TORONTO — The Ministry of Health reported today that Ontario has seen an increase of only 296 new cases of COVID-19 since yesterday, out of 17,162 tests processed. According to health officials, this is the first time the province has seen new cases fall to fewer than 300 since September, shortly before the onset of the second wave.
However, 13 more deaths have been attributed to the virus, bringing the total number of deaths in the province to 8,974. Additionally, the Delta variant continues to spread rapidly, while the Alpha (UK) variant loses traction. Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said in a recent press release that the Delta variant is expected to become the dominant variant in the province, as it is around one and a half times more transmissible than the Alpha variant.
Fortunately, recent research suggests that the vaccines may be more effective against the new variant than suggested by an early study, wherein the efficacy rate was given as 33 per cent.
“But in real life, it appears that, certainly with the mRNA vaccines, that it’s more like 47 to 48 per cent effective,” Yaffe said. “That’s one of the reasons we’re pushing up the interval between the first dose of AstraZeneca, and the second dose of whichever vaccine the individual chooses, because we want to get people as fully protected as possible as quickly as possible with the Delta strain moving up in Ontario as it is,”