Covid-19 #2: 2022, Omicron

Table of Contents


This Post

This post was written over a few months from late August 2022 to December 2022, was first published in October, and revised. It follows an earlier post, Covid-19 #1: Covid-19 wanes, Omicron Rises.

Omicron evolved

Omicron, Pango lineage B.1.1.529, was recognized as a variant of concern of Covid-19 by the WHO in November 2021. The illness caused by Omicron and its subvariants is milder than the SARS caused by the original Covid-19 virus. It is severe, or fatal for some people.

By the end of September, 2022, reports and studies of variants in the Omicron lineage that infect vaccinated persons and persons who have been infected were being published: BA.2.75.2, BA.5, BQ.1, BQ.1.1, BA.2.10.4, BA.4.6. (See Papers discussing). In the last months of 2022 there were reports of another Omicron sub-variant line known as XBB. The sub-variants are the most antibody-evasive strains tested.


British Columbia replaced daily reporting of Covid-19 statistics in April 2022. BC reported the weekly reports of the BC Centre for Disease Control (“BCCDC”; an agency of the BC government) every Thursday, and CBC BC reported the reports within a day. I listed the CBC BC News weekly reports April to late August. 2022 in Covid-19 #1: Covid-19 wanes, Omicron Rises.

Stories about a vaccination booster program began to appear in August & September. Some of the weekly articles about the weekly reports were not in RSS feed for CBC BC News or in the BC section pages of CBC News, and had to be backdated.

All dates are in 2022.

Section, byline
Article name
August 25CBC, News, BC Number of people in B.C. hospitals with COVID-19 down almost 10 per cent
Sept. 1CBC, News, BC
Jon Azpiri
Downward trend continues as COVID-19 hospitalizations fall 7.5 per cent in 1 week
Section: Omicron vaccine coming to B.C.
Sept. 6CBC, News, BC
BC News,
Ready for a boost? What you need to know about B.C.’s fall COVID-19 vaccination program
Sept. 6CBC, News, BC
Karin Larsen
B.C.’s COVID-19 fall booster program begins rolling out next week. Here’s what you need to know
Sept. 8CBC, News, BC
Josh Grant
COVID-19 hospitalizations up slightly in B.C. after 4-week decline
Sept. 15CBC, News, BC
Jon Azpiri
B.C. COVID-19 hospital numbers continue to drop
Section: Vaccination requirements remain in place for health-care workers
Sept. 22CBC, News, BC Slow decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. continues
Section: Fall booster campaign underway
Sept. 28CBC, News, BC Health officials offer free flu shots to dampen potential fall influenza and COVID-19 surge
Sept. 29CBC, News, BC COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. begin to rise as province braces for early flu season
Oct. 6CBC, News, BC COVID-19 hospitalizations inch up in B.C.
Oct. 7CBC, Situation Critical,
Jon Hernandez
Amid ambulance shortage, unvaccinated B.C. medics say they want to get back to work
Oct. 13CBC, News, BC COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. dip slightly while ICU numbers drop by a 3rd
Oct. 16 CBC, News, BC
Akshay Kulkarni
