The arrival of the Omicron variant in Canada has produced a veritable tsunami of COVID-19 infections, with more than 17 million Canadians catching the virus in just five months, according to a recent data analysis.
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About 7% of Canadians had antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 before Omicron arrived, a proportion that increased by 45% between December 2021 and May 2022, according to analysis of studies funded by the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (TICG).
This is therefore an average of more than 100,000 infections per day during this five-month period.
"New sublines of Omicron have continued to spread ever since and the percentage of Canadians with SARS-CoV-2 infection is now likely well over 50%," Dr. Tim Evans said in a statement on Wednesday. administrative director of the GTIC.
Young adults have also been the most infected with this variant of the virus, since 65% of Canadians under the age of 25 had antibodies during the last week of May, compared to 57% for 25-39 year olds, 51% for 40-59 year olds and 31% for the over 60s.
“By the sheer number of infections, the Omicron variant has had devastating effects on services and disrupted lives, as well as hospitalizations and deaths. Clearly it has not spared healthy young Canadians,” said GTIC co-chair Dr. Catherine Hankins.
“Millions of Canadians now have hybrid immunity resulting from a combination of COVID-19 vaccines and infection. Unfortunately, new evidence suggests that most of these individuals remain at risk of reinfection with viruses of the Omicron variant lineage,” added Dr. David Naylor, co-chair of the GTIC.