Good evening, here are the COVID-19 updates you need to know tonight.
- After recovering from Omicron, what comes next is complicated
- Vaccine mandates will worsen trucker shortage, affect consumers at shelves and tills, experts expect
- COVID-19 has taken a toll on churchgoing in America as country shifts its views on religion
COVID-19 data is published Monday through Friday.
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Coronavirus in Canada
- In Ontario, as restaurants prepare to reopen from the fifth wave of the pandemic, business owners say they’re limiting menu items and their operating hours to ensure they don’t suffer large losses in the case of another lockdown. Meanwhile, the province is reporting 3,797 patients in hospital with COVID-19, 604 people in intensive-care units and 57 new deaths.
- Quebec is reporting a significant drop in COVID-19-related deaths today. And the number of hospitalizations declined for a fourth consecutive day, decreasing by 12 to 3,283.
- B.C. is adjusting its rules on sharing hospital rooms. It will now allow hospitals hard hit by the Omicron wave to place patients who test positive for COVID-19 with mild or no symptoms in rooms with twice-vaccinated people who are not infected as long as extra preventive measures are taken.
Growing numbers of vaccinated Canadians coming out the other side after a bout with Omicron are weighing complicated questions on how to live now.
- After dreading COVID-19 infection for so long, some who recover after lighter symptoms find a quiet, unexpected feeling of relief. For others, the immuno-cocktail of vaccination, boosters and recent infection creates an illusion of invincibility.
- And while people are longing for normalcy, doctors urge those who’ve recuperated from COVID-19 to find ways to appreciate their temporary relief of anxiety, without taking unnecessary risks.
Annual vaccine: Pfizer’s chief executive officer, Albert Bourla, said on Saturday that an annual COVID-19 vaccine would be preferable to more frequent booster shots in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Foreign nurses: The Omicron-fuelled wave of COVID-19 infections has led wealthy countries to intensify their recruitment of nurses from poorer parts of the world, worsening dire staffing shortages in overstretched workforces there, the International Council of Nurses say. Earlier this month, hospitals and health networks in Quebec announced they were launching recruitment campaigns in Africa, Europe and Latin America.
Coronavirus around the world
- In the United States, COVID-19 has stripped away large numbers of people from the country’s places of worship amid a broader trend toward secularization. Meanwhile, as the Omicron wave crests, the state of Louisiana has seen vaccination rates stagnate and a growing acceptance that COVID-19 is here to stay
- Hong Kong authorities said on Sunday one hamster surrendered to authorities by pet owners had tested positive for COVID-19. Over 2,200 hamsters had been culled as the city struggled to contain an outbreak.
- Britain’s Queen Elizabeth flew by helicopter to her Sandringham estate in East England on Sunday after delaying her traditional Christmas trip for a month because of COVID-19.
- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has cancelled her wedding as the country imposes new restrictions to slow the community spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
- Ireland scrapped almost all its COVID-19 restrictions on Saturday after coming though the storm of the Omicron variant that led to a massive surge in infections.
Coronavirus and business
Consumers should expect fewer choices on grocery store shelves in the coming months, industry experts say, as the shortage of truckers worsens amid cross-border vaccine mandates.
- The United States began barring unvaccinated truck drivers on Saturday, a week after Canada implemented the same rule intended to slow the spread of COVID-19.
- The Canadian Trucking Alliance has called for the mandate to be delayed until supply chains have improved.
- Norman Doidge: Vaccines are a tool, not a silver bullet. If we’d allowed more scientific debate, we would have realized this earlier
- Editorial board: Canada is beating Omicron. But the game’s still on
- Everything you need to know about Canada’s travel restrictions for vaccinated and unvaccinated people
- Where do I book a COVID-19 booster or a vaccine appointment for my kids? Latest rules by province
- What is and isn't 'paid sick leave' in Canada? A short primer
- Got a vaccine 'hangover'? Here's why
Sources: Canada data are compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins University and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data are from Johns Hopkins.