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The COVID-19 omicron variant is sweeping like wildfire across the country, with hospitalizations and deaths exploding. Packed with patients, hospitals are struggling with staffing as a result of the latest surge. 

The city will require customers 5 and older provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination at all Chicago restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues that serve food and drinks starting in the new year. Patron anger and pushback: a real fear for workers, with restaurateurs initially fighting against requirement.

President Biden announced 500 million free tests will be shipped out next month, and the federal government is adding 10,000 testing sites around the country as snaking testing lines return. 

How will this latest surge affect the economic recovery as more restaurants, theaters and professional sports games have gone dark due to rising cases? Meanwhile, holiday travel seems unaffected, with millions flowing through crowded airports. Some colleges and universities will start next year remotely, as Chicago Public Schools mull a similar move.  

Disgusted by more than 800 homicides in Chicago this year, Mayor Lori Lightfoot calls for federal help. She is requesting the Department of Justice send Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents, prosecutors and more.  The mayor is also asking Cook County Chief Judge Tim Evans for a moratorium on releasing violent criminals on home monitoring. 

Finally, with the release of special prosecutor Dan Webb’s report, will there be any political fallout for Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx on her handling of the Jussie Smollett case? 

Our politics tram of Amanda Vinicky and Paris Schutz are joined by Block Club Chicago reporter Kelly Bauer and WBEZ city politics reporter Mariah Woelfel.


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