The arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine in Canada was the first truly good news since the pandemic began nearly a year ago. But it was also a false dawn.
And that small glimmer of hope may have obscured the daunting challenge and the profound personal suffering that still stand between us and a new day.
So while the new year started with several days of fussing over how fast vaccine doses are being distributed, the announcement of new epidemiological modelling and new restrictions on businesses and individuals in Ontario yesterday should remind us that this pandemic is not yet under control and will not pass easily.
The recent back-and-forth between federal and provincial governments over vaccination began when the prime minister made his first public appearance of 2021 last week. At that point, the primary concern was the seemingly sluggish pace at which provinces were injecting the vaccine doses that the federal government had distributed; in Ontario, most vaccinations had paused for three days around Christmas. Trudeau said he was among those who were “frustrated to see vaccines in freezers and not in people’s arms.”
WATCH: Ontario Premier Doug Ford delivers grim pandemic update
After picking up their pace, several premiers now insist that the problem might soon become one of supply. “We’re all hopeful the federal government will get us more vaccines,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said last week. “Without them, hospitals will have to start cancelling appointments and all the progress we’ve made getting our daily vaccine numbers up will be lost.”
Over the weekend, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said it was a “bit simplistic” for provinces to claim that they were in danger of “running out” of vaccine doses. But at a news conference in Edmonton on Monday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said his government was exploring the possibility of purchasing its own vaccine supply from manufacturers that currently don’t have a deal with the federal government.
“I want to be clear, this is not a blame game,” Kenney said — before suggesting that blame might ultimately be directed at the federal government. “But we’re just saying that Alberta’s health system has stepped up in a big way here and we need more doses, bottom line, it’s very simple.”
If there is a faster way for Canada to acquire 37 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, no one has explained it yet. And no one should have been under the illusion that vaccinating the entire population would happen quickly. But there is undoubtedly pressure on the Trudeau government to at least show that it is holding its own in the global vaccination race.
On both a per-capita basis and in terms of total vaccinations, Canada ranks tenth among the world’s 193 countries. Among the G7 nations, Canada’s rate of inoculation is fourth — behind the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy, but ahead of Germany and France. (Japan has not yet started to vaccinate its citizens.) The federal government is forecasting that vaccine shipments will continue to increase on a weekly basis through February and it continues to insist that a sufficient number of doses to cover every last Canadian should be available by September.
But seeing the end of the story is not an excuse to skip reading the pages remaining.
It’s not all about vaccines
“It’s incredibly important to vaccinate people at high-risk and health care workers very quickly, and from there everyone else,” Dr. Irfan Dhalla, vice president of Unity Health Toronto, said in an email on Tuesday morning.
“But we also need to do all of the other things we have been talking about since the beginning of the pandemic – testing, contact tracing, case management, monitoring self-isolation and quarantine, supporting people to stay home, communicating effectively in multiple languages and across multiple platforms, restricting travel, etc. If we focus exclusively on vaccination over the next few weeks, there’s no doubt that thousands of Canadians will die unnecessarily.”
Shortly thereafter, Premier Ford announced a new round of restrictions meant to protect a health system that he said is “on the brink of collapse.” The rate of infection in Canada’s largest province is already far above what it saw last spring. The curve has yet to bend and the question looming over the Ford government is whether it should have moved faster and further to restrict activity.
“Our province is in crisis,” Ford said yesterday afternoon.
According to new projections, Ontario’s daily case count could reach 10,000 by mid-February if the current spread continues. A new and more contagious variant of COVID-19 is now spreading. And while so much attention was being paid to the arrival of vaccines, another 198 residents of long-term care and two staff members have died already this year in Ontario — months after Ford’s government vowed to build an “iron ring” around such facilities.
Other provinces might take comfort in the fact that their second waves have been less dire, but surely no government can assume that the weeks and months ahead won’t be difficult.
In hindsight, some of the political attention that was paid to vaccination over the last month might have been better put toward the question of whether policies on paid sick leave were sufficient to meet this dangerous moment. While the federal government did introduce the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit last fall, many say it wasn’t enough to encourage some Canadians in precarious jobs to stay home.
Last spring — when there was no vaccine in sight and the only concern was stopping the spread of COVID-19 — that issue might have been front and centre. Nearly a year later, political leaders are contending with much more public fatigue and impatience. And since the existence of a vaccine might help steel the public’s resolve to hunker down and accept new restrictions, political leaders might hold it out as a symbol of hope.
But the end of the story is not the story. The ultimate goal here isn’t just to ensure that every Canadian gets the vaccine. It’s also to ensure that as many Canadians as possible are still alive to get the shot.
