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    First Chicago, Now Cook County: “Vax Passports” Spreading In Response To Omicron Variant

    Last Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that the city would require proof of vaccination to enter restaurants or bars in the city.

    On Thursday, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle followed suit.

    “Earlier this year, we had hoped that we were on a path to finally put the pandemic behind us,” Preckwinkle said Thursday. “But unfortunately, with the dual threat presented by the delta and omicron variants, and with cases, hospitalizations and deaths rising to new heights across Cook County, we must once again reassess and realign our strategies with what the science is telling us.”

    It is worth noting that while data is still being accumulated and studied, the experience of several countries who have been hit hard by the new variant indicates that the Omicron variant is at once much more transmissible than its predecessor Delta variant and the original COVID-19 virus and far less virulent than either, resulting in minimal hospitalizations and no recorded deaths to date.

    Such evidence, if confirmed, will likely have a significant impact on mitigation measures undertaken by health authorities around the US.

    As for now, residents of Cook County will be required to show official vaccination cards or records, “or a digital or physical photo of such a card or record reflecting the person’s name, vaccine brand and date administered,” city officials said.

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