As Ontario appears to be slowly climbing out of the sixth wave of the pandemic, experts say COVID-19 is not going anywhere.

Dr. Susy Hota, an infectious disease specialist, says transmission will continue into the summer months, but possibly at a lower rate, with a risk of a resurgence in the fall.

“As we typically do with other respiratory viruses anyway, we should be prepared that we might see things coming up again.”

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On Tuesday, seven cases of severe acute hepatitis in children were reported in Canada. This comes as an unexplained outbreak of severe cases have been found around the world, including in the UK and United States.

Dr. Hota says there is little known about the outbreak but what health experts do know is that there is a signal in the UK that the number of cases in young children is greater than they’ve seen in the past.

“There’s something abnormal about the signal. What is causing it is still unclear,” she says.

Dr. Hota notes that there should be a focus on case finding and surveillance to better understand it.

With the pandemic rolling on, new sub-variants of COVID-19 are being tracked.

Dr. Hota says in South Africa, the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants have arisen and are being watched closely because they have gone up in frequency.

“What we understand so far is that it seems to be a little more contagious than what we’ve seen earlier with omicron sub-variants,” Dr. Hota says.

“However, any of the other clinical implications are less clear.”

Dr. Hota says there are no signs it causes more severe symptoms at this stage in the research.

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