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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Omicron wave appears to be cresting across the country, as well as in the Peace region, but experts say it’s difficult to tell what the future of the pandemic will bring.

Prof. Bernard Crespi, an evolutionary biologist at Simon Fraser University, said the development of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 gives clues as to what might come.

The Omicron variant burned through susceptible populations, leaving a higher level of natural immunity, Crespi said in an interview.

It will be more difficult for the next variant to get a foothold in Canada because most people have immunity after being infected with Omicron, or they have been vaccinated, or a combination of both, Crespi said.

“All else being equal, the next variant and the next wave are more likely to be relatively mild.”

Crespi says scientists are unable to predict the next variant because it depends on random events, including its mutations and where they come from.

There’s always a possibility that some variant could come along that would spread like Omicron but end up worse, in terms of hospitalization and death, predominantly among the unvaccinated, he said.

Between January 16th – 22nd, Peace River North reported 105 cases of COVID-19, down from 205 cases between January 9th-15th.

As of February 2nd, Northern Health data shows that 83.2 per cent of FSJ residents over 12 have received their first dose, 77.3 per cent have received their second dose, and 26.8 per cent have received their third.

Children between the ages of 5-11 in FSJ, 22.1 per cent have received their first dose of vaccine

For Rural North Peace residents, 58.7 percent have received one dose, 55 per cent have received two doses and 20 per cent have received their third dose.

For residents in the Rural South Peace, 63.5 percent have received their first dose, 59.1 per cent have received a second dose, and 23.5 per cent have gotten a third dose.

 

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