All of the main pandemic indicators continued to increase over the past week. That was entirely predictable because of COVID’s intrinsic seasonality. The real rate of increasing in new cases is not yet reflected in our charts due to reporting delays but with schools now back in session, they are providing the virus with countless new opportunities for community transmission.  

The most reliable indicator in this week’s composite charts is municipal sewage viral counts, which were already climbing at an accelerating rate as of September 6. Unfortunately, the hospitalization and PCR test results could not be updated in time for this weekly blog because Ontario has radically changed its COVID reporting, which will require some days of effort to learn what can be salvaged and to redefine the data sets which underlie our charts. 

As illustrated by the bi-weekly US CDC chart, the virus continues to spawn more mutations at an increasingly rapid pace. All of the currently widespread variants are XBB variants, but none of them are anywhere close to achieving dominance. The single most widespread variant remains EG.5 at just under 25% but its rate of increase Is stalling. It’s most likely competitor is one of its own progenies, HV.1, whose “market share” increased by 600% over the past eight weeks but still only represents a little over 8% of new US infections. This strain provides a good example of the sheer speed at which XBB is differentiating, being a third generation offspring (XBB->XBB1.9.2->EG.5->HV.1).