Modelling group says B.C.’s underreporting of COVID-19 data makes personal risk assessment harder
Oct. 20CBC, News, BC COVID-19 hospitalizations and critical care numbers increase in B.C.
Oct. 25CBC, News, BC B.C. Health Minister defends Dr. Bonnie Henry in legislature over response to COVID-19 transmission in schools
Emails show Dr. Bonnie Henry sought data to fit a narrative, says leader of B.C. Greens
Oct. 27CBC, News, BC B.C. COVID-19 hospitalizations drop sharply while ICU numbers remain level
Nov. 3CBC, News, BC B.C. COVID-19 hospitalizations down slightly as ICU numbers rise
Nov. 10CBC, News, BC B.C. COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU numbers remain stable
Nov. 14CBC, News, BC
Chad Pawson
B.C. health officials encourage mask-wearing, getting shots as respiratory illnesses surge (including RSV, “ordinary” flu)
Nov. 15CBC, News, BC
Michelle Gomez, Jon Azperi
More protection from respiratory viruses needed in classrooms, B.C. parents and advocates say
Nov. 16CBC, News, BC
Karin Larsen
B.C. health officials say mask mandate not needed amid surge of respiratory illness
Nov. 17CBC, News, BC COVID-19 hospitalizations up slightly in B.C., according to latest weekly numbers
Nov. 19CBC, News, BC
Akshay Kulkarni
Move to drop mandatory self-isolation for COVID-positive people is concerning, says health policy expert
Nov. 20CBC, News, BC
Akshay Kulkarni
B.C. doesn’t provide counts of COVID-19 reinfections. Some experts say that’s a problem
Nov. 24CBC, News, BC B.C. COVID-19 hospitalizations steady as critical care numbers increase
Nov. 24CBC, News, BC B.C. ready to cancel surgeries as respiratory cases flood overcrowded hospitals
Dec. 2CBC, News, BC COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. slowly rise
Dec. 7CBC, News, BC
Michelle Ghoussoob
B.C. records 5 influenza deaths in children in November as doctors warn of surging cases
Dec. 8CBC, News, BC B.C. promises weekly updates on flu deaths as 6 children confirmed dead this fall
Dec. 9CBC, News, BC B.C. launches flu vaccination blitz after deaths of 6 children and youth
Dec. 9CBC, News, BC Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in B.C. dip slightly, with 17 more deaths reported
Dec. 12CBC – CP
BC News
B.C. Children’s Hospital prepared to double-bunk patients amid spike in respiratory illness
Dec. 14CBC, News, BC
Jason Proctor
Lawyer challenging B.C. COVID-19 orders says class action could result in 3 million claims
Dec. 15CBC, News, BC B.C. sees slight increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations and 27 new deaths
Dec. 15CBC, News, BC Database of British Columbians’ personal health information is ‘disturbingly’ vulnerable: privacy watchdog
Dec. 16CBC, News, BC
Jason Proctor
B.C. Court of Appeal sides with provincial health officer over COVID-19 restrictions on churches
Beaudoin v. British Columbia (Attorney General), 2022 BCCA 427
Dec. 23CBC, News, BC B.C. sees slight decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations
Dec. 29CBC, News, BC
Akshay Kulkarni
2022 was the deadliest year of the COVID-19 pandemic in B.C. What’s next?


