Saturday, October 1, 2022

COVID-19 data: BC’s daily cases ‘will soon exceed record levels’, model group reports

Vancouver –

COVID-19 case counts will soon exceed record levels in BC if no action is taken by health authorities, warns a group of local scientists and researchers.

The BC COVID-19 Modeling Group released new data on Wednesday, calling for more public health measures to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. The report shows that unvaccinated people can increase COVID-19 case numbers to unprecedented levels, spread the virus to children who cannot be immunized, and overwhelm the healthcare system within a matter of months.

The group says its modeling is not a prediction, but an early warning of how the Delta variant could change the pandemic in our province.

“The current vaccine immunity we have in our population is clearly inadequate,” says Dean Karlen, a co-author and professor of physics at the University of Victoria.

The modeling group consists of data analysts and researchers from BC universities and its research is conducted separately from the provincial government’s modeling. The last time BC’s Ministry of Health released its own modeling data was on 28 June.

“To avoid a healthcare crisis, we must take action,” Karlen added. “We need to reduce both transmission, but also expand vaccine coverage.”

In recent weeks, BC has seen a steady increase in case counts. The model group says infections have recently doubled about every nine days, or increased by about eight percent every day. Their research shows growth in all health authorities.

According to the group’s report, if there is no change in restrictions and if the province does not reach a 90 percent vaccination rate in the coming months, the number of cases could skyrocket as BC has seen before. In fact, one projection suggests that if no action is taken at all and the increase in infections continues, Delta cases could reach 11,000 a day in October.

Those cases will only decrease when more of the population has herd immunity to the disease, according to the modelers.

“We see that we have this kind of conclusion of the epidemic, but it is a dramatic conclusion,” said Dr. Eric Cytrynbaum said in a presentation of the data.

COVID-19 data: BC's daily cases 'will soon exceed record levels', model group reportsCOVID-19 modeling data released by the BC COVID-19 Modeling Group on August 18, 2021.

The group warns the hospital and intensive care will be overwhelmed, including with inflatable beds. The researchers also say that although hospitalizations have so far remained relatively low in the fourth wave, there is a delay in those figures compared to the number of cases.

“When someone gets sick, it can take a while before they arrive at the hospital. So there is a delay, and then another delay before they end up in the ICU,” Cytrynbaum said.

However, the model group expects BC’s health officials to increase public health measures before this happens.


The report points out that children are likely to be affected more significantly during this wave, especially since they have not been vaccinated. The modeling report shows that children under 10 make up nine percent of BC’s population, but 36 percent of the unvaccinated population.

“What we are looking at is a September, October, November wave that will include those unvaccinated children and that will include quite large case counts in that age group,” Cytrynbaum said.

The model group says with measures mostly removed in schools and with the higher portability of the Delta variant, exposure in schools is likely to be higher this coming academic year.

To avoid these projections, the group calls for both actions to reduce transmission and an aggressive expansion of BC’s vaccination program.

The head of the Vancouver Center for Infectious Diseases says – along with more testing than ever before – this includes protecting children who cannot be vaccinated.

“The first step is to surround them with vaccinated people,” said Dr. Brian Conway said. “You can not catch COVID from someone who does not have it,” said dr.

Conway suggests that all school staff who can be vaccinated should be.

BC’s health minister was not available for an interview.

The Green Party wants a return to an indoor mask mandate and that the province demand that all health, education and government officials be fully vaccinated.

For Sonia Fursteanau, leader of the Green Party, it comes down to responsibility towards the unvaccinated.

“You have a responsibility to protect other people around you, especially if you work with vulnerable or unvaccinated people,” she told CTV News Vancouver.

Dr. Conway added he sees five reasons why people will not be vaccinated: They did not get it, they do not think it is safe, they do not think it is effective, they do not think they need it or they want it not have. He suggests a purposeful approach is needed.

“Those who did not get there, you have to go door-to-door and vaccinate them,” he said. “We have to do it.”

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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