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New variant of Omicron accounts for 7% of cases in Canada

Detections of the new highly transmissible variant of COVID-19 XBB.1.5 have continued to increase in Canada, but so far it does not appear that these infections are causing more serious disease, Canada's chief medical officer said today.


Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, says this new variant of Omicron, which has been spreading rapidly in the United States and Europe has already been circulating in Canada since at least December.



We are seeing an increase in the detection proportion of COVID cases related to the XBB.1.5 variant. this sub variant is now circulating in Canada, for the week of December 25 to January 2 it accounted for 2.5% of cases. this proportion is projected to increase by approximately 7% by mid-January in Canada. Although the X BB variant is expected to grow it is still uncertain whether it will become the dominant variant in the country. Nationally, the absolute number of cases is not rebounding at this time, nor is there evidence of increased severity with this or other new variants.

XBB.1.5. is a sub-lineage of the XBB sub-variant of Omicron and has been considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be the "most transmissible" COVID-19 variant to date.


The latest case data show that COVID-19 activity continues to fluctuate across the country, but both influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) have settled at expected seasonal levels, Tam said.


On the other hand federal health minister Jean Yves Duclos was embellished at the same press conference on the NDP's call to condition the health funds being requested by the provinces to commit to non-privatization and use that money for public health.



We all have differences concerning public health in this country, but we have a common responsibility to adhere to the health law. The good news is that everyone recognizes that, the responsibility to meet those obligations. You've heard it in recent days, we need to maintain public financing and make sure that our system is equitable and accessible to everyone, no matter where that person lives and no matter what their income is or their ability to pay for services. There are ways in which the federal government can ensure that this is met, there are penalties that can be imposed, that have been imposed and will likely continue to be imposed in the future when those obligations are not met by the provinces and territories. But I understand, based on our recent conversations, that those obligations are very well understood and will be upheld in any changes that the provinces want to make.
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