Canada is shifting to 'living with the virus' — for better or worse_best freckle removal cream uk

Canada is shifting to 'living with the virus' — for better or worseCanada’s pandemic response is rapidly shifting towards “learning to live with the virus” — where COVID-19 is eventually treated like other seasonal illnesses, surveillance is massively scaled back and public health measures are widely lifted.

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Boosting vaccination rate key to lifting COVID-19 measures, but uncertainty lies ahead

Adam Miller · CBC News(Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Saskatchewan set to lift all restrictions 

Saskatchewanpivoted to living with the virus on Thursday by announcing further limits to PCR testing, ending the sharing of daily COVID-19 data and stopping the investigation of most outbreaks outside of hospitals and long-term care.

The shift came after Premier Scott Moe released a letterlast Saturday lending support to protesters in Ottawa demanding an end to all vaccine mandates or a change in government, while also inaccurately claiming"vaccination is not reducing transmission."

But while two-dose effectiveness has been significantly reduced against Omicron, there is growing evidence that boosters still hold up well against infection, severe illness and death.

  • Second OpinionHow Canada can avoid past mistakes as COVID-19 restrictions lift

Moe's comments are a huge shift in messaging from what he said just a few months ago, when the premier openly criticized the unvaccinatedand imposed mandatory masking and proof of vaccination policies during a devastating fourth wave. 

"As a government, we have been patient with those who have chosen to remain unvaccinated," he said on Sept. 16. "But the time for patience is over." 

Fast forward to today, and while Saskatchewan has left current restrictions like mask mandates and vaccine certificates in place for now, Moe has hinted they won't last long— and he's not alone.

  • Analysis'Living with COVID' plan shifts Sask. pandemic response as hospitalizations rise

"For better or for worse, this is what's going to happen across the whole country," said Dr. Alexander Wong, an infectious diseases physician at Regina General Hospital and associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan. 

"The question is, why are we in such a rush to do all of this? It's clearly political."

WATCH | Saskatchewan premier says COVID-19 restrictions 'ending very soon':

Sask. premier says COVID-19 restrictions ‘ending very soon’

3 days agoDuration 2:01Sask. Premier Scott Moe says all provincial COVID-19 restrictions, including proof-of-vaccination and mask mandates, will be “ending very soon,” but health experts say it’s too early to drop such precautions.2:01

Alberta ready to reopen when hospitalizations drop

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he also hopes to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictionsby the end of February if hospitalizations decline, but the situation is still showing no sign of slowing downas the province continues to routinely report double digit daily deaths

"On our COVID ward right now, our hospital is full to the rafters," said Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious diseases physician and associate professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. 

"And I think at this point talking about, 'Well we're just going to go back to normal,' it doesn't feel normal yet and I think we do need a bit more of a cushion." 

  • Alberta must begin moving toward endemic approach of managing COVID-19, Hinshaw says

Saxinger said there is a "necessary transition" that will occur with the pandemic where Canada will move away from COVID-19 case counting, containing outbreaks and trying to find each case — but whether that should happen right now is still unclear. 

"There comes a point, especially with Omicron which is so pervasive right now, where that's not really even feasible. It's like trying to isolate a tree in a burning forest — it doesn't necessarily make sense anymore," she said. 

"Does this mean we have to accept the burning forest though?" 

WATCH | COVID-19 not going away: Alberta's top doctor:

COVID-19 will not go away, says Alberta's top doc

3 days agoDuration 2:07Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, says the province will at some point need to move away from a COVID-19 pandemic response into an endemic phase.2:07

Saxinger said if Canada is planning on moving to a state where a background level of COVID-19 is expected without doing anything extreme to contain it, there has to be clear benchmarks for what level is acceptable and whether we will need to alter course. 

"I really regret when people don't acknowledge that we might have to change our plan," she said. "To me right now, the discussion of learning to live with it seems early."

Ontario 'confident' that 'worst is behind us'

Ontario began easing public health restrictionsat the end of January, with a plan to lift most remaining measures by mid-March, as the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations remained on a downward trenddespite the daily death toll continuing to rise

"We're taking a cautious approach," Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Jan. 20, before adding he was "confident" the reopening plan would work and that "the worst is behind us."

But Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said Thursday while there is a general improvement in the COVID-19 situation, the coming weeks "will continue to be difficult" for the province's hospital system.

WATCH | Ontario's top doctor says 'we've let our lives be controlled' by COVID-19:

‘We've let our lives be controlled’ says Ontario’s top doctor amid surge of Omicron cases

10 days agoDuration 0:19Dr. Kieran Moore said Thursday that Canadians have lived with a significant amount of fear about COVID-19 but that thinking is going to have to change.'Living with COVID' plan shifts Sask. pandemic response as hospitalizations rise

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