Canada faces “very serious third wave” of pandemic: Trudeau | News on the coronavirus pandemic

Canada faces “a very serious third wave” of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday, as the country’s most populous province struggles to respond to rising infections and diseases. hospitalizations and the rapid spread of variants of the coronavirus.

At a press conference in Ottawa, Trudeau warned that hospitalizations were on the rise, intensive care units were filling up and coronavirus variants were spreading.

“Around the world, countries are facing a very serious third wave of this pandemic, just like Canada is right now,” he said.

“Even though the sun is shining and the weather warms, COVID-19 is not done with us yet.”

Canada has reported at least one million cases of COVID-19 and more than 23,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to a count from Johns Hopkins University.

A recent increase in cases and hospitalizations in several provinces, including the most populous Ontario and British Columbia on the west coast, has prompted calls for stricter public health measures to stem the spread of the virus.

Seniors sit in a waiting room after receiving their COVID-19 vaccine in Laval, Que., In February [File: Christinne Muschi/Reuters]

British Columbia health officials have reported cases involving the coronavirus variants first discovered in the UK, South Africa and Brazil.

“We know that this is largely the variant[s], and it seems to be a more transmissible strain and it also seems that people are getting sicker with some of these variants, ”said Dr Gerald Da Roza, chief of medicine at the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, Colombia -British, on CBC News.

“Some people say it’s the busiest we’ve been in 15 years,” he said.

Ontario crisis

Meanwhile, Trudeau told reporters he plans to speak to Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Tuesday.

Ontario has seen an increase in COVID-19 infections in recent weeks and imposed limited lockdowns over the weekend. On Tuesday, it reported 3,065 new cases, with the seven-day average for new infections reaching 2,862.

The situation has renewed pressure for the province to grant paid sick leave, as many workers deemed essential during the pandemic were unable to take time off when they were ill, which advocates say is fueling the spread of the virus.

André Picard, health columnist for the Globe and Mail newspaper, said the latest estimates from modeling data Ontario could see as many as 6,000 new COVID-19 infections per day – up from 2,500 currently – and 800 intensive care patients by the end of April.

Ford’s government has also faced widespread criticism for failing to administer COVID-19 vaccines promptly, despite large supplies and widespread demand.

Although Canada’s federal government approves and secures coronavirus vaccines, it is up to each province to set the rules for how vaccines are given and to whom.

Doctors in Ontario’s intensive care units last week urged the provincial government to impose tighter restrictions on coronaviruses as the number of cases soared [File: Carlos Osorio/Reuters]

CBC News reported that an average of 72,543 shots are administered in Ontario each day, despite the capacity to receive up to 150,000 gunshots. In total, the province had administered more than 2.6 million jabs Monday evening.

In a separate press conference on Tuesday, Ford said the province would expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, targeting people with underlying health conditions and their caregivers, as well as geographic hot spots that have experienced an increase in cases.

He also said Ontario was “finalizing plans to vaccinate workers in settings where we see outbreaks.”

“Last week I said we were in a fight with a new, rapidly evolving enemy. The game is changing and we need to change our response to stay ahead of this virus, ”said Ford.

Closed schools

The spread of the variants has raised concerns among doctors and other health care workers, who say young people are getting sicker and sicker and need to be hospitalized.

Last week, more than 150 intensive care physicians in Ontario wrote an open letter to the provincial government, urging it to put in place stricter public health measures to stem the spread of the virus – and new variants in it. particular.

“We are seeing younger patients on ventilators – many are parents of school-aged children. We see entire families coming together in our intensive care units. We take care of people who contracted COVID-19 at work, or who followed all the rules and only went out for groceries, ”they wrote.

“The impact of this virus has been disproportionate, infecting those most at risk, usually from low-income and racialized communities. Current measures and framework do not contain the spread of this virus. “

The situation also prompted a federation of high school teachers to ask Ford on Tuesday to order schools in areas where the number of cases has increased to immediately switch to distance learning.

The Toronto Star newspaper reported that all schools in Toronto – Canada’s largest city – would be closed from Wednesday due to the spike in infections.

A similar school closure was ordered Monday for the Region of Peel, an area that is home to about 1.5 million people west and northwest of Toronto, where students will have access to distance learning for at least two weeks.

“With the increase in the number of cases and the presence of worrisome variants, we must break the chains of transmission and keep our schools safe,” said Peel Region Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh. declaration.

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