Jan 18, 2023

By Jane Brown

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More evidence that the COVID crisis is not over yet.

Cases of a new highly transmissible Omicron subvariant have risen in Ontario.

And the former head of the province’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table says it will become the next dominant strain in Ontario.

Doctor Fahad Razak says XBB.1.5, also known as Kraken, is now displacing the other variants around it.

“As that version out competes that version of the virus, also it seems to have the tendency to evade some of our immune protections, reinfecting people, people who’ve had infections but not that recently or who’s immunizations are out of date.,” Dr. Fazak explained to CP24.

As of last week, the Omicron BQ.1.1 subvariant was still the dominant version in Ontario.

According to the latest COVID-19 genomic surveillance report from Public Health Ontario released Tuesday, the XBB.1.5 subvariant is expected to account for 22.2 per cent of COVID-19 cases by the end of this week.

That is a significant jump from weeks ago when only 0.7 per cent of COVID-19 cases were that of the Kraken subvariant. Between Dec. 4 and Dec. 31, there were 105 cases of XBB.1.5 in Ontario.

Most of the infected were from the 40 to 59 age group.

Experts with the World Health Organization said in a recent report that XBB.1.5 may contribute to increases in case incidence.

And that’s why Dr. Razak says proactive measures should be taken now to blunt the expected Kraken surge.

He advises keeping your COVID vaccines up to date, masking in indoor crowded settings and not mixing with friends, family and co-workers when you’re sick.

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