The federal government has released the latest COVID-19 modelling and it shows a surge in COVID-19 cases that could be made even worse by the Omicron variant.
The new modelling shows that even without Omicron taking hold in the country, COVID-19 is on the rise, and the situation could become severe if the upward trend continues.
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Currently, Ontario and Quebec are driving the rise in COVID-19 in the country, but a rise in cases is being seen nationally, according to the modelling.
Most new cases continue to be among children under the age of 12, the modelling shows. Most children aged five to 11 have not yet been vaccinated as the pediatric vaccine was just approved earlier this month. COVID-19 cases in schools have been rising nationally as officials work to get children vaccinated against the virus.
“It is tough, and this virus keeps dealing us the next card,” Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer of Canada, told reporters on Friday.
The card that’s been dealt could drive case numbers to all-time highs if Omicron takes hold and public health measures aren’t put in place to reduce contacts. According to the modelling, Omicron could spread very quickly in the country. Data out of South Africa suggests that Omicron cases have spread much faster than variants in previous waves of the virus.
While Delta remains the dominant variant in the country, there is a chance that Omicron could overtake it if measures aren’t put in place. COVID-19 cases in the country could rise above 7,000 if current transmission rates stay the same and Omicron doesn’t take hold. Case numbers could rise above 26,000 per day by mid-January if the Omicron variant becomes dominant, Dr. Tam said.
Officials said that vaccinations are still the number one defence and are encouraging everyone to get their shots and boosters when they are eligible. The modelling shows that vaccinations have reduced hospitalizations. Unvaccinated Canadians under the age of 59 are 32 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated.
The modelling looks to other countries to show what could happen in Canada. Many countries where Omicron has been found have seen big surges in cases rates, which could indicate a grim future for Canada if measures aren’t introduced to reduce the spread.