Omicron subvariant begins to pick up speed in Canada

Representative image of Omicron subvariant. Credit: Unsplash/ Jinzhou Lin

Toronto/CMEDIA: Canada’s health experts are warning of the likelihood of a new COVID-19 mini-wave in eastern Ontario as many health mandates end across the province adding that its stress to the healthcare system would be much less than Omicron.

The more transmissible BA.2 subvariant is on track to replace the original Omicron strain in those areas according to the data from Europe and western Canada and is likely to do so in eastern Ontario as well.

A release from the modeling from Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table on Thursday also suggests more people will end up in the hospital and require intensive care in the coming weeks, although the numbers will not be as high as during the peak of the original Omicron wave.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer reportedly said the international data suggests BA.2 seeks out and targets people with poor immunity, including unvaccinated people without prior exposure to the Omicron variant.

Canada, with 85 percent of eligible people fully vaccinated, may be in a better position to prevent hospitalizations, Tam said.

BA.2 is spreading relatively slowly in Canada, and accounted for about 22 percent of cases as of Feb. 20. It doesn’t appear to cause more severe illness than other variants, Tam said.

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