Vaxx Populi – Even if you have a double vacuum and do a quick test before you arrive, the odds are not in your favor

An inherent problem with exponential growth is that it is often difficult to understand exactly how bad things can get in just a few weeks, or even days after relatively slow increases. And now, Canadians are taking a hard look at whether the worsening COVID-19 situation will mean a second year of having to cut back or cancel vacation gatherings and travel.

A month ago, Canada was registering an average of 2,500 new cases per day and no one had heard of a new variant called Omicron. Now, with Christmas just two weeks away, that daily average has skyrocketed to more than 3,500 a day, according to COVID-19 tracker Canada.

The bad news keeps coming. On Friday, December 10, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s director of public health, published the latest modeling of the pandemic. It projects around 7,500 boxes per day for January, assuming our transmission levels remain the same. However, if the transmission increases by just 15 percent, or if the new Omicron variant is set, as Alpha and then Delta, then a mighty wave could come in like never seen before before New Years.

MORE: Omicron Variant Will Likely Be Worse Than Delta, Preliminary Investigation Found

Later that day, Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario Medical Director of Health, Announced that Omicron accounts for about 10 percent of the province’s number of cases. Three days later, the Ontario Science Board Estimate that Omicron’s proportion of new cases was 20% and that its case count was doubling every three days. The next day (December 13), that proportion had risen to 30.8 percent and their effective reproduction number (Rt) had increased from 3.32 to 4.01 (meaning that each infected person infects four others. ). In contrast, Delta’s Rt is 1.09. This I expected It will become the dominant variant in the province this week and will replace Delta entirely at Christmas.

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And those new concerns mean reinventing the holiday reunion plans that solidified weeks ago, when young children were getting vaccinated and the case count was low. “Realistically, regardless of the potential risks, Christmas gatherings are going to happen, even in the time of COVID,” explains Dr. Noel Gibney, professor emeritus in the department of intensive care medicine at the University of Alberta. “People are tired and need to see family and friends.”

“I want public health officials to provide more definitive guidance,” says Dr. Andrew Morris, infectious disease specialist and medical director from the Sinai Health System-University Health Network Antimicrobial Management Program in Toronto.

Still, experts advise limits on such parties. “Big Christmas gatherings are probably not the smart thing to do,” says Morris. “I think 10 [people] It’s a reasonable number, I think 25 is getting bigger. “ And Gibney urges people to consider limiting the number of households in a meeting.

Additionally, Gibney and other experts emphasize that those who attend indoor meetings should receive at least a double dose, and preferably a triple dose. Rapid tests can help mitigate the situation, both experts say. “If younger members meet older or at-risk people (obese, diabetic, hypertensive, immunosuppressed), they should get a rapid test,” Gibney suggests as well. Pharmacies can provide results in 15 minutes, while online sellers, such as Canadian Shield Personal Protective Equipment Y Quick test and trace, sells home tests for as little as $ 10.

And now is not the time to make assumptions: “Meeting organizers should ask to see proof of vaccination and a negative rapid test upon arrival. It would be even better if it was provided before arrival, ”Gibney suggests, though he acknowledges that such steps would likely strain relationships.

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In addition, experts emphasize that COVID-19 is transmitted through the air, which means that it can spread much more and stay in the air much longer than most people think. Think of COVID-19 as the lingering smells of cigarettes or Aunt Ethel’s surprise pot. That is why the Public Health Agency of Canada emphasizes that “ventilation is a key way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19” and is promote shapes to improve air circulation and filtration in homes, including opening windows and HEPA purifiers.

In case you are thinking that the risks may be exaggerated, consider What happened when workers at a company in Oslo gathered in a restaurant for their New Years Eve party in late November – even though only employees with double vacuum were allowed in, and they were all put through rapid tests too, The event became a major outbreak because one of the 120 guests turned out to have the Omicron variant. As of December 10, 80 out of 111 participants had tested positive for COVID-19, probably Omicron.

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