The latest report from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) finds that nearly all new coronavirus cases in the province are the highly transmissible Delta variant strain.
Of all the positive samples sequenced from July 25 to July 31 in B.C., 100 per cent of the cases were confirmed variants of concern, according to the BCCDC Weekly Update on Variants of Concern (VOC).
The report states that the main circulating variant is Delta (B.1.617.2), accounting for about 95 per cent of positive specimens sequenced.
The Gamma variant accounted for approximately three per cent of positive specimens sequenced while the Alpha made up about two per cent.
The BCCDC notes that the prevalence of VOCs was similar across health authorities. However, this week’s report reflects partial data due to a delay in receipt of positive samples from front-line laboratories; changes are expected as additional specimens are received and sequenced.
Delta variant displacing Alpha in B.C.
Earlier this month, Prof. Sarah Otto of the University of British Columbia told the Canadian Press that the Delta variant, which first became prominent in India, is displacing the one that originated in the United Kingdom.
“Delta is now the most common variant in the province, with its frequency doubling every week relative to Alpha,” said Otto, who is an expert in the university’s zoology department on the mathematical models of pandemic growth and evolution.
Originally a variant of interest, B.1.617.2, now known as the Delta variant of concern under the World Health Organization’s new naming system, surfaced in Canada earlier this year. In April, incoming passenger flights from India and Pakistan were banned in an effort to curb the spread of the highly transmissible strain.
Back in June, health officials from across the globe warned that the strain posed a dire threat to eliminating COVID-19.
South of the border, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease expert, told reporters in a White House COVID-19 Response Briefing on June 22 that the Delta variant’s “transmissibility is undeniably greater.”
Dr. Jeffrey Joy, Assistant Professor at UBC’s Department of Medicine, told Vancouver Is Awesome in a previous interview that he wholeheartedly agreed with Fauci’s sentiment.
The Delta variant has 10 different mutations in the spike protein, relative to the original coronavirus (COVID-19) strain, explained Joy. “And in particular, it has three that make it easier for the virus to attach to the ACE2 receptor which is a receptor on our human cells that allows it to infect ours cells more easily, particularly for mutations.”
The BCCDC’s latest report notes, however, that 78 per cent of new hospitalizations were in unvaccinated people.
Otto said B.C. is beginning a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections, but how high it will get and how fast it will rise depends on everybody’s behaviour.
The two things people can do to prevent the wave from getting “very high” is get vaccinated and avoid indoor crowded spaces without a mask, she said.
The province and the country will continue seeing such waves as new, more transmissible variants arise, but Otto noted that “vaccinations are really protecting people from the worst ravages of this disease.”
With files from the Canadian Press.
Is the delta variant of the coronavirus worse for kids? – Delta-Optimist
Is the delta variant of the coronavirus worse for kids?
Experts say there’s no strong evidence that it makes children and teens sicker than earlier versions of the virus, although delta has led to a surge in infections among kids because it’s more contagious.
Delta’s ability to spread more easily makes it more of a risk to children and underscores the need for masks in schools and vaccinations for those who are old enough, said Dr. Juan Dumois, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Weekly infection rates among U.S. children earlier this month topped 250,000, surpassing the wintertime peak, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association. Since the pandemic began, more than 5 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19.
The delta variant has been identified in at least 180 countries, according to the World Health Organization. In many of them, the spike in infections has also meant an increase in hospitalizations in young children and teens.
In the U.S., the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 was less than 2 per 100,000 children in late August and early September — similar to the peak last winter, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the portion of kids hospitalized with severe disease hasn’t changed significantly.
The sheer numbers can make it seem like children are getting sicker with the delta variant, but experts say that does not appear to be the case. Most infected kids have mild infections or no symptoms and do not need to be hospitalized.
COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide protection against delta. Among children 12 and older — who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations — the weekly hospitalization rate in July was 10 times higher for the unvaccinated than those who have had the shots, CDC data show.
