Canada Canada sees ‘steady increase’ in BQ variants as COVID hospitalizations, deaths decline
Omicron changed the course of the pandemic 1 year ago and still dominates. What’s next?
On Nov. 24, 2021, a group of scientists in South Africa alerted the World Health Organization to a concerning new COVID-19 variant the world would come to know as Omicron.In November 2021, the Toronto-based critical care doctor had just experienced the toll COVID-19’s Delta variant could have on the human body. However, something told her that health-care workers weren’t done with the pandemic yet.
There has been a steady increase in immune-evasive Omicron variants across, Health Canada's latest epidemiology shows.
Clinical sequencing found some variants like BQ.1, BQ.1.1 and BF.7 on the rise in recent weeks. BQ 1.1 increased by 2.5 percentage points, from 5.9 per cent in the week of Oct. 30 to 8.4 per cent in the week of Nov. 6.
However, according to the report, previously dominant BA.5.2 and BA.5.2.1 lineages seem to be declining.
Measles vaccination rates in Canada have decreased, PHAC says amid global concern
There are currently no active cases of measles in Canada but the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted vaccination programs in the country. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) says it shares the concerns raised by international health experts this week of the renewed risk of measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases among children.
BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variants are one of the sub-lineages of the BA.5 Omicron variant, according to the(WHO).
The BQ variants both contain genetic mutations that make it harder for the immune system to recognize and neutralize the virus, which results in more people getting infected with COVID-19,reported.
For the week of Nov. 13 to Nov. 19, Canada had 15,085 COVID cases as compared to 15,682 cases for the week of, followed by a continued decline in virus-related deaths and hospitalizations.
Ontario was found to have the highest numbers with 5,730 cases, and Quebec came in second with a total of 5,324 cases.
Not everyone thinks Canada’s new immigration plan will grow the economy the way it should
Researchers say current labour shortages mean Canada needs to stay competitive when seeking out newcomers. It may also require rethinking who qualifies as an “ideal” immigrant. “When we think about immigration in Canada, we’re a little bit greedy,” said Howard Ramos, a sociology professor at Western University.“Canadians can’t take it for granted that we’re the only country in town people want to come to.”Canada’s population is shrinking — at least it would be were it not for immigration. This has huge implications for the Canadian job market.
Ontario saw a decline in cases compared to the last period, which saw 6,863 cases.
The number of COVID-related deaths for the week of Nov. 13 to Nov. 19 was 267, with Ontario once again recording the highest number of 111 deaths.
Between Nov. 14 and Nov. 21, the total number of hospital beds occupied by patients with COVID-19 decreased from 5,638 to 5,457 beds and the number of COVID-19 patients who were mechanically ventilated in intensive care units increased from 103 to 111.
Despite data showing a decline in COVID-related hospitalizations in Canada compared to previous months, there has been a surge of influenza and respiratory illness across the country over the past months.
Canadians will likely encounter one or more of these viruses "as long as influenza, RSV, SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses continue to co-circulate at a high level," said Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam in her
$1B worth of COVID vaccines likely to expire soon: AG report
Canada has tens of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines likely to expire soon because of a failure to manage oversupply, a new report from the auditor general says.Karen Hogan also flagged ongoing problems with data-sharing between the federal and provincial governments, which she says caused the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to struggle with sharing detailed case‑level information on vaccine safety with Health Canada, vaccine companies and the World Health Organization (WHO).
She added that maintaining "good habits" such as frequent handwashing and wearing a mask can help reduce the risk of infection.
"Likewise, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home if you develop symptoms are key measures you can take to reduce the risk of spreading infection to others," said Tam.
"For the time being, it makes sense to dial up our vaccines plus practices to increase our level of protection, particularly in light of our extremely stretched health systems and the large impact on pediatric hospitals," said Tam.
In June, Tam said COVID-19 vaccine efficiency would significantly over time — from 50 to 80 per cent effectiveness down to 20 per cent or lower six months after the second dose — she has recommended Canadians to be "up to date" with their vaccines instead of limited to a specific number of doses.
As of Nov. 6, 83.1 per cent of Canadians have received at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 80.4 per cent of Canadians have completed primary series of two does, according to Health Canada.
Only 50 per cent of Canadians have received their first booster shot and 18.7 per cent have received their second booster shoot.
Here is a breakdown of the number of COVID-19 cases in Canada in the week of Nov. 13 to Nov. 19:
British Columbia: 495
New Brunswick: 436
Price Edward Island: 280
Nova Scotia: 526
Newfoundland and Labrador: 149
First Nation reserves: 575
Joel Kotkin: To embrace immigration, Canada must reject Trudeau's racialized policies .
Recent government moves to increase immigration to 1.2 million over the next three years reflects both a hopeful sign for Canada’s future, but also potential impact. Along with immigration’s many benefits, we could see the intensification of racialism and identity politics, the kind that is threatening to tear apart an already deeply divided United States. Of course, Canada is not burdened, like the United States, by the legacy of slavery, but both countries do share a similar legacy of displacement of Indigenous peoples and share a justified collective guilt over it. But Canada’s future, even more than that of the U.S., will be shaped by immigration.