‘Extra infectious’ new COVID-19 variant anticipated in London, Ontario – London


The latest sub-variant of COVID-19 has not been officially reported in London, but officials believe they are here already.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit has not yet registered a case of Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5, also known as Kraken. According to health officer Dr. For Alex Summers, however, it’s only a matter of time before a case hits the books.

“The concern with this XBB.1.5 is that it’s more contagious than previous subvariants and variants,” Summers said, adding that this means it’s easier to transfer.

The new variant is expected to account for a quarter of all COVID-19 cases in Ontario by the end of next week, according to Summers.

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As the variant spreads across the province, people must continue to take precautions, Summers said.

“We must continue to be vigilant and remember that COVID is here to stay,” Summers says. “We’re climbing up a bit, although it’s not accelerating quickly at this point.”

Canadian concerns about the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 are growing

The top doctor says the best way to respond is to keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 vaccinations and flu shots available, wear masks in crowded places in winter and follow basic hygiene principles like washing hands.

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While the latest variant is more contagious, Summers says lockdowns like those experienced at the start of the pandemic in 2020 or early 2021 due to COVID-19 are unlikely to ever happen again.

“That could only happen if we got a new variant that’s so different from the original COVID strain that it’s essentially a brand new virus to our population,” Summers said.

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500 deaths registered in the region

Middlesex County recently recorded its 500th death attributed to COVID-19. The health unit says they recorded the death sometime in the first week of January, although the actual date of death could have been as late as December.

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Since the first death in Middlesex County in late March 2020, 513 pandemic-related deaths have been recorded. The number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 has increased every year.

There were 105 COVID-19 deaths in 2020, 153 in 2021 and 249 in 2022. The health unit has recorded six deaths in 2023 so far.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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