COVID-19 exposure growing fastest in Prairies but herd immunity far off: study

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“In Alberta, it’s really reflecting what you’re seeing as cases have gone up pretty dramatically,” said Dr. Catherine Hankins, co-chair of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force.

“At times, Alberta has had the highest number of cases per capita.”

In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, that antibody presence increased by five times since May.

Even so, the overall numbers remain low and point to a reality that should dispel any notion that Canada’s 38 million people are on their way to so-called herd immunity among a supposedly heavily asymptomatic population, she said.

“It tells us so many people are still vulnerable,” said Hankins.

“There are people who say, ‘I must have had it by now.’ Well, no.”

That means Canadians must remain vigilant in their daily protective practices while hoping vaccines — facing disruptedsupplies — ultimately roll out quickly and efficiently, she said.

“What these numbers also tell us is Canadians have been really good at trying to keep that down,” said Hankins, adding the arrival of new, more infectious variants of the virus have added urgency to that.

“The broader issue is to get people to stop transmission or we’re going to start creating our own variants.”

On Monday, the province announced one variant case not traced to travel.

Despite a major, weeks-long delay in delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Hankins remains optimistic the country is on the right track and should be assisted with Canada’s approval of the AstraZeneca version and others.

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