Canadian national covid and vaccine stories. All dates are in 2022:

DateSource, Section,
Article name
August 26CBC, News,
Jessica Wong (Toronto)
Universities, colleges taking varied approaches to COVID-19 as students set to return to campus
August 26CBC, News
Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table to dissolve next month
Sept. 1CBC, News, Politics,
Nick Boisvert
Health Canada approves updated Moderna vaccine for Omicron variant
Sept. 2CBC, News, Business,
Sophia Harris
Many Americans still aren’t coming to Canada. Is the ArriveCAN app to blame?
Sept. 2CBC, News,
Liam Casey (Toronto)
‘Not a way to handle the pandemic’: Science table members disagree with scrapping 5-day COVID-19 isolation
Sept. 3CBC Health – Second Opinion,
Adam Miller
What protection to expect from updated COVID vaccines this fall
Sept. 9CBC, News
Ontario receives 1st doses of bivalent COVID vaccines, reports 74 more deaths linked to virus
Sept. 10CBC Health – Second Opinion,
Stephanie Dubois
Bivalent COVID vaccines are here. What happens to the existing vaccines?
Sept. 12CBC, News
Ontario opens appointments for new bivalent COVID-19 booster shots to all adults
Sept. 14CBC Health – Second Opinion,
Adam Miller
Majority of Canadians have now caught COVID — so what does that mean for the future? 
Sept. 17CBC Health – Second Opinion,
Lauren Pelley
For virus tracking, wastewater is liquid gold. Scientists hope that work isn’t flushed away
Sept. 25CBC, News,
Isha Bhargava (London)
Judge rejects attempt by 5 Western University students to block COVID booster mandate
Sept. 26CBC, News, Politics, Border vaccine rules, mandatory use of ArriveCAN, mask mandates on planes, trains end Oct. 1
Sept. 27CBC Health,
Mike Crawley
Hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 antivirals are sitting on shelves across Canada
Sept. 29CBC, Ask CBC,
Ania Bessonov, Kajal Mangesh Pawar,
Catherine Achu Koshy
What you need to know about the bivalent booster shots
Oct. 1CBC Health – Second Opinion,
Adam Miller
New Omicron strains on the horizon could drive future COVID waves
Oct. 14CBC,Analysis,
Jason Markusoff (Calgary)
Danielle Smith wants vaccine status to be a human right. Expect a petri dish of problems
” … new Premier Danielle Smith’s remarks that the unvaccinated have been more discriminated against than any other group in the last half century”
Oct. 14CBC, Politics,
Lee Bethiaume
Military eases vaccine mandate, presses ahead with discipline for unvaccinated troops
Oct. 18CBC. News, New BrunswickCOVID-19 kills 4 more in N.B., 44% increase in sick health-care workers, new subvariant found
Oct. 20CBC, News, (Toronto)Ontario reports 109 new COVID-19 deaths, a number not seen since May
Oct. 22CBC Health – Second Opinion,
Adam Miller
New immune-evasive Omicron strains are coming. Is Canada ready?
Nov. 2CBC Heath, Lauren PelleyHundreds of Canadians are still dying of COVID-19 every week. Who are they?
Nov. 4CBC, News,
Patrick Swadden (Toronto)
Primary care doctors should resume in-person visits to take pressure off ERs, experts say
Nov. 5CBC, News – Analysis,
Alistair Steele (Ottawa)
9 months later, convoy organizers express little sympathy for downtown dwellers
Nov. 8CBC,
Julia Wong (Edmonton)
Less than 7% of Canadian kids 5 and younger have gotten a COVID vaccine
Nov. 14CBC,
Michelle Bellefontaine (Edmonton)
Premier Danielle Smith rules out mask mandates despite widespread school illness
Nov. 14CBC, Canada – Analysis
Laura McQuillen
Ontario’s government is ‘strongly’ recommending masks indoors. Why stop short of a mandate?
Nov. 14CBC, Opinion
Lorian Hardcastle, Ubaka Ogbogu
Alberta’s new chief medical officer must be independent, not sidelined
Nov. 16CBC Health – Analysis Lauren PelleyKids are getting hit hard by respiratory viruses. Here’s what scientists know — and what they don’t
Nov. 17CBC Edmonton, Janet FrenchPremier Danielle Smith fires Alberta Health Services board, appoints administrator
Nov. 18CBC Health – Second Opinion
Adam Miller
Why mask mandates likely wouldn’t solve the crisis in children’s hospitals
Nov. 24CBC,
Janet French (Edmonton)
Alberta government bans school mask mandates, online-only learning
Dec. 9CBC Health – Second Opinion
Adam Miller
Omicron completely changed the pandemic. Are we prepared for what’s next?
Dec. 18CBC Health,
Mike Crawley
Children are dying from flu. Some provinces are slow to report it — and these experts say that’s dangerous
Dec. 31CBC PoliticsTravellers from China to Canada will require proof of negative COVID-19 test as cases surge

US, China, World Economic News

Public health medicine and policy, lockdowns, supply chains, late 2022 protests about government policy in China, end of mandates in China, and the Omicron surge in China:

