How Worried Should Canada Be About the COVID Variant? – .

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How Worried Should Canada Be About the COVID Variant? – .


“This virus is spreading so quickly and is so contagious that if 20% of the population is not vaccinated, it will be more than enough to keep this thing going.”

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Five weeks ago, Rodney Russell gave a talk titled “Will Vaccines End the Pandemic?”

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Five weeks ago the answer was yes, “because when I looked at the data, the epidemiology in Israel, the UK, the US, I said that the countries that have vaccinated the the more aggressively experienced the fastest drops in cases per day, and they stayed down, ”said Russell, professor of immunology and virology at Memorial University and editor of the journal Viral Immunology.

Today, these three “big three vaccinators” are witnessing a recovery of COVID thanks to the Delta variant which first appeared in India in October 2020. It is now the most dominant strain in the world and an extremely contagious.

The experience of other countries offers Canada a cautionary note about vaccinations, especially second doses. Without “really, really high immunity,” said Russell, “there’s going to be a ton of viruses in the population.”

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Polls suggest 10 percent of Canadians are strongly opposed to vaccines, while 10 percent are hesitant or just in no rush. “But this virus is spreading so quickly and is so contagious that if 20% of the population is not vaccinated, it will be more than enough to keep this thing going and give it the ability to continue mutating,” Russell said.

Some vaccinated people have also been infected, although the breakthrough infections are not surprising and, according to experts, do not occur at an alarming rate. Vaccines do not provide 100% protection against SARS-CoV-2, and not all people inoculated have a strong response. But COVID is generally less severe in double-vaccinated people and isn’t killing people at the rate it once was. “In this vaccinated group, we are seeing a much milder disease. And that’s going to be quite the norm for the new months, or maybe the years, ”King’s College London epidemiologist Tim Spector, responsible for a large study into COVID symptoms, said in a statement. updated video this week.

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Still, the confirmed cases per million in Britain, where two-thirds of adults have received two doses of a vaccine, are “quite high compared to those around us,” Spector said. With the so-called ‘Freedom Day’ of July 19 – and the lifting of virtually all public health restrictions – just days away, the UK’s seven-day moving average this week was more than four times higher than it was a month ago. Britain reported 48,553 new cases on Thursday, while the number of people hospitalized rose 42.8% in one week, Bloomberg reports.

Spain, Portugal, Greece and the Netherlands are all experiencing rebounds for reasons which, Spector said, can be attributed to the “very special properties of the Delta virus” – it has a strange ability to focus more tightly. on human cells – “and a slight relaxation of restrictions in most countries.”

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Israel has reinstated its indoor mask rule. In the United States, confirmed cases of COVID have increased by 70% from previous weeks and deaths by 26%, with outbreaks in parts of the country with low vaccine use. The seven-day US average now exceeds 26,000 daily cases, more than double its June low of around 11,000 cases. According to public health experts, 99% of Americans now hospitalized with COVID have not been vaccinated.

In severe cases, Delta’s COVID doesn’t look much different from severe illness caused by older iterations of the virus. People can end up on life support, with several organs failing. “What is very different about these patients is that, for the most part, they are young people and almost all of them, in our experience in Saskatchewan, have not been vaccinated,” said Dr. Hassan. Masri, an intensive care specialist and intensive care specialist in Saskatoon. “We haven’t seen a single patient land in the intensive care unit who is double-dose vaccinated. “

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Young and unvaccinated are largely responsible for the spread of Delta to other parts of the globe, and in Canada, young people seem less eager to be vaccinated. Also of concern: the rate of increase for the first dose has slowed and less than half of Canadians are fully immunized. Masri predicts that by the end of September or early October, as people return indoors and schools and campuses reopen, Canada will see a small but steady increase in the spread as public health measures are , rightly so, relaxed.

An initially silent and asymptomatic spread will likely continue for four to eight weeks, he said, followed by a not-so-silent spread, “and we’ll have the nucleus of the fourth wave. I think we have to understand that this is going to happen, we have to make sure that we continue to be careful. “

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An increase in the number of cases does not necessarily translate into a proportional increase in hospitalizations or deaths, he said. But the proportion of Canadians with a single dose – or none at all – remains high.

“This drop is not a reason to double the public health measures – certainly, I think most of the relaxations in the public health measures are appropriate,” Masri said. “It’s more of a warning to redouble our efforts to vaccinate. We have to go harder, he said.

Spector, of King’s College, thinks it’s also important for people to recognize that the symptoms of COVID are different in breakthrough infections. COVID after vaccination looks a lot like a bad cold – runny nose, headache, sneezing and sore throat, possibly possible loss of smell. “But don’t wait for the cough and fever,” he said in his video. “They may never happen. Suppose you have COVID, take a test. “

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Delta is highly contagious, and the unvaccinated are clearly more at risk of getting infected and getting sick. “This is becoming an unvaccinated pandemic,” US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a press briefing this week. Recent research in France reinforces the arguments in favor of a second dose: blood samples from people who have received a dose of Pfizer or AstraZeneca “barely inhibited” Delta. Two doses generated a neutralizing response in 95 percent of people.

One of the more pragmatic questions right now, said Russell of Memorial, is, “What does it mean, on an individual basis, if you’ve been vaccinated and we have Delta in? the area ? “

Even if you have an infection, even if the antibody response is poor, “you still shouldn’t get as sick as if you didn’t have a vaccine, so there is no doubt that it is better to get the vaccine.” , did he declare.

“You might not have a high viral load in your nose and you might not be spreading… but no one knows their nasal viral load. That’s why I say to people, “Wear your mask for a few more months, until we see what’s going on here. “

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