- New federal modelling predicts a sharp increase in new cases in January as Canada prepares for the holiday season amid concerns about the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus.
As Canada prepares for the holiday season amid concerns about the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus, new federal modeling predicts a sharp increase in new cases in January. Still, health officials are optimistic that high vaccination rates will greatly reduce severe outcomes.
In Canada, the number of new infections has been steadily increasing. The daily average for the week of December 3 to 9 was 3,450, up 22% from the previous week.
Modeling showed that cases could double with transmission at these levels, and another Delta-driven wave could result in a four-fold increase. In contrast, an Omicron wave could exacerbate the problem.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said in a statement that “if the Omicron variant were to accelerate and replace the Delta variant as the predominant variant in Canada,” a “even more rapidly accelerating resurgence in cases” was “possible.” There have been 87 confirmed cases of infection linked to the Omicron variant so far.
However, the situation will be very different from the previous winter storm. “Despite the challenges ahead with the Delta-driven wave continuing in Canada and the emergence of the Omicron variant,” she said, “we have more and better protections going into this holiday and winter season than previously.”
“We continue to have an advantage over this virus,” she said, adding that “while some reduction in protection is possible with the Omicron variant, Covid-19 vaccines are still expected to provide a level of protection, particularly against severe outcomes.”
81 percent of the population has received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while 76 percent has been fully jabbed. Since pediatric vaccinations, 17 percent of children aged 5 to 11 have received one dose of an mRNA vaccine. In addition, booster doses have begun, and in January, a larger population will be covered.”
Despite the challenges ahead, the modeling presented on Friday noted that “we have more and better protections going into this holiday and winter season than previously.”
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