DateSource, Section
Article name
Sept. 9Atlantic, Global,
Michael Schuman
Zero COVID Has Outlived Its Usefulness. Here’s Why China Is Still Enforcing It
Sept. 14CBC-Reuters, World Worldwide deaths from COVID-19 last week lowest since March 2020: WHO
Oct. 26CBC-AP, World China begins deploying COVID-19 booster vaccine administered orally
Nov. 2Guardian, China;
Verna Wu
Supply fears as China lockdown hits world’s largest iPhone factory
Nov. 7Guardian, Apple
Staff & Agencies
Apple warns iPhone shipments will be delayed due to Covid restrictions at Foxconn plant
Nov. 8CBC-AP, WorldChinese social media scrubbed of reports of pandemic-related arrests
Nov. 23CBC-Reuters, BusinessViolent protests erupt at iPhone factory in Zhengzhou amid pay complaints and COVID-19 containment measures
Nov. 24CBC-AP, World Beijing in lockdown as China hits COVID-19 case record
Nov. 25CBC-AP, World Beijing’s COVID-19 measures fuel demand for food, other supplies
Nov. 27CBC-Reuters, WorldProtesters call for Xi to resign amid unprecedented unrest over China’s COVID-19 measures
Nov. 28CBC-Reuters, WorldChinese police search people’s phones after anti-lockdown protests erupt across country
Nov. 28UnHerd
Bill Hayton
Will China’s anti-lockdown protestors succeed?
Nov. 28Interconnected
Kevin Xu
Covid Zero and Its Ironies
Nov. 29CBC-AP, World
– Explainer
Just how strict are China’s COVID-19 rules?
Nov. 29CBC-Reuters, WorldChinese authorities seek out protesters to explain themselves
Dec. 1CBC, World, Analysis
Sasa Petricic
The Xi dilemma: China’s instability and a zero-COVID trap
Dec. 1CBC-AP, World China eases some anti-virus restrictions amid public anger
Dec. 7CBC-Reuters, WorldChina announces rollback of strict anti-COVID-19 measures that sparked historic protests
Dec. 13CBC-Reuters, Health
‘Zero-COVID’ exit ‘tough’ for China, WHO says
Dec. 17CBC-AP, World COVID-19 cases surge in Beijing after China eases virus rules
Dec. 18CBC-Reuters, WorldChina battles 1st wave of COVID-19 surge as wider spread looms
Dec. 26CBC-AP, World
Dake Kang
Some hospitals in China overwhelmed in national COVID-19 wave
Dec. 29CBC-AP, Health
Ken Moritsugu, Huizhong Wu
Lack of information on China’s COVID-19 surge stirs global concern

Economics, Health, Rights, and Wishes

At large:

DateSource, Section, BylineArticle name
May 24MedPage Today
Special Reports, Kristina Fiore
When Will We Know if COVID Is Seasonal?
August 31MedPage Today
Special Reports, Kristina Fiore
Here’s What to Know About Fall COVID Boosters
Sept. 26Atlantic
Health, Katherine Wu
When’s the Perfect Time to Get a Flu Shot?
Sept. 30Atlantic
Health, Ed Yong
All of This Will Happen Again
Oct. 11Atlantic
Health, Benjamin Mazer
Medium COVID Could Be the Most Dangerous COVID
Oct. 17Atlantic
Health, Betsy Ladyzhets
The COVID Data That Are Actually Useful Now
Oct. 21Atlantic
Health, Katherine Wu
The Bivalent Shot Might Lay You Out
Oct. 28Pro Publica & Vanity Fair
Katherine Eban, Jeff Kao
COVID-19 Origins: Investigating a “Complex and Grave Situation” Inside a Wuhan Lab
Nov. 10Atlantic
Health, Katherine Wu
Will We Get Omicron’d Again?
Nov. 29UnHerd
Thomas Fazi
The birth of the biostate
Dec. 1UnHerd
N.S. Lyons
How we appeased China’s Zero-Covid regime
Dec. 26CBC
Amina Zafar
The virus behind COVID-19 is mutating and immune-evasive. Here’s what that means
Jan. 4
NY Times, Newletter, Opinion
(paywalled 1 bypass possible. )
David Wallace-Wells
9 Pandemic Narratives We’re Getting Wrong

BC, Fall 2022


The BC government made announcements to the press about boosters in July 2022 and again on September 6. Booster appointments were not offered until after Sept. 14. BC began to offer appointments for boosters to adults, including seniors less than 70 years old, in late September 2022. Vaccines appointments for adults were offered mainly at pharmacies, and not at public temporary clinics. The boosters offered in BC in late 2022 are bivalent Moderna, presented as effective to provide:

  • protection from infection
    • with the original Covid-19 virus lineage;
    • with Omicron variant BA.1 (aka BA-1).
  • lower risk of serious symptoms when vaccinated persons are infected with the original Covid-19 lineage and some of the virulent variants of concern (including Alpha & Delta).

