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‘Extraordinary measures’ needed to stop Canada’s COVID-19 surge

More Canadians are getting vaccinated against the coronavirus
More Canadians are getting vaccinated against the coronavirus

Canada keeps setting new records, and they are not the kind anyone wants to hear. On Thursday, 9,564 new cases of the coronavirus were recorded across the provinces, surging past 9,500 for the first time since the pandemic began over a year ago, reports Global News.

And even as the country is stepping up its campaign to get vaccinations into people’s arms, Moderna announced it would be cutting the 1.2 million doses of its vaccine, due to be shipped this month to half that amount – just 650,000 shots, reports CBC Canada. But Moderna’s competitor, Pfizer, has stepped up and possibly saved the day.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that while the delay in Moderna’s shipments is disappointing, Canada has now signed an agreement with Pfizer for eight million more vaccine doses on top of what has already been promised. This means that Canada will receive four million more Pfizer doses in May, another two million in June, and two million more in July, Trudeau said.

The Moderna delays are being attributed to “a slower than anticipated ramp-up of their production capacity” at plants in Europe, Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said.

Canadian Medical Association speaks out
In a press release on Friday, the CMA issued an urgent call for “unprecedented measures to address the state of the crisis unfolding in several provinces, including marshaling national resources, applying restrictive public health measures and prioritizing national collaboration to save lives.”
“As the third wave of the pandemic wreaks havoc on the healthcare and public health systems, healthcare providers, and patients, we are at a critical juncture where a truly national approach to combatting COVID-19 will make the difference between more or fewer lives saved,” said Dr. Ann Collins, president of the CMA in the release. “This country must come together to help support provinces most severely impacted.”
Ontario and British Columbia are the two worst-hit provinces – with a continuous rise of COVID-19 cases with variants of concern (VOC) resulting in more hospitalizations and intensive care units reaching near-maximum capacity, according to CTV News Canada.

In Ontario, health officials reported 4,812 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday as well as 25 more deaths related to the disease, a new record. Additionally, of the 701 COVID patients in Ontario’s ICUs – at least 480 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

On Friday, Dr. Michael Warner, the medical director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital, said the surge in coronavirus patients requiring ICU care will likely mean hospitals will have to soon implement a triage protocol where doctors prioritize patients based on the likelihood of survival.

“Every hospital has gone through simulation of this,” Dr. Michael Warner told Newstalk 1010 on Friday morning. “It is our greatest fear and I actually can’t see a situation where some form of triage doesn’t take place.”

The CMA would like to see a better distribution method for the vaccines, with a focus on areas in urgent need rather than the “per-capita approach” currently implemented. They are also calling for “an enhanced form of paid sick leave,” calling current programs inadequate to allow workers to stay at home.

“Better communication and supports are necessary for people in Canada to adhere to public health measures and minimize risks,” the release states.

The CMA said the country is at a “critical juncture,” and that healthcare workers are “pleading for this unprecedented level of response as the crisis takes hold in our hospitals and in our communities.”

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We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend Karen Graham, who served as Editor-at-Large at Digital Journal. She was 78 years old. Karen's view of what is happening in our world was colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in humankind's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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