Good evening, here are the COVID-19 updates you need to know tonight.
- When will COVID-19 be endemic? The four factors that will shape the virus’s future
- Immunization committee to release recommendations for fourth COVID-19 vaccines
- Starting Friday, vaccinated travellers to Canada don’t need a COVID-19 test
In the past seven days, there were 262 deaths announced, up 5 per cent over the same period. At least 3,977 people are being treated in hospitals. Canada’s inoculation rate is 14th among countries with a population of one million or more people.
Sources: Canada data is compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data is from Johns Hopkins University.
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Coronavirus in Canada
- A health institute in Quebec confirmed that the province is indeed in a sixth wave of COVID-19 as some experts had previously predicted. Outlying regions in the province that were spared during the winter Omicron wave are being hit hard by the sixth wave, Health Minister Christian Dube said Thursday, but he added that the government isn’t planning new health orders.
- Ontario is reporting a bump in COVID-19 hospitalizations today, with 807 patients in hospital compared with 778 a day earlier.
- The Northwest Territories is ending all of its COVID-19 public health measures Friday, including mandatory isolation for people who test positive for the virus. Residents can still access COVID-19 testing but aren’t required to report positive results.
Canada’s national immunization committee is expected to issue new recommendations in early April on who should get priority access to fourth doses as COVID-19 cases rise in many parts of Canada.
- The question of whether and when at-risk groups or wider pockets of the population should receive fourth doses has taken on greater urgency as the highly transmissible BA.2 subvariant spreads.
- But Dr. Lisa Barrett, a leading infectious diseases physician, says booster shots can only do so much to address the current surge and that policy-makers need to reintroduce widespread testing, sick pay and other evidence-based measures to manage the situation over the long term.
When will COVID-19 become endemic? These four factors will be indicators over the coming months to determine what life with an endemic coronavirus will look like, possibly for years to come.
Ivermectin: A recent clinical trial showed that ivermectin, an alternative treatment for COVID-19, does not effectively alleviate the disease. The study, which compared more than 1,300 people infected with the coronavirus in Brazil who received either ivermectin or a placebo, effectively ruled out the drug as a treatment for COVID-19, the study’s authors said.
Coronavirus around the world
- During the pandemic, more than a third of high school students surveyed in the United States experienced stress, anxiety or depression, and nearly a fifth said they seriously considered suicide, researchers reported today. Meanwhile, the defence rested its case today in the trial of the four men who plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer because of her COVID-19 restrictions.
Coronavirus and business
Starting Friday, fully vaccinated travellers no longer need a COVID-19 test to enter Canada. Dropping the requirement is expected to have a big effect on people’s decision to travel.
- Richard Vanderlubbe, president of TripCentral.ca, says demand for travel has already increased, and costs are rising as a result. “This is directly as a result of the travel advisory being lifted, testing scrapped April 1, and increasing consumer confidence,” he said.
Also today: Chartwell is selling 17 long-term care homes as seniors housing facilities have become prized assets for investment funds. During the pandemic, retirement housing occupancy has dropped, partly because of restrictions that prevented tours of available facilities, while demand for long-term care has remained robust.
And: Tesla has cancelled plans to resume production at its Shanghai factory on Friday and Saturday after the city launched a two-stage lockdown to combat a surge in COVID-19 cases.
- Nicole Letourneau: Better access to mental health care may be the silver lining of COVID-19
- 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.