CHICAGO (CBS) — In Illinois while COVID-19 cases continue to rise quickly, the Delta variant is not the variant of most concern.
If asked to name a variant, you would probably come up with Delta first. It is easily the most talked about. While it is of concern in Chicago, other variants that are just as concerning are taking hold more quickly.
“We are sounding the alarm today because we are starting to see this uptick,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at City Hall Tuesday.
But the sound of music will still race through Grant Park next week, and so will an expected 100,000 Lollapalooza attendees. Lightfoot said she does not have second thoughts about green-lighting it despite an uptick in COVID cases.
As of Monday, Illinois had a total of 10,592 COVID-19 variant cases. That is twice as many as it had on May 11.
“I’m a little converned about what the future could hold,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
CBS 2 dug deeper into these numbers to see what the future might hold and discovered that among the six variants tracked by the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Delta variant, which gets the most attention, accounts for just 403 of those cases. The lesser talked about Gamma variant has four times more cases in Illinois — more than 2600 so far.
READ MORE: Man Stabbed On CTA Bus In Bucktown
“The Delta variant that we are hearing so much about doesn’t seem to be making, as of yet, as much inroads into Chicago as we would’ve otherwise expected,” said Dr. Stefan Green, director of the Genomics and Microbiome Facility at Rush University Medical Center.
Green runs the lab at Rush that the City of Chicago commissioned last winter to track variants.
“I don’t have a definitive answer of why Delta hasn’t expanded more rapidly in Cook County,” he said.
But he did say whether someone contracts the Gamma or Delta variant, the risk of hospitalizatio and death are similar, and getting vaccinated is a strong shield of protection against both.
“I think what everybody in my community is worreid about is that if we don’t get vaccinated we will eventually get a variant that our vaccines are not effective against,” he said.
The city also passed along a warning from the FBI Tuesday to people making fake vaccination cards to get into Lollapalooza or other events, saying that is both endangering the person with the fake card and breaking the law.