Canada’s COVID-19 cases near 1 mln as variants spread

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OTTAWA, March 26 (Xinhua) — Canada is expected to see a cumulative total of almost one million COVID-19 cases next week as the country’s coronavirus variants continue spreading, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said Friday.

With variants now circulating widely, the PHAC said the COVID-19 case number could rise to 12,000 a day if Canadians maintain or increase the number of people they are in contact with daily.

As of Friday afternoon, Canada reported a cumulative total of 955,030 cases and 22,830 deaths, according to CTV.

COVID-19 variants like B.1.1.7 now account for a high proportion of new cases and make up half of all new cases in some areas in the country. There are roughly 3,000 new cases being reported each day nationwide, up from about 2,000 a month ago.

The rise of the deadlier variant comes as Canadians are increasingly dealing with the stress of a full year of pandemic vigilance. The pace of vaccinations, meanwhile, has frustrated many Canadians, with just 13 percent of the population having received at least one dose to date, a figure that lags many other countries.

The spread of coronavirus variants in Ontario has caused hospital and intensive care admissions to double, and has driven the risk of death up by about 60 percent, said Peter Juni, a member of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, on Friday.

“It’s roughly a 60 percent increase in hospital admissions associated with new variants, it’s roughly a doubling of ICU admissions, and it’s roughly 60 percent deaths associated with variants,” Juni, who is also a professor of epidemiology and medicine at the University of Toronto, told CTV News Channel.

With the COVID-19 caseload curve trending up, variants accelerating and vaccine distribution still quite low, “normal” Canada is still months away, said Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, on Friday

“Daily case counts have increased over 30 percent in the past two weeks,” said Tam. “Every 100 cases in Canada, passes the virus to more than 100 others.”

Tam urged Canadians to reduce their contacts while provinces and territories deploy more vaccine shots in the months to come.

“COVID-19 still has a few tricks in store and we need to hold on together a bit stronger and longer until vaccines have us protected,” Tam said. Enditem

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