Daywatch: COVID ‘FLiRT’ variants are spreading

Good morning, Chicago.

A new family of COVID variants nicknamed “FLiRT” is spreading across the country, as vaccination rates in Chicago — as well as nationwide — remain concerningly low for some public health experts.

While symptoms and severity seem to be about the same as previous COVID strains, the new FLiRT variants appear to be more transmissible, said infectious disease expert Dr. Robert Murphy.

“A new, more contagious variant is out there,” said Murphy, executive director of Northwestern University’s Institute for Global Health and a professor of infectious diseases at the Feinberg School of Medicine. “COVID-19 is still with us, and compared to flu and RSV, COVID-19 can cause significant problems off-season.”

Read the full story from the Tribune’s Angie Leventis Lourgos.

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