Why Manitoba still hasn’t released modelling on the Delta variant

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is still working on its modelling for the Delta variant, saying it’s a time-consuming process that requires verification.

“There are a lot of variables to put in there, including some Manitoba-specific metrics as well,” said Dr. Jazz Atwal, deputy chief provincial public health officer, at a news conference on Monday.

“That model is still being worked on and once that model is available, it will be brought forth for Manitoba.”

Atwal noted it takes time to run these models, adding that the process involves hundreds of variables.

“It’s mathematical, even for a computer, it does take many days for it to run,” he said.

“Then you have to verify some of those findings, because one little mistake could have a tremendous impact on what the model does generate.”

The Delta variant, which was first identified in India at the end of 2020, is highly contagious. The strain is also spreading rapidly, with studies suggesting this is because it makes more copies of itself inside our bodies at a faster rate.

THE IMPORTANCE OF VACCINATIONS

Atwal said if people want to protect themselves, their families, and the acute-care system, they should get vaccinated.

He added that the COVID-19 vaccine reduces the risk of severe outcomes and transmission

“Really, [vaccinations] should be the focus right now,” Atwal said.

“I know from a modelling perspective as well. Models, it all depends on the input, and things could make that model look very different within a month’s time, including vaccine uptake, including maybe even a change in the virus.”

Atwal noted that Manitoba has not seen a recent jump in cases, even though people have been interacting more than before. However, he added, other jurisdictions have seen an increase in cases among their unvaccinated populations.

“The lessons being learned here are vaccinations are preventing cases, which is very important, which is what we are striving to do, and preventing those severe outcomes,” he said.

“We continue to need to focus on that as well. So again, once a model is ready and available for the public to see, we will provide that information to the public.”

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