COVID-19: Year Three

Here we are in another calendar year and perhaps the beginning of an end as the pandemic turns endemic. I am starting another thread like the last two years to track important updates and share useful info with our community.


As most of us know the city is requiring proof of vaccines starting tomorrow Mon for access to indoor dining, gyms, or entertainment venues, see Chicago Vaccine Requirement for more.

I wanted to share the IDPH portal where the vaccination status can be verified and shown as part of the proof:

It took me just a couple of minutes to sign up and verify my identity. Once done, I found all three of my vaccine shots already recorded in the portal (as our shots are required to be reported to the state). The app shows a QR code for something called a SMART® Health Card that can be scanned by vendors to obtain our vaccine-related health information.

Looking forward to the end. And hopefully, I will not need to start another such thread next year. :slight_smile:


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Obligatory:

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PS: the university library provides free access to NYTimes (among others).

Let me know if you still have trouble accessing the article and I can privately DM you a PDF copy.

I just learned that UC Medicine’s MyChart also shows the COVID-vaccine info at this URL: https://mychart.uchospitals.edu/MyChart/CovidStatus

So the registration on the IDPH portal may not be necessary after all for most of us.

The government website where you can order free tests is now taking orders:

Source: Biden administration launches website for free at-home Covid tests a day early | Coronavirus | The Guardian

Essential answers to the following questions:

  • Should you mask outside?
  • How about indoor spaces, like supermarkets or gyms?
  • What about on public transit or airplanes?
  • What about when my child goes to school?
  • What if you have the sniffles?
  • And what type of mask should you wear?

Masking can be optional:

Here’s the way to find out the transmission level in a county:

Currently, Cook County is on Low (green).

Also, see the newly posted guideline by the university: Weekly COVID-19 Newsletter | University of Chicago

Order at

As BA.2 variant is rising, here is a good guide on how to prepare:

Meanwhile, there is now a new website called COVID.gov :

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BA.2.12.1 is no joke – please consider eating outside.

If you feel any of the following please also consider staying home:

  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • brain fog
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Long Covid Woes

Large scale CDC study says that 1 in 5 COVID survivors may develop long COVID

NatureMedicine study says that the vaccine (safe and effective go get one if you haven’t already) doesn’t provide much protection against long COVID. Long COVID after breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infection | Nature Medicine

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The New York Times recently published a great article about Long COVID, discussing risk, effects, and what we know. If you don’t have time to read it please just take away, this affects all ages, including young adults, so please be careful - COVID is not over.

(If you see a paywall please note, you can get a free subscription through the library)

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TL;DR: rapid tests are now slower at detecting COVID. If you feel sick but you’re testing negative stay home or, at the very least, please let people know you’re feeling unwell

https://12ft.io/proxy?q=http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2022/06/is-my-negative-covid-test-accurate/661242

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Agreed, PCR tests are the only accurate option if you want certainty.

In other news, while I am away in Eugene, Oregon:

The lesson I learned: consider the community level of where you are and consider masking up with a good quality N95/KN95/KN94.

Bad news BA5 is even more infectious. I know they keep saying that with every new iteration but this one might want you to pause and reconsider your COVID safety levels:

The issue with COVID, of course, besides getting you and others sick is its unpredictable severity. You could be fine, you could get the sniffles, or you could get long covid and be stuck with a chronic illness

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FAQ on where and when to get the new omicron booster: New COVID omicron booster FAQ: when, how can you get it around Chicago, everything you need to know about bivalent vaccine - Chicago Sun-Times

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Winter is coming, and we should (be aware and) prepare for it:

Thanks for the article @kartik; now that we’re getting into the winter months I wonder if it would be appropriate to nudge people to voluntarily wear masks again. The NYT piece noted that getting boosted is helpful but won’t keep you from getting infected.

Again, the issue with COVID, besides getting you and others sick, is its unpredictable severity. You could be fine, you could get the sniffles, or you could get long covid and be stuck with a chronic illness