Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Federal modeling shows cases expected to rise in Canada even with restrictions

OTTAWA—New federal modeling shows an estimated 170,000 new COVID-19 cases a day, despite the extent of public health restrictions nationwide.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr Theresa Tam said during a briefing on Friday that the peak could come this month and then decrease in February, but the total timing of the peak could vary across the country.

Tam said those numbers are not based on a count of known cases, but what is believed to be the true spread of the Omicron virus in Canada, noting that testing capacity is now restricted nationwide.

Without current measures, Tam said, that peak could be around 300,000 per day.

“These scenarios highlight that combined public health measures and booster doses can help reduce the size of the omicron wave, in any given scenario, the true number of daily cases, driven by the extremely high transmission efficiency of the omicron variant. , still may be much more than anything else we have experienced during this pandemic till date,” she said.

The Omicron version has now displaced Delta as the dominant strain in Canada, and while the risk of hospitalization is low, serious illness is possible, Tam stressed.

Hospitalization rates are rising in all age groups, modeling shows, and in the past month, serious consequences have been highest among adults 60 years of age or older, and especially those aged 80 years or older.

Tam said two features of the Omicron version are having an impact.

“The rapid rate of spread of omicrons is likely due to a combination of the virus’s inherent characteristics and increased ability to evade previous infection and immunity prior to vaccination,” she said.

“Similarly, the low severity profile of Omicron – as seen in international and Canadian data – is likely due to the characteristics of the virus protecting against severe disease as a result of vaccination and/or prior infection.”

What this means, she said, is getting vaccinated — especially a booster — and following public health guidelines is important.

“While Canada may see a sharp peak and decline in cases in the coming weeks, given that disease activity is far higher than previous peaks, even the downside of this curve will be considerable,” he said. said.

“With several weeks of very intense activity expected to arrive, we need to do our best to limit the size of the omicron surge to maintain the vital functions of the health system and society.”

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