Covid, the risk of contagion increases: Sos Autumn

TORONTO – Covid-19 infections could slowly start to rise again in Canada: this is what emerges from new data from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC): there are signs of continued fluctuations in some indicators of COVID-19 activity after a long period of gradual decline, the agency’s online epidemiological update reported on Tuesday. This could be an early sign of increased activity, an activity that is still low to moderate in the provinces and territories, the update specifies. But Dr. Allison McGeer, an infectious disease specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, points out that cases of Covid-19 are also on the rise in the United States and in other parts of the world, as other experts have already noted a few days ago. 

“I think Covid is re-emerging,” the doctor said, noting though that a major increase in activity probably won’t happen for “at least a few weeks.”

Public health experts are using nationwide sewage surveillance and Covid test positivity rates to determine the level of virus activity, specifically those experienced by people hospitalized or exhibiting Covid symptoms and are potential candidates for treatment with “Paxlovid”.

Declining immunity as vaccines wear off, coupled with the emergence of new subvariants and the fact that people will move indoors in the fall, are all factors that will play a role in the rise in cases, McGeer said, speaking to CTV.

The XBB subvariants of the Omicron variant accounted for 99% of the Covid cases that were genetically sequenced the week of July 16, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. The “daughter” of the XBB.1 family, EG.5 (or “Eris”), is expected to start dominating in the coming weeks, says Dawn Bowdish, an immunologist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. EG.5 appears to have more immunity-avoiding properties than other variants and is therefore likely to be more contagious, but there is currently no sign of it causing more serious disease in otherwise healthy people. But the elderly and the immunosuppressed still remain at risk and, according to McGeer and Bowdish, vaccination in the autumn will preserve the life and health of these people, also because there are updated vaccines, developed to target the XBB subvariant family.

Pic by SJ Objio from Unsplash