“We are very concerned that variants are becoming an increasing proportion of cases,” said Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, begging Canadians not to come together in person with those living in other households.
Cases of coronavirus and hospitalization fell sharply and reached a high level since the peak in January, but the trend was reversed, even when vaccination is performed. The seven-day average of cases climbed to 5,086 on March 31, up 40 percent from the previous week and 72 percent from the beginning of the month, according to data from the Canadian Public Health Agency.
Other worrying trends are spreading. The number of variant cases in the country on March 31 was 70 percent higher than the previous week. British Columbia recorded the largest number of daily cases this week. Ontario has never had more patients with coronavirus in intensive care.
Across the country, public health officials and infectious disease experts report that patients hospitalized with more serious illnesses are younger than during previous surges. The age of infected younger people varies across the country, but they are generally younger than 60 years.
“As new variants spread, you’ll see covid-19 kill faster and younger,” Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of a panel of scientists advising Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford, said on Thursday as he introduced the new ones. modeling for the province. “It’s spreading much faster than it was before and we can’t vaccinate fast enough to break through this third wave.”
Alyson Kelvin, a virologist with the University of Saskatchewan Infectious Diseases Organization, said young people could replace the old ones in hospitals because many older people who were once most at risk were vaccinated, and young people are key workers and variants cause more serious disease.
“Variants are played by different rules,” she said.
British Colombia, which previously praised its treatment of the pandemic, announced on Monday that it would close closed lunches in bars and restaurants, worship services and group classes in fitness for three weeks. Bonnie Henry, a provincial health officer, said the variants sparked the wave.
The closure of the Whistler Blackcomb ski area was also ordered. Officials said it was the place A “worrying” set of cases of variant P.1, first identified in Brazil. About 83 percent of the cases in Whistler were people of age 20 to 39, according to figures from Vancouver Coastal Health.
Quebec this week imposed strict restrictions in several areas that have recently eased restrictions, including closing schools, theaters, gyms, hair salons and irrelevant businesses for 10 days. Officials withdrew curfew at 9:30 p.m. in those areas until 8 p.m., and imposed capacity restrictions on places of worship.
“People basically have to stay home unless they absolutely need to go to work,” Quebec Prime Minister François Legault said.
In neighboring Ontario, Ford revoked an order to stay at home for much of the province in February, despite warnings from panels advising it it would lead to an increase in the number of cases. On Thursday, he withdrew what he called an “emergency brake” throughout the province, closing the indoor and outdoor dining rooms and imposing capacity restrictions on businesses, weddings and funerals.
The restrictions are less stringent than those implemented by the province in December, and included the closure of irrelevant businesses and schools.
Brown, who is also the dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, painted a gloomy picture of the tense intensive care units in the province based on what he heard from first-line health workers.
“Whole families are now showing up in intensive care,” he said. “We have to separate families in ambulances and helicopters and move them to other regions that have a spare bed. … [One] the family eventually spread between three cities to three different hospitals and they all died. “
Laveena Munshi, a critical care physician at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, said many patients at her hospital’s ICU are essential workers. She said they are often from low socioeconomic backgrounds and worry that they might miss out on salaries if they have to stay home to get tested or if they feel bad.
Munshi, who is also part of a panel advising the government, said the new restrictions in Ontario are unlikely to do much to break those transmission chains.
“The pandemic has really exposed the main inequalities that already existed in our health system,” she said. “A measure like paid sick leave is really something we would hope the government would consider hiring.”
Canadian coronavirus trends mirror those seen elsewhere, including parts of the United States and several European countries, where cases have also risen sharply, hospitals are under pressure and governments are imposing new restrictions on social gatherings, businesses and schools.
Canadian vaccine introduction has begun slowly, partly hampered by a lack of domestic vaccine production capacity and delays in importing doses from abroad. It has accelerated in recent weeks, but Canada is still lagging behind many of its peers.
As of April 1, Canada was giving 15.6 doses per 100 people, according to Our World magazine at Oxford University, about a third of the number in the United States. Less than 2 percent of people in Canada are fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
In Alberta, which has delayed moving to the next phase of a reopening plan amid a growing number of cases, Prime Minister Jason Kenney said this week that “in the race between vaccines and covid-19 variants, variants are winning.”
The introduction had bright spots, especially in long-term care homes, which were a priority for vaccines after they were destroyed by attacks that were responsible for at least 69 percent of deaths from the Canadian Canadian virus, according to report Canadian Institute of Health Information.
Data from Ontario last month showed that vaccination was taking place reduced the relative risk of infection and death code of the population these facilities are estimated at 89 and 96 percent, respectively, compared to a control group of unvaccinated elderly living outside these settings. Other areas reported similar findings.
“It’s discouraging to have so few vaccines and so little coverage,” Kelvin said. “But we’re going through the vaccine ramp right now … so I hope we can get some kind of retention in the near future.”