The World Forum - April 22nd, 2024

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Canada could soon surpass U.S. in number of COVID cases relative to population


A comparison of residents fully vaccinated is even starker: The U.S. has fully vaccinated 19% of its population, compared to 1.9% of the population in Canada.

In a reversal of earlier pandemic trends, Canada is on the verge of matching — perhaps surpassing — the United States in the number of new COVID-19 cases relative to its population.

Updated data compiled from the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dataset shows that the United States is adding roughly 196 new COVID-19 cases per one million people daily, and Canada, as of Tuesday, was adding 180 new cases per one million people daily. The data is based on a seven-day rolling average of daily new infections.

While this amounts to, in raw numbers, a difference of some 59 million cases, it’s a worrisome trend, experts say.

Anthony Dale, the president and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association, said the United States has suffered “the biggest public health catastrophe in probably the modern Western world’s history.”

While the situation is improving south of the 49th because of a massive vaccination campaign, Canada is trending the opposite direction, yet we’re still feeling a bit of “Canadian exceptionalism,” Dale said, even as we’re “probably about to surpass” the U.S. in terms of community spread.

The figures come as Canada is solidly in the midst of a third wave of COVID, driven in part by deadly and contagious variants, and a vaccination rate lagging behind many other nations. As of Tuesday, around one-third of Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 16 per cent in Canada.

When looking at the numbers of residents fully vaccinated, the rates are even starker: The U.S. has fully vaccinated roughly 19 per cent of the population, compared to 1.9 per cent of the population in Canada.

In another blow to Canada’s psyche, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, in an April 2 update, says Canada’s COVID-19 rate is “very high” — the highest level ranked — and urges Americans against travel to Canada, specifically citing the number of variant cases in the country.

The combination of increased case rates — including surging COVID-19 variant cases in some parts of the country — and the slow pace of the vaccine rollout has led to another round of lockdowns. Across the country, there have been more than 16,000 COVID-19 variant cases.

Alberta on Tuesday announced a return to public health restrictions, such as no indoor dining, no solo workouts at gyms, that were in place as the second wave spiralled out of control in December.

On Wednesday, Ontario announced a four-week stay-at-home order to control the virus’s spread and allow time for more people to get vaccinated.