Omicron’s uncertainty, in Quebec and elsewhere, in five points

By increasing authorized gatherings from December 23 to 20 vaccinated people, Legault’s government is not hiding that “uncertainty” remains: an Omicron variant. If only one case has been detected so far in Quebec, what does transmission in the rest of the world look like? And what do we know so far about this alternative? An overview in five points.


Henry Owlette Vezina

Henry Owlette Vezina
Journalism

Cases examined in Quebec

In an examination of about 900 cases conducted in November by the National Institute of Public Health, there were no cases of the Omicron variant. Aside from the case that was confirmed last week, this strain is not currently widely distributed in the county. “This is very good news. However, there are a few cases under investigation. We are following this closely,” the Minister of Health, Christian Duby, noted on Tuesday, before adding: “Maybe we will have to work with Omicron after the holidays. ‘, indicating that the situation could develop rapidly. “You have to learn to live with COVID, […] Because Omicron has been with us for a while,” Mr. Dube insisted.

“almost certain”

In the United States, famed American scientist Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday it was “almost certain” that the Omicron variant did not cause more severe cases of COVID-19 than Delta, adding that it would be necessary to wait “at least two more weeks” to see if it was lower. Danger. However, the fact remains that Omicron is “obviously highly transmissible,” perhaps more than Delta, and also has a higher rate of re-infection, said Dr.s Fauci. Preliminary data shows that this new alternative, which is now in nearly 40 countries around the world, is also likely to better escape immunity to a vaccine.

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In the European continent

In Europe, where the variant has been further demonstrated, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has tripled in just 48 hours. As of Tuesday, just over 210 cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed with certainty in the European Union and associated countries, such as Iceland and Norway. The European Commission also called on its members to standardize their movement restrictions in order to “ensure predictability for citizens”. « Soixante-six pour cent des Européens sont aujourd’hui entièrement vaccinés, mais face à des variants plus contagieux, ce n’est pas suffisant », aussi martelé la commissaire Stella Kyriakides, lors d’unestres de la réunioné mini Brussels.

What we don’t know exactly yet

Like most variables, the scientific community around the world takes time to accurately determine the exact properties of a variable. In the United States, results of laboratory trials on the effectiveness of antibodies from current vaccines against the Omicron variant should be known in the coming days or within a week. However, globally, it is still not clear exactly how this variant might interact with vaccines. However, Pfizer has already indicated that developing a new vaccine may be necessary to deal with it. Studies in South Africa, where the variant first appeared, must be interpreted with extreme caution, as the low vaccination coverage of only 24% may complicate generalizations with the rest of the world.

In Ontario, ask to be careful

In our neighbors Ontario, experts advising the government said on Tuesday they could not “predict Omicron accurately”, but “it will almost certainly hit us hard and fast.” However, the team wrote, “COVID-19 will almost certainly rise until January, before Omicron hits us in full force.” In their opinion, “many Ontarians have not been fully immunized and will end up in hospital.” According to the commission’s forecast, intensive care occupancy rate will rise over the next month, “perhaps beyond” 250 patients by the end of this month – even without taking into account the Omicron variable.

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With the Canadian Press and Agence France-Presse

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