Thursday, Feb 25, 2021
Focus on the big picture

Fears new variants can combine, creating hybrid mutations

CA, 18 Feb 2021
There’s a good news, bad news scenario playing out in Canada right now. The good news: Canada is making progress reducing the spread of the coronavirus. After peaking at nearly 8,000 new cases in January, infections have now fallen to below 3,000 per day. The bad news: highly-contagious new variants are gaining ground and have been detected in all 10 provinces.

In the span of two weeks, the number of active cases in N.L. has jumped from 14 to 338 with 44 new cases confirmed Wednesday. It’s believed the spike has been driven by the U.K. variant. As Ross Lord reports, the outbreak is having ripple effects across the province.

There is still lots of uncertainty about how the variants impact children and are transmitted inside schools. Students in parts of Ontario have recently returned to classrooms, and in Alberta, school has been in session for weeks and now nine of them are reporting a variant first discovered in the U.K. Heather Yourex-West looks at what it could mean in the weeks ahead.

Scientists are learning about these new variants in real-time and though there is much uncertainty, some evidence is emerging that two of them have combined to form a mutated hybrid. It’s not known if this hybrid poses a bigger threat, but as Eric Sorensen reports, it is a sign the virus is keeping a step ahead of us.


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