2022-01-14 BC

Press Briefing

Today’s presser was more interesting than some recent ones (video, slides).

DrH presented some good evidence that cases are dropping. She said she thought we peaked last weekend.

Something I thought was interesting about this figure was they called out how VCH’s peak and London’s peaks were not pointy, saying it was because both places were maxxed out on testing. That, coupled with the decline suggests that testing is back to close to normal now. (It’s not a guarantee. People might still be avoiding getting tested. But it does mean that it is lower than at its peak.)

But! Even better! The wastewater surveillance says that the levels are on a downswing!

DrH said that Omicron was legit milder than Delta. Somewhat to my surprise, there are still a fair amount of Delta cases in hospital, and they are more severe:

(Note, however, that this was in December, and Omicron just might not have been enough time to incubate to get its patients into the ICU.)

Dr. H mentioned that they have seen an increase in the number of hospitalized kids (nine this week in under-5 and two in 5-11), but it’s been thankfully mild: none have gone to ICU and none have died. There has only been one case of a vaccinated child getting admitted to hospital.

Dr. Henry said that there’s a fair amount of Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) — one of the “common cold” viruses — out there right now. I thought she said there were more pediatric RSV hospitalizations than pediatric COVID cases, but I can’t find that now so I might have imagined it. She did say that the most severe outbreak in LTCH in the past month was an RSV, not a COVID-19.

They are changing how they report hospitalizations. What did they change? I have no f clue. I couldn’t figure it out. Maybe it has to do with counting by what HA the people are in vs. where they live, or vice versa. Maybe it has to do with counting all hospitalizations instead of not counting incidental COVID-19 (though I thought they were counting all COVID-19). Regardless, Dr. H warned that the count would go up. 🤷

From Jan 3-9, about 11% of health care workers were sick. This is roughly double what it was at the same week in 2020 or 2021. Hospitals are noticing. 🙁

Transmission Calculations

From UK data, the Case Hospitalization Rate (CHR) for Omicron is about a third that of Delta. If BC’s Omicron CHR is about a third of the Delta CHR, then Omicron the hospital-bed-days ought to be about 17% of the Delta hospital-bed-days (from the data above which says stays are half the length). The Delta case rate before Omicron hit was about 350 cases per day. Now, the official daily case count (which we know is too low) is about seven times higher, so effectively, the strain on hospitals ought to be about 1.2x as bad. Ulp.

The BC Data Modelling Group thinks that the actual case rate is ~5x higher than the official rate, which means that hospitalization strain would be 6x what it was in December. Ulp ulp ulp ulp ulp!

Caveat: CHR will be affected by (partial) immunity rate, which is not equivalent. They have ~77% of total population fully vaxxed, versus BC’s ~80%; they have almost 55% of the population boosted, vs. less than 30% in BC; they don’t vaccinate their kids; they have higher rates of infection-acquired immunity. All in all, the UK (partial) immunity will be slightly higher, so their CHR will probably be slightly lower than BC’s.

This is what Dr.H presented as a high-transmission scenario today:

I found the Q&A to be unenlightening today.


Today: +2,275 cases, +6 deaths, +3,032 first doses, +1,577 second doses, +59,876 other doses. 

Currently 646 in hospital / 95 in ICU, 35,943 active cases, 251,846 recovered.

Positivity rate of 16.8%.

first dosessecond dosesthird doses
of adults92.7%90.0%32.6%
of over-12s92.3%89.6%30.5%
of over-5s89.0%83.3%*
of all BCers86.6%81.0%27.7%


From the Federal Vaccine page, doses by age in BC over time:

From this Twitter thread: