Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)

Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)

COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

Epidemiologists at Simon Fraser University are forecasting an “unmanageable” spike of B.C. COVID-19 cases in B.C. if the U.K. variant’s spread isn’t contained.

In a report issued Monday (Jan. 26), Elisha Are and Caroline Colijn examined transmission rates linked to the B117 strain of the virus, which has led to six confirmed cases in B.C.

The modelling predicted a doubling of new COVID-19 cases every one to two weeks – a transmission rate “likely not contained with measures we have in place today,” the report indicates.

Adding that, “failure to prevent or contain this now spells disaster in March.”

READ MORE: B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Researchers concluded their findings with a callout to federal and provincial governments to restrict travel by narrowing what is defined as essential travel in the country.

The researchers also reccommend improved measures for detection of the B117 variant in travellers.

“We could use vaccination as one of the tools in the transmission toolkit, for example by vaccinating truckers who need to cross the Canada/U.S. border,” the report reads.

This comes as the U.K. variant is believed to be 40 per cent more transmissible than the COVID-19 strain circulating in Canada today.



sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

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