Omicron: a “tsunami” of infections in Canada

Omicron: a “tsunami” of infections in Canada


The arrival of the Omicron variant in Canada has produced a veritable tsunami of COVID-19 infections, with more than 17 million Canadians catching the virus in just five months, according to a recent analysis of data.

About 7% of Canadians had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 before Omicron arrived, a proportion that increased by 45% between December 2021 and May 2022, based on review of studies funded by the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (TICG).

So this is an average of more than 100,000 infections per day during this five-month period, more than 10 times the daily number of cases that have been seen during the peaks of previous waves of the virus.

“New Omicron sublines have continued to spread since then and the percentage of Canadians who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection is now likely well over 50%,” Dr. Tim Evans said in a statement on Wednesday. administrative director of the GTIC.

Compared to the provinces of Western Canada and Ontario, Quebec had a lower level of infections, but La Belle Province has still seen a jump in infected people since last January.

Young adults have also been the most infected with this variant of the virus, since 65% of Canadians under the age of 25 had antibodies during the last week of May, compared to 57% for 25-39 year olds, 51% for 40-59 year olds and 31% for those over 60.

“By the sheer number of infections, the Omicron variant has had devastating effects on services and disrupted lives, as well as hospitalizations and deaths. Clearly it has not spared healthy young Canadians,” said GTIC Co-Chair Dr. Catherine Hankins.

As of July 5, 2022, 3,793 deaths have occurred in the Quebec since the beginning of the year due to the virus, already exceeding the total loss of life (3273) recorded in 2021, according to data from the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ).

Same story for hospitalizations related to COVID-19, with 26,357 patients listed until July 4, 2022, compared to 15,254 in 2021. Note, however, that the percentage of people in intensive care is lower for the moment. , from 19.5% in 2021 to 8.4% in 2022.

Towards a further rise in cases?

“Millions of Canadians now have hybrid immunity resulting from a combination of COVID-19 vaccines and infection. Unfortunately, new evidence suggests that most of these individuals remain at risk of re-infection with viruses of the Omicron variant lineage,” said Dr. David Naylor, co-chair of the GTIC.

Experts fear already a seventh wave in the province this summer due to the multiplication of sub-variants of Omicron and the fall of sanitary measures for almost a month.

The Minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, and the National Director of Public Health, Dr. Luc Boileau, will also provide an update on the pandemic situation in the province during a press briefing on Thursday morning.< /p>

“We are going to make a point with Dr. Boileau in particular to remind people of the instructions and [to show] caution before the construction holidays. […] We rather think of specifying that people [must feel] very comfortable, for example, to wear the mask in public transport and in places that are closed, ”said Minister Dubé on Wednesday.

Wearing a mask and respecting physical distance are always recommended by GTIC specialists, who also recommend checking your vaccination protection for the fall.

“To minimize other disruptions of our lives, Canada must closely monitor developments. We all need to react quickly because this virus does not have a seasonal pattern, like other respiratory viruses we expect when everyone returns to work or school in the fall,” Dr Hankins said.