Canada’s top doctors warn escalating COVID-19 variant spread threatens third wave

Published February 12, 2021 at 5:22 pm

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OTTAWA — Canada’s top doctors say COVID-19 infections appear to be on a downward trend but worrisome variants are posing an increasing threat to containing the pandemic.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam says aggressive vaccinations will play a key part in addressing COVID-19 spread but that is just one suppression tool as modelling data in the nation’s hot spots point to a likely third wave.

Tam said at least three provinces are reporting evidence of community spread of the new, more transmissible variants.

There are more than 429 cases of the variant first identified in the U.K., and 28 cases of the variant first identified in South Africa reported across eight provinces, she said.

So far there has only been one report of the variant first found in Brazil.

According to federal data, as of Thursday there have been 817,163 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, with 37,747 of them considered active cases.

“We’ve made great progress, and are now almost two thirds of the way down this curve,” said Tam, adding that ongoing vigilance was vital.

“Look at the European countries — they give us a clue as to what might happen if variants are circulating, and we let our guard down. That massive acceleration into that third resurgence, if you like … will happen really fast.”

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