B.C.'s COVID-19 modellers 'cautiously optimistic' fourth wave is in decline
The next three weeks should see COVID-19 cases gradually decline in all regions of the province, according to projections from the B.C. COVID-19 modelling group, which is made up of professors from several top universities.
“Approximately right now we are declining at a rate of two per cent a day. That’s not very fast, but if you look at it over a period of many weeks, that will get us down to much more reasonable levels of infections,” said University of Victoria professor and modelling group member Dean Karlen.
The case numbers are projected to drop across all regions, albeit much less dramatically in Northern Health.
“So we are not seeing rapid growth in some places and rapid declines in others that are balancing out. It’s either steady or declining in all health regions across B.C., so that’s a good sign,” said SFU professor and fellow modelling group member Caroline Colijn.
The projections include a modest drop in hospitalizations and ICU admissions. But they’re only looking at the next three weeks.
“The past has demonstrated that our projections are reliable out to that kind of a time period, but beyond that, things can dramatically change,” said Karlen.
Some highly vaccinated European countries are experiencing a dramatic change in their COVID-19 numbers.
“Something has happened over the last few weeks that has caused so many countries to change from where we were - a slow decline - to a very rapid growth in COVID once again,” said Karlen. “We have to remain vigilant and realize a similar situation could happen in B.C.”
British Columbia’s vaccination rate, now just shy of 90 per cent for first doses among the eligible population, should help prevent a resurgence. But Colijn believes we need to be careful.
“I think we should still be on guard, because selection will be favouring new viruses that can get into immunized individuals,” she said.
While both Colijn and Karlen describe themselves as “cautiously optimistic” that the worst of B.C’s the fourth wave is behind us, Karlen warns "if we get overly optimistic we lower our guard, and you know what happens.”