VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — With variants of concern continuing to pop up in our province, one epidemiologist says the province’s lack of transparency with data on COVID variants is leading to the surge.
Compared to other provinces tracking variants of concern, Jean-Paul Soucy, the co-founder of the COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group, says B.C. is lagging behind.
“For B.C. we’ve really seen very limited information in terms of the variants of concern.
“They set up for whole-genome sequencing so they can tell which variants are specifically — and we’re not seeing those results until those sequencing numbers come back. And over the last couple of months, it really has not been clear in B.C., how much they’re screening. What percentage of cases are being screened for variants of concern? And then what percentage of those cases that do screen positive for varients then go for whole-genome sequencing,” he explains.
He says compared to Ontario, or Quebec, the public and epidemiologists, are in the dark when looking for information about the variants progress in B.C.
Soucy explains if B.C. had gotten ahead of the curve with implementing restrictions, we would be in a much better position in the fight against the virus.
“We just implemented [COVID measures] too late.”
Whistler has nearly 200 of 877 confirmed cases of the P1 Brazil variant and he says it isn’t surprising.
However, Soucy says British Columbians should keep in mind significant transmission is being recorded around in the world, and for all we know, even more, dangerous variants can be emerging in areas of really high transmission.
“So I think that we do have to remember that even if these measures came in too late to keep out these variants that we’re struggling with now, they may very well keep out other variants in the future that we’re not even aware of yet. So I don’t think that this is a useless program by any means.”