More good news for Ontario while other parts of Canada struggle.
I hope you had a wonderful weekend!
Thank you for the lovely emails and for sharing the newsletter widely. I am grateful for the opportunity to educate you each week.
Let’s get to the bad news of the week, the good news, the most common questions of the week, and my silver lining.
Dr. Dina, what’s the bad news?
240 MILLION cases have been reported worldwide, and almost 5 million people have died from COVID-19.
There have been almost 1.7 million cases of COVID-19 in Canada and nearly 28,500 deaths.
Though the fourth wave is leveling off in much of Canada, Saskatchewan’s death rate is the highest, and ICUs are filled beyond capacity. Almost all new infections are in people younger than 30.
New Brunswick is also seeing a surge of infections and hospitalizations. Northern British Columbia is also experiencing a wave of new infections. The Northwest Territories have the highest number of infections on a per capita basis. The death rate in Alberta remains high, though new cases are starting to level out.
COVID infections and deaths continue to surge in Russia. As a result, there is a significant strain on the health care system there.
There were protests in Italy last week as stringent COVID restrictions were put into effect. All employees across all sectors must show a health pass to get into their workplace. The ‘green pass’ demonstrates proof of vaccination, a recent negative COVID test, or documented COVID infection in the last six months. The pass is already required to access restaurants, theatres, trains, and other indoor environments.
Workers who refuse to show a valid pass can be fined 600-1500 euros ($862-$2155 Canadian) and employers who do not check employees can be fined 400-1000 euros ($575-$1437 Canadian). These efforts were put into place to encourage high vaccination rates, which are currently at 81%. Since implementing these strict rules, the number of first shots rose 34% compared to the week before. Those who don’t want to get vaccinated require testing every 48 hours to go to work. People with proven medical conditions are exempt.
We spoke a few weeks ago about the massive memorial outside of the Washington Monument. Last week Brazil followed suit, putting up hundreds of white flags outside the Brazil Congress. More than 600,000 people have died in Brazil from COVID, the second-highest in the world behind the United States.
What is the good news?
The United States land border is set to open to non-essential travel starting November 8, 2021. The border has been closed for eight months. More details will be available soon. Many snowbirds are rejoicing!
More than 3.75 BILLION people around the world have received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This is 49% of the world’s population. However, the map demonstrates the stark gap in vaccination equality between various countries.
Ontario marked the lowest daily COVID case count and positivity rate in recent months last week.
The vaccine verification app and QR codes for business were launched last week.
Details of the post-Step three strategies are expected this week, including lifting even more restrictions.
Questions of the week
Are there unique risks to pregnant people?
Last week it was reported that pregnant individuals with symptomatic COVID-19 are more likely to have emergency deliveries and complications in delivery than those with asymptomatic COVID.
Are kids more or less likely to become infected with COVID?
Last week the prestigious journal JAMA published that children are as likely to become infected with COVID, but they are less likely to be symptomatic. This confirms what we have seen all along; kids can get COVID, but they generally remain well (or asymptomatic).
Vaccination requirements for organ transplantation?
Last week, you may have heard that Toronto’s University Health Network, which is home to Canada’s largest organ transplant center, has enacted a policy requiring patients to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to quality for an organ transplant. Several other transplant centers are likely to follow this precedent.
Questions about the COVID vaccine in kids?
Sick Kids launched a consulting service to discuss any questions they have about the COVID vaccine. Consults are currently available for parents and caregivers of youth aged 12 and older. The service may be particularly helpful for youth who have complex medical conditions or require extra support due to medical, developmental, or behavioral complexity or specialized needs, including needle phobia. The service is available in multiple languages and can be accessed here.
The silver lining of the week
I do not think I am alone in worrying that our COVID case rate would rise once school started and Thanksgiving. But here we are. The overall rate in Ontario has remained relatively low, and our kids are staying healthy and IN SCHOOL.
This is something to be excited about!
See you next week, friends.
Dina is a wife, mother of 4, and adrenaline junky. She loves to share children’s health information from her professional and personal experience. More About Dr Dina.