The thinking of the BCCDC in the first half of 2022 was dominated by the observations that

  • there were no vaccines for children;
  • the original viruses and the main variants did not cause serious symptoms in children;
  • keeping schools closed kept parents from working.

Schools were reopened but the progress in vaccinating children was slow.

Government thinking shifted to the view that children appeared to be the most infected and least vaccinated, while elderly adults were the most vaccinated and least infected. The implied assumption is that elderly adults would not be exposed to the circulating variants in the summer and could be boosted later.

There was some hand-wringing among BC public health figures about the fact that large numbers of adults are declining to vaccinate or boost, or to vaccinate their own children.

In November 2022 the health care crisises in BC, and throughout North America, was a rise in seasonal respiratory illnesses – respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and the latest annual influenza, and short supplies of some medications. Journalists added up numbers at the end of 2022.

No Fear

People began acting as if the SARS disease has vanished and been replaced by a mild flu. People in BC have largely given up wearing masks or paying attention to social distancing.

A large part of the public wants the government and public health professionals to remove mandates. A large part of the public wants to be cared for in the event of illness.

The government treated Covid-19 or Omicron as a minor illness through the spring and summer of 2022.

The government treats the illness as a treatable illness that can be managed by providing health care including hospitalization and intensive care. The public authorities have given the public months of relief from masking, social distancing and other public health measures. Public heath mandates have been dismantled except in health care locations – hospitals, testing and diagnostic services and medical offices.

The government viewed vaccine hesitation as a source of discontent with governance, and has largely tolerated the resistance to mandates.

Health care professionals agree that the illness is treatable in most cases. Health care practitioners are unhappy about working conditions, pay and policy.

The BC Emergency Medical Services Commission, an agency funded and controlled by the Ministry of Health, fired dozens of Ambulance drivers and paramedics who refused to get vaccinated. The workers are demanding reinstatement and other remedies in labour arbitration. They seek public sympathy for immediate reinstatement, reasoning is that “we are on the tail end [of the pandemic] and we’re still not able to work if we’re not vaccinated.”

The number of deaths caused by Covid-19 in BC has increased year by year since the epidemic reached BC. The original virus and several virulent variants have disappeared, but the illness is still fatal.

YearPublic Health measuresDeaths by COVID
2020Lockdowns, non medical interventions901
2021Vaccinations available and widely taken, mandates, mixture of non medical interventions1,522
2022Vaccinations + mandates, mixture of non medical interventions, decreasing through the year2,283*
New definition
of cause

BC. like the USA, had a period shelter in place (weak lockdown) directives in 2020, followed by a relaxing of measures. BC may have some done somewhat better than the USA but had the same pattern of escalating numbers of deaths as the highly infectious Omicron variants evolved and infected more people. Public policy, in theory, was directed at providing focussed (specialized) protection to the vulnerable but the focussed advice and support was not delivered.

Waste Water

Testing of samples taken from waste water (sewage) was developed in California in 2020. In September 2020 the US Center for Disease Control started a US National Wastewater Surveillance System.

Wastewater samples provided data on active cases as testing of samples in provincial labs declined. The media began to including a few lines on virus detected in wastewater at some treatment plants in reports of the weekly provincial covid numbers. The waste water reports demonstrate that the variants are circulating in the areas served by the plants. Since individual tests are underreported or not reported, public heath analysis is resorting to surveys and questionnaires to gather data about a disease circulating in the community.

It is not clear when Canadian and BC public health authorities started to take and test samples, and began to rely on this method as the main public health tool to dictate policy and advice.


One response to “Covid-19 #2: 2022, Omicron”

  1. […] Covid-19 # 2: 2022, Omicron. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *