This is in contrast to the fact that the number of cases in Canada, adjusted for population, now exceeds that of the United States for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
“It’s such a reversal of how we have felt as Canadians over the last four years of Donald Trump,” said David Coletto, chief executive of Abacus Data, a survey firm. “It’s a weird world for us to look south now and say, ‘What do you mean they’re doing better than us? “
While there are encouraging signs that Canada has reached a milestone in tackling its strongest wave of Covid-19 cases, hospitals in the country’s largest city, Toronto, are at full capacity and officials health officials are nervously monitoring the spread of a variant identified for the first India.
“The current plateau is very precarious,” said Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the Ontario government’s Covid-19 science advisory table in a presentation Thursday. “It’s a place where you can either start rolling back the pandemic. . . or if we see a change [in lockdown measures], as we have seen in the past, we could see substantial exponential growth and really a continuation of the third or fourth wave.
Covid-19 cases have increased across Canada during its third wave, but the hardest-hit provinces are Alberta in the west and Ontario, the most populous.
Alberta introduced new restrictions last week after reporting a record high 2,430 new cases, with Ontario reporting 3,370 on Saturday. The seven-day average in that province peaked on April 17 at 4,370. Ontario also reported 900 intensive care patients, its highest figure since the start of the pandemic.
At least one hospital in Toronto has started transferring patients to other hospitals in the past few days due to dwindling oxygen supplies.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has overseen a response to a chaotic pandemic in recent months that has hit businesses and residents alike. After declaring the province’s second state of emergency in January, he then pushed for Ontario’s economy to reopen throughout February as cases and hospitalizations declined.
The province allowed restaurants to reopen their terrace doors at the end of March, only to reverse course two weeks later, as the third wave took hold. Restaurants Canada, a lobby group, estimates that companies spent C $ 100 million (US $ 83 million) to prepare for the failed reopening.
Ford’s government declared a third state of emergency two weeks ago and imposed new social restrictions, including closing playgrounds and allowing police arbitrary checks of residents. A backlash forced the Prime Minister to reverse the two measures within days. “We were wrong,” he told reporters, stifling his tears.
Health officials say the government’s continued focus on restricting outdoor activities such as golf, tennis and camping is misguided as workplaces and indoor spaces have been hit the hardest.
Last week, after months of pleading by doctors, the Ford government implemented a sickness compensation scheme that will compensate workers up to $ 200 a day for three days to encourage them not to return at work if they are not feeling well.
Experts say the measure will not be enough, given the time it takes to recover from Covid-19 or self-quarantine after exposure. “It’s symbolic,” said Dr. Ashleigh Tuite, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto. “Having three days is better than no days, but if you want to do it in a way that makes sense, it has to be a minimum of 10.”
Ontario’s third wave was made worse by a vaccine rollout that was slow to get off the ground and mired in views between the province and Justin Trudeau’s federal government.
Critics say the Trudeau government has been too slow to sign deals with vaccine makers and failed to act quickly enough to secure domestic manufacturing capacity. The federal government in turn accused provinces like Ontario of leaving too many doses in refrigerators.
When Canada fell behind many other countries in administering doses earlier this year, it adopted a strategy similar to that of the UK in which second doses of vaccine are delayed by several months.
As a result, 32% of the Canadian population received a dose, making it the third largest economy. However, only 2.9 percent are fully vaccinated, compared to 21 percent in the UK and 30 percent in the US.
“We see patients entering the hospital very sick after receiving their first dose and some of them well beyond the first two weeks when it becomes effective,” said Dr. David Jacobs, President of Ontario Specialists Association and vocal critic. Trudeau on social media.
“So we failed to achieve herd immunity with the volume of vaccine we received and neither did we protect individuals with a single dose. Trudeau failed on both fronts.
In recent days, Ford has focused its criticism on Trudeau’s handling of Canada’s border controls, which has allowed more contagious variants to gain a foothold. As of this week, 90% of coronavirus cases in the country are variant B.1.1.7, which first appeared in the UK. Public Health Ontario has recorded three dozen cases of the variant first detected in India.
“Last week the Indian variant was reported in Ontario,” Ford said Friday. “I can tell you he didn’t swim here. On April 22, the Trudeau government bowed to pressure and suspended flights from India and Pakistan.
Ford has since asked Trudeau to require that anyone entering Canada by land from the United States be placed in a mandatory three-day quarantine at a government-approved hotel, which is currently only required for people arriving by plane. He pointed to reports of international travelers going to US airports and walking or taxiing into Canada.
Trudeau said on Friday his government was reviewing the request, but suggested existing protective measures such as testing and self-quarantine rules were working.
So far, Ford is politically paying the highest price for the third wave. A poll by Abacus Data found that the share of Ontarians with a positive impression of Ford had risen from 39% in mid-April to 28% last week.
“For most of those affected by the pandemic, people felt he was doing the best job he could with his ‘Aw shucks’ approach, Uncle Doug,” Coletto said. “With the third wave, people started to wonder why the situation was so bad and they are more likely to blame him.”