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Canada health official warns of Omicron’s strain on hospitals

Canada health official warns of Omicron’s strain on hospitals

Canada’s chief public officer on Friday said there has been no “explosive rate” of rise in serious illness in the country during the fifth wave of the Covid pandemic, driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, but warned that the “enormous volume of cases” it is causing is expected to add an additional strain on the health care system. “Although evidence from ongoing surveillance and recent studies indicates that the risk of hospitalisation is lower for Omicron compared to Delta,the sudden acceleration of Omicron”, which is now the dominant variant in Canada, will impact the system because of “increased hospital admissions and high numbers of illness and absenteeism among health care workers, which is expected to impact many areas of the country over the coming weeks,” said Dr Theresa Tam. In light of the surge in cases, with 44,309 new infections reported on Friday, Canada’s health minister Jean-Yves Duclos said vaccine mandates could become necessary. “What we see now is that our health care system in Canada is fragile, our people are tired, and the only way that we know to get through Covid-19, this variant and any future variant, is through vaccination,” he said during a briefing on Friday. At least 41,743 new cases were reported daily across Canada between December 30 and January 5, an increase of 65% over the previous week. An average of 3,646 people were being treated in hospitals each day during that period, which is 91% increase over the previous week, and, on average, 594 people were being treated in intensive care units, 25% higher than the week before, according to a release from Tam. Over nine million booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines have already been administered in the country, while 83% of the total population has received at least one dose and over 77% are fully vaccinated. But seven million still remain to be vaccinated. Vaccine certification is already required in many jurisdictions to access gyms, bars, restaurants, sports, and entertainment events, among others. The province of Quebec will add entry into liquor and cannabis stores to that list soon. The central government has mandated vaccinations for its employees, and for travel by air, on some trains, and on cruise ships. Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb. ...view detail .

world-news 2022-01-09 hindustantimes