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U.S. experts say Canada is missing out on the opportunity to fight the P.1 COVID-19 variant

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Was one of the first to warn about the top US health experts COVID-19 (new coronavirus infection) Last year’s pandemic is now P.1 variant Canada warns that the country is acting too late.

Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and assistant senior researcher at the Federation of American Scientists, warned in January 2020, two months before the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. The new coronavirus can be a “thermonuclear public health crisis”.

“That’s not good,” he said. “We knew for quite some time how bad this variant was, but we were reluctant to follow the science of this.”

For the past two weeks, his focus has been on the province of Canada, where the outbreak of P.1, the first variant of the virus identified in Brazil, has now spread rapidly in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. It is rooted in the province.

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The P.1 variant is widespread in Canada. What do we know about it and vaccines?

Emerging non-peer review Brazilian study Is at the forefront COVID-19BR Observatory The P.1 variant suggests that it is up to 2.5 times more infectious than the original COVID-19 strain.Another study from the Amazon city of Manaus was hit hard by this variant from anywhere out of 100 COVID-19 survivors. Exposure to P.1 can reinfect 25-60.

Number of Cases of P.1 variant reported in BC It exploded alone in the past few weeks, reaching 737 as of Monday. This is almost double the number reported before the start of the long Easter weekend.

I saw BC on monday Set the highest record ever For intensive care patients affected by COVID-19, 96 people are currently receiving critical care.

That record Predicted in late March COVID-19 by Sally Otto, a mathematical biologist at the University of British Columbia who modeled. She said the ICU surge was likely to be facilitated by multiple variants, including P.1.

Feigl-Ding also warned about the situation in BC around the same time. On March 26, he pointed out on CNN that more cases of P.1 variants (20-30) were seen daily across the state than the combined number of cases across the United States.

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Feigl-Ding also refers to the BC Center for Disease Control. Report from March 24 This identifies 84 cases of P.1 that are not related to returnees, strongly suggesting the expansion of the community.

“I can’t believe (the British Columbia public health authorities) didn’t act at the time,” he told Global News. “And now we have all this turmoil.”

Brazil crisis

The situation in BC is still inferior when compared to the crisis posed by the P.1 variant in Brazil.

The country is currently suffering from the worst pandemic wave, reporting an average of more than 3,000 deaths per day.

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who Said on thursday Brazilian hospitals were in crisis and many intensive care units were over 90% full. National media and public health agencies call this situation a “collapse” of the health care system.

Still, Mr Fagledin said Brazil’s fate, which President Jair Bolsonaro refuses to support masks and blockades, can be circumvented in Canada by expanding contact tracing and tightening restrictions. I will.

“In addition to banning eating indoors, schools need to do masking,” says Feigl-Ding. “This” only for 4th grade and above, not for junior high school and above. ” No, all grades. I think everyone up to the age of 5 is really really important. “

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Going further, Says people over 2 years old need to wear a mask.

British Columbia Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry banned indoor dining in restaurants and bars on March 29.

That same day, she expanded the school’s mask requirements to cover students in grades 4 and above and all school staff. Prior to that, masks were recommended only for elementary school children, but were mandatory for middle school and high school children and only recommended when the students were away from their desks.

read more:

Will the more deadly COVID-19 variant ruin our summer?This is what the experts are saying

Henry said further school action would not be reviewed until April 19, but Fagledin said this was a “headache” mistake.

“There is one thing to say:’Follow science,'” he said. “You have to follow the rapidly changing and updating science. As a public health leader, it’s part of your job.”

Feigl-Ding’s advice also applies to officials in Ontario, where more than 100 P.1 cases have been identified, and in other states, such as Alberta, where 15 cases have been identified so far. Will be.

The outbreak in Alberta, which Dr. Dina Hinshaw, chief medical officer of Alberta, called “serious” on Monday and weekend, appears to be associated with large employers with multiple locations in Western Canada. Said. She said it was believed to have started with travelers returning to Alberta from outside the state.

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Increasing number of young Canadians in hospitals infected with variants


Increasing number of young Canadians in hospitals infected with variants

Ontario tightened regulations over the weekend, but Alberta and other state leaders opposed further blockades or reopening retreats.

Last week, Saskatchewan Prime Minister Scott Moe said, “The way to get over this (pandemic) is with vaccines. The way to get over this is not to strengthen public health measures.”

However, Feigl-Ding says a mixture of both is needed until herd immunity is reached. Also, P.1 is more infectious and deadly than the original virus strain, which increases the proportion of the population that needs to be vaccinated.

“And Canada isn’t close to that yet,” he said. “Getting there only delays the outbreak of the virus in progress. It doesn’t stop it in its orbit.

“There is no easy way to say this, but you have to be vigilant until vaccination reaches a high threshold. Only then can you give up a little gas. Slowly, not in the middle of a wildfire. You have to do it at a low level. “

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— Using Global Rachael D’Amore and Reuters files


© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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