Dec 11, 2021

By Steve Kee

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Health experts still don’t know if the omicron variant is causing milder COVID-19, but more indicators are emerging from South Africa.

Doctors there say the patients they are seeing now aren’t as ill as the ones who were infected with the delta variant.

Recent data shows far fewer hospitalizations and deaths compared to previous waves.

But it has only been two weeks since omicron was first reported in Africa, and scientists caution it will take many more weeks to know whether their early observations hold up.

While delta is still the dominant strain worldwide, omicron is popping up in dozens of countries and has become dominant in South Africa.

Meantime in Ontario, the province is reporting 1,607 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths from the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 654 of the new cases are among people who aren’t fully vaccinated, while 89 people have an unknown immunization status.

The province has confirmed 48 cases of the Omicron variant, and local health units say they are investigating other possible cases.

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