Seventh COVID-19 wave sweeps across Canada

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Little more than three months after provincial governments across Canada followed the demand of the far-right “Freedom Convoy” and dismantled all remaining public health protections, another wave of COVID-19 infections and deaths is raging. Despite drastically scaled back screening measures, data from British Columbia to the Atlantic provinces makes clear that Canada confronts a rapidly escalating summer wave, fueled by the more immune-resistant and transmissible BA.5 variant.

Victoria Hospital in Ontario, Canada. (Wikimedia Commons)

In BC, where testing is limited to only a tiny fraction of the population, cases are steadily rising. Hospitalizations and critical care patients have shot up by over a third in the past fortnight. The independent BC COVID-19 Modelling Group estimates that the BA.5 variant now makes up roughly 80 percent of all cases in the province.

In Quebec, hospitalizations, ICU patients and deaths are rising sharply. On July 8, the province reported 17 deaths, the highest single daily death toll in almost two months. Ontario is witnessing similar trends, with the province reporting sharp rises in hospitalization rates at the beginning of July. The PCR test positivity rate rose to 14 percent, a two month high, with the BA.5 variant making up two-thirds of all genomic sequencing. Most ominously, case rates are rising fastest among people in their 80s, which suggests that the virus has found its way into long-term care facilities once again.

On the Atlantic coast, similar trends are being observed. In New Brunswick, hospitalizations doubled in the second week of July, with the BA.5 variant making up almost half of all sequenced cases.

The reaction of governments has been to double down on their profits before life, vaccine-only strategy. Every level of government from Trudeau’s federal Liberals on down has made clear from their total indifference to the rampant spread of new variants that they will do nothing to stop mass infection and death, and the widespread devastation to the health of the population that will ensue from cases of Long COVID, which can occur in anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent of all infections.

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