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Omicron COVID Strain
The new COVID variant was initially detected in South Africa and Botswana and sparked major concerns due to its high number of mutations (32). The WHO dubbed the strain Omicron and warned it may prove to be more transmissible and dangerous than other coronavirus variants.

US City of Chicago to Require Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination in Public Places - Mayor

© AP Photo / Teresa CrawfordChicago skyline
Chicago skyline - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.12.2021
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US city of Chicago will require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for entry into public places such as restaurants, gyms, bars and other venues that serve food and drinks, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
"We didn’t want it to get to this point, but given the situation we find ourselves in, we have no choice," Lightfoot said in a message via Twitter on Tuesday. "Beginning Jan. 3, you must show proof you are fully vax'd to enter bars, restaurants, fitness centers, and entertainment/recreational venues where food/drink are served."
The Chicago Department of Public Health said the decision was driven in part by the spread of the coronavirus Omicron variant and in line with requirements already in place in other big US cities, including New York City and Los Angeles. Anyone aged 5 and above will have to be fully vaccinated to enter the public places in Chicago, she said.
The Omicron is now the dominant coronavirus variant in the United States, accounting for more than 73% of new cases as of last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
"This order will remain in effect until the city deems that the threat of COVID-19 to public health has diminished significantly," Lightfoot said. To put it simply, if you have been living vaccine-free, your time is up. If you wish to live life as w/the ease to do the things you love, you must be vax'd."
Lighfood said the city authorities wanted as many people as possible to be vaccinated against the coronavirus and it was no accident if the order appeared an inconvenience to the unvaccinated.
US President Joe Biden speaks from the White House about his administration's preparations for the Omicron variant of COVID-19 on December 21, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.12.2021
Omicron COVID Strain
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"In fact, it is inconvenient by design," she said.
Earlier on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden addressed the nation urging Americans to do their part by getting vaccinated, after warning during the weekend that those without immunity from the virus face a winter of severe illness and death.
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