the same virus family as smallpox, its symptoms are milder. People usually recover within two to four weeks without having to be hospitalized, but the disease is sometimes fatal.

Joshi said monkey pox involves “flu-like symptoms, fever, body aches, maybe some upper respiratory tract, and then there are rashes.”

Should people be worried about that? President Joe Biden said the cases in Europe and the United States are “something to worry about,” but Joshi stressed: “I think the risk to the overall population is very low.”

He predicts the eruption will be contained.

“You do not see these great outbreaks of hundreds or thousands of cases,” Joshi said.

But harder to contain, of course, is the ever-changing coronavirus pandemic.

“We are dealing with a new sub-variant that is even more contagious,” Joshi said.

BA.2.12.1 is a subvariant of Omicron.

Chicago is expected to hit a high transmission level as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as early as this week.

“While admissions are not rising to the level we had experienced in the past, they are still rising,” Joshi said.

He advised to be vaccinated and boosted if you are eligible.

“One of our primary goals here is to protect the health care system,” Joshi said.

We asked about the possibility that Chicago could reinstate its mask mandate. We are told that it is a possibility – if the hospitals become too overburdened.

Right now, there is no pressure on Chicago hospitals.

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