A modelling group is offering a glimmer of optimism as British Columbia deals with variants of COVID-19. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Hannah A. Bullock, Azaibi Tamin)

A modelling group is offering a glimmer of optimism as British Columbia deals with variants of COVID-19. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Hannah A. Bullock, Azaibi Tamin)

COVID-19 modelling shows B.C. bending the curve of variant cases

Projections show a 30 to 40% decline in transmission rates since March, according to researchers from UBC and SFU

A group of modelling experts says British Columbia is managing to suppress infections that have been driven by COVID-19 variants.

The group of researchers from the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences says projections showing a 30 to 40 per cent decline in transmission rates since March.

Its figures show the dip reflects a combination of vaccinations in hot spots and tighter restrictions on activities, along with individual efforts to wear masks, wash hands and stay physically distant.

Data released by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control show presumptive variants of concern made up about 78 per cent of COVID-19 cases identified in the third week of April.

Although the curve is bending in B.C., the research group says hospitalizations and intensive care admissions will likely remain high through May because the variants first detected in the United Kingdom and Brazil have more severe symptoms.

The group says substantial levels of vaccination should be reached in B.C. by June, and that’s when careful relaxation of restrictions can begin.

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Coronavirus