Tracking omicron: Canadian scientists race to understand new variant – CBC

Key questions remain unanswered as omicron cases emerge across Canada

Dec 08, 2021

Canadian scientists are racing to understand more about the threat of the omicron variant — how fast it spreads, whether it causes more or less severe illness, and if it can escape previous immunity to COVID-19 — but it could take weeks before a full picture emerges.

There have been dozens of suspected and confirmed cases of omicron reported throughout Canada in recent days, but several have no known link to international travel and have prompted concerns the variant could already be driving outbreaks here.

Health officials in London, Ont., confirmed omicron is now linked to a cluster of at least 40 COVID-19 cases in the city associated with schools, child care centres and a church, with 171 high-risk close contacts identified.

And countries such as South Africa, Denmark and England are already reporting widespread community transmission of the variant, with growing evidence that omicron was already spreading in Europe before it was identified by researchers in southern Africa.

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