The big news in Canada this week, COVID wise, is all about the “delta variant”, out of India. The B.1.617 variant, or delta variant, may be both more transmissible, as well as harder to detect. Individuals with two vaccinations seem to be mostly immune, but there are concerns that those with only 1 vaccination, or no vaccination at all, could pose risks. There has been some questioning if Canada’s policy of pushing first vaccinations over second vaccinations is appropriate given the threat that this delta variant presents. The biggest fear is that the delta variant may create new lockdowns - so even amidst the vaccine excitement, its important to keep those masks and social distancing ready.
Right now, Canada stands at roughly 1.39 million COVID cases, with over 1.34 Canadians recovered and over 25,700 deaths. This is a dramatic slowdown given the speed of infections and deaths seen in April and May, and explains the buzz around ending lockdowns.
Ontario has recorded roughly 660 new cases of COVID today, an eight month low for the province. The province is also expanding its second dose program, perhaps aware of the dangers of the delta variant. Quebec meanwhile has recorded under 180 cases today, with no deaths. Like in Ontario, there are moves to push for faster administration of second doses in the province.
British Columbia also managed to record under 200 cases today, for a fourth consecutive day. Like Ontario and Quebec, it is also pushing for second doses, while questions are being raised about vaccinations given elsewhere. In Alberta, cases fell below 300 today. The province is still struggling, however, with highly publicized flaunting of COVID restrictions.
Saskatchewan has recorded under 100 cases today, as a surge of second doses is implemented. Saskatchewan has been looking at tougher fines to avoid public breaches of lockdown like in Alberta, but it is uncertain how many of these will actually be served. Manitoba, meanwhile, has recorded under 300 cases today. Manitoba also seeks to expand second dose eligibility, as eagerness to leave lockdown increases.
Nova Scotia has reported 12 new cases of COVID today, while New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador have all reported 10 or less cases today. Cases in the Maritimes remain low, though there is still little movement towards reopening tourism in the area.
As of today, about 25.8 million doses of vaccination have been given in Canada, with roughly 2.71 Canadians being fully vaccinated - over 7% of Canadians are estimated to be fully vaccinated. The surge in first dose vaccines is truly impressive. However, there are worries that there may need to be more focus on second doses, as new variants emerge. Until Canada has reached a large number of second doses, social distancing and good mask sense are still recommended.