Ford frustrated over vaccine delays as Ontario records 1,913 new COVID-19 cases – CBC.ca
Premier Doug Ford expressed frustration at the news that Canada will not receive any new doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week, though the general overseeing Ontario’s vaccine rollout plan remains hopeful the distribution delay won’t impede plans to immunize the general population by early August.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Ford called the news that Canada will receive no new Pfizer vaccines next week “troubling” and “a massive concern.”
“Until vaccines are more widely available, please stay home, stay safe and save lives,” he said.
The news comes as the province recorded another 1,913 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with officials cautioning that Toronto Public Health — which consistently logs the most new infections each day — is “likely underreporting” its number of cases.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said the artificially low total of 550 new cases reported by the city was due to a “technical issue,” but did not provide any further details.
For reference, over the three previous days, Toronto Public Health logged 815, 1035 and 903 cases, respectively.
Other public health units that saw double- or triple-digit increases were:
- Peel Region: 346
- York Region: 235
- Durham Region: 82
- Windsor-Essex: 81
- Waterloo Region: 79
- Middlesex-London: 73
- Halton Region: 71
- Hamilton: 63
- Niagara Region: 52
- Simcoe Muskoka: 48
- Ottawa: 41
- Huron-Perth: 37
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 31
- Lambton: 28
- Southwestern: 22
- Eastern Ontario: 14
- Chatham-Kent: 13
(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.)
Over 200K Ontarians vaccinated so far
At a technical briefing for media Tuesday morning, members of the COVID-19 vaccination distribution task force offered a rough breakdown of which groups of received a first dose of vaccine:
- About 83,000 long-term care residents, staff and caregivers.
- About 25,000 retirement home residents, staff and caregivers.
- More than 99,000 health-care workers in other sectors.
With the more than 200,000 vaccines administered, Ontario has completed the first round of immunization at all long-term care homes in Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex — the four regions with the highest transmission rates of the virus. The first round of immunizations has also been administered at all long-term care homes in Ottawa, Durham and Simcoe-Muskoka.
Still, Minister of Long-Term Care Merrilee Fullerton cautioned, “The rise of community spread during the second wave is posing a serious threat to our long-term care homes.”
The province aims to finish vaccinating those at all remaining long-term care homes by Feb. 15.
At Tuesday’s technical briefing, members of the COVID-19 vaccination distribution task force also addressed how the province is responding to Pfizer’s announcement last week that it was slowing down production of its vaccine, resulting in delivery delays for Canada.
WATCH | An exasperated Premier Ford appeals to incoming U.S. president for vaccines:
The impact in Ontario will vary week to week, officials said, with an 80 per cent reduction in the number of doses that were originally expected the week of Jan. 25; 55 per cent the week of Feb. 1; and 45 per cent the week of Feb. 8.
In turn, the province will reallocate its available doses of the Moderna vaccine to more regions, while also extending the interval between doses of the Pfizer vaccine in some situations to ensure that everyone who has had a first shot will have access to their second.
Residents and staff at long-term care and high-risk retirement homes who have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine will receive a second dose in 21 to 27 days, the province says. All others who receive the Pfizer vaccine will receive their second dose between 21 and 42 days after the first.
For those who receive the Moderna vaccine, the 28-day schedule will remain in place.
As for whether the province still expects to immunize the general population of Ontario by late July or early August, General Rick Hillier said that will come down to whether there are any further hiccups with vaccine availability, but that he remains optimistic.
Just over 34K new tests processed
Meanwhile, Ontario’s network of labs processed just 34,531 test samples for the novel coronavirus and reported a test positivity rate of 6.8 per cent. Testing levels often fall over weekends, but there is capacity in the system for more than 70,000 tests daily.
The seven-day average of new daily cases fell to 2,893, the lowest it has been since Jan. 4 this year.
For the seventh time in eight days, the numbers of cases reported resolved outpaced new infections. There are currently about 27,615 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 provincewide.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health said there were 1,626 patients in hospitals with COVID-19. Of those, 400 were being treated in intensive care, the most at any point during the pandemic, and 292 required a ventilator to breathe.
Notably, a daily report generated by Critical Care Services Ontario and shared internally with hospitals puts the current number of ICU patients with COVID-19 at 418, with 303 still on ventilators.
Public health units also recorded 46 additional deaths of people with the illness, bringing the official toll to 5,479.
Twenty-nine of the further deaths were residents of long-term care. A total of 254, or just over 40 per cent, of long-term care facilities in Ontario were dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19.
The province said it administered another 14346 doses of COVID-19 vaccines yesterday, and that 224,134 people have been given a first dose. A total of 25,609 people in Ontario have gotten both shots.
PM warns Canada could impose new COVID-19 travel restrictions without notice – CTV News
Citing the evolving situation with the identified COVID-19 variants from other countries, the prime minister is strongly urging Canadians not to travel because federal travel rules could change very quickly.
In French, the prime minister implored anyone who has booked trips to cancel them, saying a vacation is not worth it given the uncertainty and chance of either contracting the virus or ending up stranded abroad.
