While some of the latest official statistics are at least somewhat indicative of a continuing, moderate, decline in new COVID infections, the rate of improvement this past week appears to have been increasingly tepid. 

The most-recent two-week estimate of Ontario municipal wastewater PCR viral counts in this week’s composite chart continues to show a decline, but it is certainly flattening out. Ontario PCR test positivity rates also continue to display a modest declining trend, but on the basis of a sharp reduction in the number of tests administered. The overall Canadian rates of COVID hospitalizations and ICU bed occupancy have definitely plateaued. 

Unfortunately, the more independent COVID-19 Resources Canada Hazard Index was not updated this past week. As of the week ending March 2, the estimate remained one in every 52 Ontarians being infectious. 

The most recent Centers for Disease Control data on the spread of new COVID variants in the USA continues to show the BA.2-derived JN.1 lineage to be utterly dominant, accounting for 98% of all new infections. JN.1 itself peaked at the end of February and is now marginally lower. The fastest-spreading strain is currently its JN.1.13 derivative. While currently accounting for just under 10% of new cases, that is nearly 12 times that new variant’s prevalence 6 weeks ago.