The US government’s top infectious disease expert says a new variant of the coronavirus appears to cause less serious infections. But Dr. Anthony Fauci says early evidence suggests Omicron is more easily spread. He adds it might also be able to partly defeat current vaccines and even immunity from getting an earlier COVID strain. Fauci says cases of the Omicron variant are now documented in at least 25 US states.
50 Plus Can Book a Booster Today:
Ontarians 50 and older can start booking COVID-19 vaccine booster shots this morning, so long as it’s been six months since they received their second dose. The provincial vaccine booking portal will open for appointments at 8am. People can also book shots by phone, through local public health units using their own booking systems and at some pharmacies and primary care clinics. Booster eligibility will open up to all adults on January 4th.
We are taking additional measures to protect our progress as we head into the winter months.
Effective January 4, 2022 Ontarians must use the enhanced vaccine certificate with QR code in settings where proof of vaccination is required.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) December 12, 2021
New Poll On Vaccination:
A new survey suggests 40 per cent of Canadians know someone who is not vaccinated against COVID-19. A poll done earlier this month by Leger for the Association for Canadian Studies found four in 10 respondents had a friend or family member who is unvaccinated. But 70 per cent of respondents also said they don’t discuss the issue with them. Half of them said they’ve given up trying to persuade unvaxxed friends and family to get COVID shots. Ten per cent said they’d unfriended someone who has not been vaccinated against COVID-19.
CMO Says Omicron Will Become The Dominant Strand:
The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is on track to become the dominant strain of the virus in Ontario within a matter of weeks. This according to the province’s chief medical officer of health, Doctor Kieran Moore. He says Omicron currently accounts for about 10 per cent of new cases, and that number will likely climb to 20 per cent in the coming days. Moore says Omicron will likely take over completely from the Delta variant in early January.
Moore Says to Keep Holiday Gatherings Small:
The provincial government is urging everyone to keep their gatherings small over the winter holidays. The province’s top doctor says he wants to keep Christmas from becoming a super-spreader event. Doctor Kieran Moore is recommending people shrink their gatherings, and plan to gather less frequently, due to the rapid spread of COVID-19. But the province is not currently planning on bringing in any new public health restrictions.
Queen’s Cancels In-Person Exams:
Queen’s University won’t be holding in-person exams this month. The school says exams will be changed to an alternative delivery format, and those that must be done in person will be postponed until the new year. The university initially said students who were concerned about the local COVID-19 situation could choose to defer their exams. The changes come after the school confirmed a virus outbreak in the student community, and after the local health unit announced a case of the Omicron variant not linked to travel.
Ontario reported eight more deaths linked to COVID-19 yesterday. It also reported 1,476 new cases of the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott says 612 of the new cases are among people who aren’t fully vaccinated, while 93 people have an unknown immunization status. The province says 158 patients are in intensive care due to COVID-19, including 96 people on ventilators.
In Ontario, 24,449,726 vaccine doses have been administered. 90.3% of Ontarians 12+ have one dose and 87.6% have two doses.
222 people are hospitalized with #COVID19, and 158 people are in ICU due to COVID-19. Please note that not all hospitals report on weekends.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) December 12, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Public Health of Waterloo Region and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health have not yet elected to provide weekend numbers. The entire weekend’s numbers will be released later today.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CBC News via YouTube