New COVID-19 Subvariant Could Cause A 6th Wave In Alberta By May, According To A Biologist

"We will get to these numbers. There's no reason to think that we won't."

Calgary Staff Writer
A COVID-19 rapid test. Right: People walking in Jasper wearing masks.

A COVID-19 rapid test. Right: People walking in Jasper wearing masks.

An Alberta biologist is questioning the province's decision to lift "almost all" COVID-19 restrictions due to the emergence of a new subvariant.

The new subvariant, named BA.2, is a more contagious mutation of Omicron, and cases are "slowly increasing" in Alberta, according to the province's top doctor.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, said: "Over the past couple of months, we've seen that the proportion of our cases that are BA.2 is slowly increasing.

"We are still at less than half of our new detected cases that are BA.2. So, BA.1 is still our dominant strain in Alberta," she added.

However, Gosia Gasperowicz, a University of Calgary developmental biologist, said the subvariant could be an area of concern for Albertans as the province removed most of its public health restrictions around COVID-19 on March 1, including mask-wearing and a requirement to work from home.

Gasperowicz warned that based on an expected growth rate of 20 days for the virus, a sixth wave could happen in May or earlier.

Speaking to CTV Edmonton, she said: "At this rate of growth, around May 24 or earlier, we could have 2,000 daily cases, and then June 16 around 4,000 cases. It could be earlier or later.

"We will get to these numbers. There's no reason to think that we won't."

In a series of tweets, Gasperowicz urged Alberta's Premier Jason Kenney to "take necessary actions to prevent the sixth wave".

Gasperowicz said there are a number of ways the impact could be limited, including an educational campaign on the airborne transmission of the virus and on how people can protect themselves, a province-wide N95 mask mandate, a return of working from home rules, vaccine boosters, self-isolation and mass testing.

Alberta currently has 6,552 known active cases of COVID-19.

Charlie Hart
Calgary Staff Writer
Charlie Hart is a Staff Writer for Narcity Canada's Western Desk focused on Alberta news and is based in Calgary, Alberta.
Recommended For You
Loading...