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The most recent weekly official statistics provide further confirmation that winter’s seasonal surge in new COVID infections has peaked and, while that rate still remains very high, the numbers are likely to gradually decline in coming weeks.
The most reliable evidence for that ebbing of new infections is COVID viral counts as tested in municipal wastewater. As illustrated in our updated composite chart, COVID viral counts in Ontario’s municipal wastewater peaked around January 1 and then began to recede at roughly the same rate as they had risen. Note that the shaded zone represents predictions rather than hard data. The decline in PCR text positivity rates is likewise a good sign. Thus far, Canada’s COVID hospitalizations and ICU bed occupancy have plateaued rather than dropping. As a cautionary note to avoid over-optimism, COVID-19 Resources Canada still estimates that roughly one in 12 Ontarians currently have COVID infections and are therefore infectious.
Turning to the COVID variants causing all of those infections, by now mostly in people who had already come down with previous COVID bouts at least once, the latest Public Health Canada test results show that the new JN.1 lineage of non-XBB Omicron variants is the primary culprit. JN.1. its BA.2.86 parent strain and its even newer JN.2 cousin together account for has already soared to nearly 84% of current infections. With almost all Canadians enjoying some degree of immunity to infection, they almost by definition are the strains whose mutations give them more success that their competitors in evading that immunity.