COVID 19 Canada: Outbreak, Situation, and Response
The COVID-19 outbreak sparked a global catastrophe affecting the entire health system and putting constraints on the financial and economic market. The coronavirus disease which is said to originate from Wuhan, China has over 42 million confirmed cases globally as of October 23, 2020. Based on the latest Worldometer statistics, almost 1.2 million people have died; over 31 million people have recovered from the coronavirus disease, while active cases are around 9.7 million.
Coronavirus continuously wreaks havoc on countries and territories worldwide. After the United States, India, Brazil, Russia, and Spain have been among the countries with the highest number of cases and infections.
COVID-19 pandemic triggered a significant impact on the country of Canada – its provinces and territories - and everyone’s life in its entirety. To contain the risk of infections and combat the pandemic, the Canadian federal government took a proactive approach and set strict measures and restrictions to manage the outbreak.
Canada Coronavirus Outbreak Situation
Canada, with a population of 37.8 million has recorded more than 209,000 COVID-19 cases within its borders to date. The first confirmed case of the new novel coronavirus was reported in late January. It was in the first week of March that cases in the country started to rise.
COVID-19 Cases and Statistics
Recently, COVID-19 cases in Canada surpassed 200,000 thresholds; just four months after the country marked its 100,000 cases in mid-June.
Since the start of the outbreak, the number of currently infected patients is 23,000. While more than 175,000 have recovered, coronavirus has claimed the lives of 9,862 people, based on Worldometer statistics (data as of October 23, 2020).
Adults and people aged 60 and above make up approximately one-third of all COVD-19 cases.
Almost 8.7 million people in Canada had been tested for COVID-19 infection. In March 2020, Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau were also tested positive for the virus after returning from a trip to London.
On average, Canada averages 2,284 new cases and 20 deaths per day; and has significantly increased in September. The rise in cases is attributed to the cooler weather, students returning to school, and workplaces reopening.
Due to the steady rise in active cases, the province of Alberta had entered a “danger zone” as what Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.
The province of Quebec continued to lead in new daily cases. Both Ontario and Quebec – the country’s most populous provinces – reported the bulk of the country’s death toll, accounting for over 90% of all COVID-19 deaths in the country.
COVID-19: The Second Wave
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that Canada is in the second wave of the pandemic.
As Canada and its provinces see a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and the second way is underway, stricter restrictions and distancing recommendations are enforced.
Stricter health measures and tighter rules have been reinstated in the regions of Toronto, Peel Region, York Region, and Ottawa. Tougher rules are also in effect in Winnipeg and surrounding municipalities.
Ontario officials ordered the closure of several establishments and venues for at least 28 days and relied on the people’s voluntary cooperation, while Toronto considers measures that lessen social interaction.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia's Provincial Health Officer, also considers regulating weddings, funerals, and social gatherings after a surge in COVID-19 cases in the province.
Bill Blair, Canada's public safety minister, announced that non-essential travel restrictions are extended until November 21st, 2020.
Coronavirus Risk to Canadians
Coronavirus is a serious health threat creating a massive risk to every Canadians. Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions are at greater risk of getting severely ill from the virus.
The situation is evolving daily and creating a significant impact on everyone’s life. This risk also varies between communities, occupational, social, economic, and life circumstances.
Based on research, more than half of Canadians are also concerned about the economic impact of coronavirus. Other concerns include the inability to see family and friends, followed by the risk of getting infected.
Canada in Overcoming the COVID-19 Pandemic
Canada - its government and its people - are taking a continual, proactive approach towards overcoming COVID-19 through monitoring, support, preparedness, and response. This will better prepare the country for potential rounds of pandemic or outbreak of other dangerous diseases in the future.
In response to COVID-19, there has been notable cooperation between the country's federal and provincial officials. The Federal government focused on international border closings and management of federal stockpiles such as testing kits, protective equipment, etc.
Canadian provinces have set strategies to contain and mitigate the virus. Provincial health authorities and working closely with the local government and regional officers to implement testing, contract tracing, and other services.
The country took specific actions and steps to limit infections and control the pandemic. These include social distancing, working from home, limited gatherings, travel restrictions, and closure of schools, universities, public playgrounds, and nonessential businesses in late March.
Safety and Preparedness
Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said that the country’s goal is to “reduce cases of COVID-19 infection to manageable levels.” She added that the efforts of every individual and citizens across Canada are needed.
Everyone in Canada has an important role to lower the spread and minimize the impact of COVID-19. Without treatment or vaccines available yet, people can do their part by following health practices to protect themselves and the community.
To ensure safety and preparedness, people are encouraged on following essential precautions, including:
Staying informed on the latest updates and developments.
Practicing good hygiene at all times.
Understanding how COVID-19 spreads.
Taking care of one’s mental and physical wellbeing.
Knowing how to prevent illness.
Practicing physical distancing.
Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces.
Staying home and away from others if ill or if at risk of illness.
Wearing face masks when going outside.
Avoiding non-essential travel at all cost.
The entire Canadian government has developed plans and actions to respond to the outbreak.
Border measures and travel health risks of Canadians are regularly being assessed by the Canadian Government. Travel health advisories and heath notices are issued and are in effect. Non-essential travels outside the country and on cruise ships are avoided. Travel restrictions are enforced on ports of entry.
To address misinformation about COVID-19, increase understanding of the disease, and increase prevention awareness, the government also provides timely and accessible information for its people. A national public education campaign was launched. This helps Canadians to take steps to protect themselves and their families.
A free COVID-19 alert app was also developed to protect the community. This contact tracing app notifies if a person was near a person that is tested positive in the past 14 days. It also shares credible COVID-19 risks and prevention measures via social media.
Response, Plan and Commitment
In the fight against COVID-19, communities across Canada are rising to the challenge of keeping people safe.
Canada remains fully focused on its effort to protect the health and safety of its people. Active monitoring of the situation is being done to contain the COVID-19 virus and prevent further spread. Canada’s Public Health Agency is closely coordinating with its provinces, territories, and the World Health Organization. The efforts of the country’s health officials also ensure that any coronavirus cases are identified and managed.
As COVID-19 is a global pandemic, Canada has committed support and assistance to international research, medical solutions, and development as part of COVID-19 Global Response fundraising efforts.
Canada had invested in COVID-19 vaccine development. The country currently has 11 vaccine candidates, in Phase 3 clinical trials, marking the final step before approval, though efforts were slowed by manufacturing delays.
To make sure that Canadians stay at "the front of the line" when a vaccine becomes available, the Federal government also invested $1 billion in preorders of six foreign vaccine candidates. Agreements were signed with Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Novavax, Janssen, Sanofi/GSK, and AstraZeneca.
Canada’s Road to Recovery
Citizens around the world are living and adapting to the new normal ways of life. Businesses, governments, communities, families, and every individual - all aspects of life that have been impacted by this pandemic must continue to thrive.Even when vaccines won’t be an “overnight solution” to this pandemic and scaling up could take several months, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remains confident and assured its people with his words: “We can bend the curve, we can build a stronger future, we can define the change.”