The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: FactCheck@AP.org. Read more here:
Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press
Data from 3 major hospital systems reveals how many COVID-19 patients are fully vaccinated – Bring Me The News
While the COVID vaccines are shown to be effective albeit not bulletproof at preventing infection from the virus, their effectiveness at preventing hospitalization and death is much greater.
Four Minnesota healthcare institutions provided specific data that shows the percentage of hospitalized COVID-19 patients who are fully vaccinated, and how many are unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated.
Allina Health, which has 14 hospitals in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, reports that almost four out of five COVID-19 patients hospitalized through Sept. 20 were unvaccinated.
Its data show that of 176 COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Sept. 20, 32 were in the ICU and 21 required a ventilator. Hospitalized patients who were fully vaccinated represented 22.7% of the total, and just 15.6% of the ICU cases and 9.5% of the cases with a ventilator.
HealthPartners, which has nine hospitals in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, told Bring Me The News that it has cared for 338 COVID-19 patients in the past 30 days and 53 of them (15.7%) were fully vaccinated.
“Of those 53 patients, only six required intensive care, two needed the support of a ventilator and nobody died. Year-to-date, 6.3% of hospitalized patients have been fully vaccinated,” a spokesperson from HealthPartners said.
Sanford Health, which operates 22 regional hospitals, is reporting that 10.1% of all COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Sept. 21 were fully vaccinated. Only two of 45 in the ICU and one of 34 patients on a ventilator were fully vaxxed,
More of the same from CentraCare, which operates eight hospitals in the region. The latest data provided Thursday (it changes daily and even hourly) had six of 67 COVID-19 inpatients documented as fully vaccinated.
To recap, that’s four major hospital systems that are reporting between 9% and 22% of all COVID-19 patients being fully vaccinated, with even lower percentages of vaccinated patients in the ICU or on a ventilator.
“COVID-19 vaccines continue to be our best tool in stopping the spread of infection and preventing serious illness and death,” the HealthPartners spokesperson said.
Bring Me The News has requested vaccinated and unvaccinated ratios from other major providers, including Mayo Clinic Health Systems, Hennepin Healthcare and Essentia Health.
330 people are in BC hospitals with COVID-19 – MY PG NOW
B.C. is reporting 832 new cases of COVID-19, 117 in Northern Health, 153 in Interior Health.
There are 5,697 active cases in the province, of those cases, 330 individuals are in hospital and 148 are in intensive care.
The north has 977 active cases, and the interior has 1,181.
87.3% of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a vaccine and 79.9% received their second dose.
The new/active cases include:
* 377 new cases in Fraser Health
* Total active cases: 1,932
* 114 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health
* Total active cases: 909
* 153 new cases in Interior Health
* Total active cases: 1,181
* 117 new cases in Northern Health
* Total active cases: 977
* 71 new cases in Island Health
* Total active cases: 654
* no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada
* Total active cases: 44
There were five new deaths reported, one was in Northern Health.
From Sept. 15-21, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 75.5% of cases and from Sept. 8-21, they accounted for 82.6% of hospitalizations.
Past week cases (Sept. 15-21) – Total 4,417
* Not vaccinated: 2,996 (67.8%)
* Partially vaccinated: 342 (7.7%)
* Fully vaccinated: 1,079 (24.4%)
Past two weeks cases hospitalized (Sept. 8-21) – Total 437
* Not vaccinated: 327 (74.8%)
* Partially vaccinated: 34 (7.8%)
* Fully vaccinated: 76 (17.4%)
Past week, cases per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Sept. 15-21)
* Not vaccinated: 289.0
* Partially vaccinated: 87.9
* Fully vaccinated: 27.0
Past two weeks, cases hospitalized per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Sept. 8-21)
* Not vaccinated: 46.5
* Partially vaccinated: 13.3
* Fully vaccinated: 1.8
After factoring for age, people not vaccinated are 25.8 times more likely to be hospitalized than those fully vaccinated.
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