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B.C. independent modelling group says Delta COVID-19 variant 'looming large'

Last Updated Jun 7, 2021 at 6:53 am PDT

FILE -- Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at a lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

An independent modelling group in B.C. says the Delta COVID-19 variant is on the rise

Researcher says it is hard to know the effectiveness of vaccines against the variant in B.C. due to dosing schedule

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Cases of the Delta COVID-19 variant are on the rise in the province, according to an independent modelling group in B.C.

The group says cases of all COVID-19 variants went down from April to May, except for the Delta variant.

Eric Cytrynbaum, a researcher and associate professor of Mathematics at UBC, says “there’s some evidence that it’s a bit better at circumventing vaccination first dose, more so than second dose.”

Cytrynbaum says it is hard to know the effectiveness of vaccines against the variant in B.C. because studies are using a different dosing schedule than the province.

Read More: B.C. pharmacies prepare to ramp up COVID vaccine rollout, as cases decline

“It poses a serious risk, with a potential five to 10 per cent per day increase in spread,” he says. “It’s growth advantage looks like it’s nearly double the advantage that B.1.1.7, or Alpha, had over the original virus, which is a significant shift.”

However, when asked about the Delta variant on Thursday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said they are not seeing it replace the more common variants.

“No matter what strain of the virus that we’re seeing, the measures that we take to reduce transmission are the same, and they work,” Henry said.

Henry added the variant has been transmitted in a number of clusters, with one outbreak at a care home.