As the nation struggles with another outbreak of delta infections and the highly infectious omicron variant, a new analysis released today by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) predicts the number of COVID-19 cases could rise dramatically in the coming weeks.
While the exact number of cases reported is unknown, PHAC believes that an increase from the present level of over 3,300 cases per day is expected due to a “gradual but constant increase” in cases in Canada. The national “rT” metric, which measures the average number of persons infected by one sick person, has already surpassed one. That suggests the epidemic has resumed its upward trajectory.
PHAC predicted cases might treble to 12,000 per day in January if “omicron completely develops” and present rates of transmission are sustained, citing early findings from South Africa, where Omicron was first discovered, and case counts had risen.
This revival could be fuelled by Omicron’s “greater transmissibility” and the possibility of “lower protection from prior infection/vaccination,” according to PHAC. The efficacy of the current COVID-19 vaccinations against Omicron is still being evaluated.
As of December 9, 87 declared omicron infections had been reported in seven Canadian areas. To date, all cases of Omicron that have been recorded in Canada have been asymptomatic or mild. Even if Omicron isn’t extensively distributed, PHAC modeling shows that Canada may face another wave of delta cases in the coming year.
Due to the low vaccination rates in this population, kids aged 5 to 11 seem to be the most likely to catch COVID-19 right now. The contamination rate among children aged 5 to 11 is more than 20 cases per 100,000 persons, which is four times greater than any other age category.
A number of different COVID outbreaks have been recorded in schools and child care centres around the country in recent weeks, raising the infection rate among children under the age of 12.
Source: CBC News