Over 40,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Canada, but hospitalizations are falling again – National
At least 40,000 people across Canada have died from contracting COVID-19 since the pandemic began more than two years ago, according to provincial data, and more than 70 people still die every day.
Still, hospitalizations and confirmed cases have plummeted over the past two weeks, suggesting the sixth wave may be coming to an end.
As of Friday, 40,217 deaths have been confirmed by provinces and territories so far.
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Experts have previously said the true death toll could be several thousand higher than the official number due to gaps in data collection, suggesting around two-thirds of all COVID-19 deaths may have been missed. .
Most provinces have moved to weekly reporting of COVID-19 data, with the majority reporting on Thursdays. The official death toll topped 40,000 on May 12, while Ontario and Quebec – which still report daily – added another 48 deaths combined on Friday.
The seven-day average of new deaths has hovered around 70 for the past two weeks, plateauing at the near-record 165 seen in the fifth wave earlier this year.
The dozens of new deaths a day are occurring despite signs that the sixth wave is on the wane.
On Friday, the seven-day average of daily lab-confirmed cases was just above 4,630, down nearly 50% from the rate seen a month ago.
The number of people in hospital currently stands at 5,664, according to the latest data, down more than 10% from two weeks ago.
This includes 363 people being treated in intensive care units, a number that has also fallen after rising in April.
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr Theresa Tam, said on May 6 that cases appear to have plateaued in some provinces and are declining in others, although the number of people hospitalized with COVID- 19 remains high in some parts of the country.
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Tam had warned nearly a month before that Canada was in the midst of a sixth wave, driven by the BA.2 sub-variant of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
The BA.2 subvariant is believed to be even more contagious than Omicron and also leads to reinfections from previous cases, according to Tam and other public health officials and experts.
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Tam and his provincial counterparts said the number of confirmed cases reported is likely an undercount of the true number of cases, which could be up to 10 times higher. Many parts of the country are no longer providing lab tests to the majority of people after capacity was overwhelmed by the spread of Omicron in late 2021.
At the same time, these officials have moved away from blanket mandates to allow Canadians to make decisions about how to protect themselves from the latest wave based on their own personal health, as well as the environment in which they find themselves and the amount of transmission in their community.
Most provinces and territories have eased all or most of the public health restrictions they had imposed to combat previous waves of the pandemic.
Tam warned on April 1 that the country is in a pandemic transition period that could see new waves of COVID-19 cases this year.
“We anticipate that progress will not be linear, and there will likely be more bumps along the way, including the resurgence of cases this spring, and likely in the fall and winter as well,” he said. she said at a press briefing that day.
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She said Canadians should continue to wear face coverings and ensure vaccinations are up to date despite rising case numbers and reduced public health measures.
“I think the bottom line is that everyone right now should always be wearing that mask and keeping those layers of measurements, no matter where you are in this country,” she said.
Health officials continue to remind Canadians that vaccinations, including boosters, are the only way to get through the pandemic.
Although 90% of the eligible population aged five and over have received at least one dose of vaccine and 86% are considered fully immunized with two doses, less than half of all Canadians have received a third dose.
Boosters are considered essential to help prevent serious illness caused by Omicron, which has been shown to be more resistant to existing vaccines.
Vaccine makers like Pfizer and Moderna are developing a new generation of vaccines that will be designed to target more transmissible strains like Omicron.
— with files from The Canadian Press
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