He said the federal government is closely following the latest science on more transmissible strains, such as those from the U.K. and Brazil, and officials could impose new restrictions without advance notice at any time.
The government continues to advise against any non-essential travel, though that decision is left up to Canadians and no outright ban is in place.
Canadian airlines and travel companies continue to offer vacation packages and flight deals to warmer destinations, with flights departing from Canada daily.
Acknowledging that people have the right to travel, Trudeau said the government also has the ability to impose penalties for those endangering others’ health.
Canada has had restrictions on international travellers entering the country since mid-March 2020, as well as a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for anyone who returns from an international location.
In December, while some Canadians opted to vacation abroad, the federal government imposed new travel rules, including the requirement to show a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding a flight coming back into this country. As well, for a short period of time flights from the U.K. were banned with little notice, but have since resumed.
Violating any of Canada’s international travel screening and self-isolation requirements can result in charges under the Quarantine Act, with maximum penalties of up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $75,000.
According to Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, in Canada there have been 23 confirmed cases of the variant first reported in the U.K., and two cases of the South African strain. Further, the Public Health Agency of Canada is reporting nearly 200 recent international flights that have landed in Canada with at least one COVID-19 positive passenger aboard.
“Every vacation travel we postpone for a better time in the future, every outing or activity we avoid, shorten, or limit to essentials… helps to reduce spread of the virus,” Tam said Tuesday.
Get your hand on spray foam rigs for sale in Canada
These days, many spray foam companies have their mobile services in different areas. These mobile vans or trailers are supposed to cover maximum clients on a day-to-day basis. There is a plenty of spray foam rig for sale in Canada that could be bought and reuse in homes and commercial buildings.
What are the uses of the spray foam rig?
There are plenty of uses of these spray foam rig for sale in Canada. As there are always options for spray foam insulation, spray foam roofing, and polyurea coatings are in homes. The spray foam rig trailers and vans can be slightly smaller than the commercial spray foam rig because commercial buildings need extensive roof work on a bigger level and buildings are also large than homes. Spray foam insulation is pretty common because it is considered energy-efficient way to fill the retrofitted extra spaces in your building. It even allows the limited air to go through the building to make the environment fresh.
What to do with a secondhand spray foam rig?
If you are looking to do some work, then spray foam rig for sale in Canada is really a great idea. It can be used to do quick spray foam insulation in homes and other buildings.
Where to get a spray foam in Canada?
If you are looking to buy a spray foam rig from your local areas, then consider Bolair Fluid Handling Systems. They have been in the business spray foam equipment for 30 years. They make every effort to offer the best to their clients. They are located in three different locations and have their contact numbers mentioned on the website. So, if you are looking for a new or secondhand spray foam rig, go to the company’s website and get what you want.
Benefits of using spray foam rigs
Here we will be discussing some important benefits of using spray foam insulation. So, have a look:
1- Use spray foam insulation for home support: Even the most perfect buildings have some gaps here and there in the ceiling and in between the walls. But what would one do to cover such a small gap? Well, for this, you can use spray foam. It is supposed to fill up space and give it a clean finish. Given the space or gap between the ceilings or walls, you have to do narrow yet deep cell spray to close these spaces. Once all of the spaces are filled with insulation, you can relax because there will be no more moisture.
2- Spray foam insulation is energy-efficient: There is this amazing benefit of using spray foam insulation and it is none other than saving energy. In simple words, having these foam insulations, your energy consumption will slow down as the heat and cold air tends to stay a bit longer on the inside because it doesn’t go inside a hole or something. You can literally save up to 30% from your utility bills whereas there are plenty more benefits of it.
Raptors waive centre Alex Len after seven games with team – Sportsnet.ca
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab Active 3 now available in the US – The Verge
The proposed changes to Manitoba's code red restrictions – CTV News Winnipeg
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Galaxy M31 July 2020 security update brings Glance, a content-driven lockscreen wallpaper service
Sports22 hours ago
Maple Leafs avoid disaster scenario with Jason Spezza clearing waivers – Yahoo Canada Sports
Business3 hours ago
3 Qualities to Look for When Hiring New Employees
Health24 hours ago
Orillia hospital to temporarily lead Roberta Place nursing home in controlling COVID-19 outbreak – Global News
Sports20 hours ago
Maple Leafs avoid disaster scenario with Jason Spezza clearing waivers – Yahoo Sports
Health20 hours ago
Survey offers glimpse of what could reopen in Manitoba – Winnipeg Free Press
News2 hours ago
Get your hand on spray foam rigs for sale in Canada
Sports2 hours ago
Jets’ Laine to sit second straight game Tuesday vs. Senators – Sportsnet.ca
Business17 hours ago
Alberta cancels recently issued coal leases in response to public outcry – Global News