July 13, 2021 | Dhu’l-Hijjah 3, 1442 AH
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Abundant Peace, Blessings and Salutations upon the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
As the pandemic continues, new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 continue to emerge due to mutations. The Alpha B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, was responsible for the third wave of the pandemic that we faced in Canada earlier this year.
The Delta and Kappa B.1.167 variants, first identified in India, are both responsible for over 100,000 deaths in India over the past few months and have since spread internationally. These variants are much more transmissible and may cause more severe illness than both the original and the Alpha B.1.1.7 variants.
These variants are currently causing new waves of infections in Israel and the United Kingdom, mostly amongst communities and individuals that are not vaccinated. These countries were also quick to lift many public health restrictions and have since reinstated them. These variants are spreading in most provinces across Canada and are expected to become the dominant strain in the coming weeks, likely triggering a 4th wave.
Although the symptoms of these new variants overlap with other common symptoms of COVID-19, most individuals will experience cold-like symptoms such as fever, headache, sore throat, runny nose or cough.
The vaccines approved in Canada have been shown to be generally effective in preventing severe illness due to these new variants. Although infections are still possible amongst fully vaccinated individuals, they will occur much more often in non-vaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals and cause more severe illness. You are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after receiving a second dose of any of the approved COVID-19 vaccines.
Enjoying a Safe Summer
While we are delighted to see restrictions being lifted so we can safely gather with friends and family, we must remain vigilant: safely gather with masks and physically distance within allowable limits, meet outdoors instead of indoors, quarantine if we have been exposed and isolate and get tested if we have symptoms.
Being fully vaccinated with 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines remains one of the most effective measures by which we can protect ourselves, enable economic recovery and further relax restrictions safely.
Organizations, businesses and institutions should continue investments in optimizing indoor ventilation and air quality to reduce the risk of spread and outbreaks, in preparation for the fall and winter.