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BA.5 Variant Taking Ontario by Storm

Source: Ryan-The Boston Globe/ Getty Images

Another subvariant of COVID-19 seems to have taken the province of Ontario by storm according to the province’s expert pandemic advisers. The main cause of this subvariant wave is the highly transmissible BA.5 Omicron subvariant. This is reportedly the 7th wave of COVID-19 in Ontario. 


The scientific director of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table group, Dr. Fahad Razak, says that it is very likely that this wave will reach its peak sometime in the summer. As that is when more people will begin to go out more into crowded spaces. Although this variant does not cause a more serious form of the illness, it will still do some harm to the people who come in contact with the variant. The director warns the public to protect themselves even though this variant is not going to be as huge as past variants, they should take cautionary steps in order to avoid contact with the variant.


He suggests that the public still wear facemasks in crowded spaces, although mask mandates have been lifted, and that they should get their third shot of the vaccine if they are able to. He mentioned the fourth dose and the current eligibility of those who can take it are people aged 60 and older, Indigenous adults and current residents of retirement and long-term care homes. He believes that in the fall, the government is going to expand the eligibility requirements for those who can take the fourth dose.


Fahad Razak reveals that, unlike the other variants that came before, this variant is more “immune-evasive”. This means those that come in contact with this variant and get sick are also able to get infected again. Also because of how highly transmissible it is, people with weaker immune systems are able to get infected quickly and may get a worse experience with the variant than those with stronger immune systems. For the safety of everyone, we must take precautions now when it is not at its peak yet, so we can prevent people from suffering.


The Ontario chief medical officer, Dr. Kieran Moore, states that cases involving the variant have been slowly increasing since June. It started rapidly increasing in the middle of the month and now this variant is on the way to becoming the most dominant variant of COVID in Ontario if precaution is not taken. Although it is not at its peak yet, if we continue to go about our lives as we do now, we may have to bring back mask mandates in the fall because of how serious and highly contagious it will get. Moore says that for now, it is uncertain how things are going to look like in the fall.

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