- During the first 40 days of the Omicron wave, Canada recorded more COVID-19 cases than it did during the entire first year of the pandemic.
- The Omicron variant’s rapid spread has shattered records in other countries regarding the number of new infections per day.
As per data from CTVNews.ca’s case tracker, Canada recorded more COVID-19 cases throughout the 1st 40 days of the Omicron wave than it did throughout the entire 1st year of the pandemic.
Since the 1st case of Omicron was discovered in Canada on November 29, 2021, 777,609 declared new infections had been declared. After the 1st domestic patient was documented on January 25, 2020, it did take over 370 days to surpass the same number of cases.
There are even more than 4 times as many active cases now as there were throughout the peak of the 2nd and 3rd waves last winter and spring.
Whereas the much more infective Omicron variant would seem to cause less severe disease than past variants of concern, such as Delta, the sheer number of infections is driving up hospitalizations as well as intensive care admissions, putting strain on already strained health care systems in many jurisdictions.
In Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, hospitalization rates are approaching or exceeding all-time highs.
However, the comparison is likely conservative, as actual infections during the most recent wave are widely believed to have been significantly higher due to difficulty booking PCR tests in some regions over the holidays and changes in testing eligibility in provinces such as Ontario after the new year. Wastewater data from across the country also suggests that the true figure is much higher.
“What it means right now is that the count of clinical cases that we’re detecting is only a fraction of the count of infections,” Waterloo’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, stated last week.
The Omicron variant’s rapid spread has shattered records in other countries regarding the number of new infections per day. Since the 1st case of Omicron was discovered on November 27, the United Kingdom has recorded 4.38 million infections, a figure that the nation did not reach throughout the pandemic until April 13, 2021.