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News > Canada

COVID-19 Variants Spread Leads To Surge of New Cases in Canada

  • People line up to enter a COVID-19 vaccine clinic, Toronto, Canada, April 10, 2021.

    People line up to enter a COVID-19 vaccine clinic, Toronto, Canada, April 10, 2021. | Photo: Xinhua

Published 11 April 2021

The number of confirmed variant cases has skyrocketed from 2,000 a month ago to over 30,000 as of Saturday afternoon.

The rapid spread of more contagious COVID-19 variants is believed to have driven a devastating third wave in Canada. As of Saturday afternoon, a total of 30,108 variant of concern cases have been reported across this country, including 28,624 B.1.1.7 variants, 1,133 P.1 variants, and 351 B.1.351 variants.


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"Although B.1.1.7, which is now confirmed in all provinces and two territories, continues to account for the majority of variants of concern in Canada and has likely replaced the original virus in some areas, there has been a concerning rise in P.1 cases in recent weeks," said Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer.

"Early evidence suggests that the P.1 variant may reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, making it even more important to control its spread," Tam added in the statement.

The number of confirmed variant cases in Canada has skyrocketed in recent weeks, rising from about 2,000 a month ago to over 30,000 as of Saturday afternoon and counting, with more than 90 percent of those being the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in Britain.

The P1 variant first discovered in Brazil is also on the rise in Canada, with cases increasing to more than 1,100 as of Saturday afternoon, mostly in the populous provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, and Alberta.

Meanwhile, the B.1.351 variant first found in South Africa is also picking up steam, with more than 350 cases identified in the country. The race between the vaccine and the variants is at a critical point.

"It is clear that we need stronger control to combat variants of concern that are driving rapid epidemic growth in many areas of the country," Tam pointed out, adding that younger Canadians are being impacted harder in the third wave, with infection rates highest among those aged 20 to 39 and a rise in the number of hospitalizations and ICU admissions in those under 60.

Canada's slower vaccine rollout means our third wave could last into June. Altogether, 7,569,321 vaccine doses have been administered as of Friday, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.


Theresa Tam
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