With more than 18 million infections and over 690,000 deaths globally, the COVID-19 pandemic is still very much active and is “looking for the next place to stage a comeback,” Canada’s top doctor said Monday.
The warning by Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, came as the World Health Organization “highlighted the anticipated lengthy duration of this COVID-19 pandemic” on Saturday and warned of the risk of “response fatigue” given the socio-economic pressures on countries.
“We’ve been taught some hard lessons,” Tam said in a statement. “Summer doesn’t make the virus go away, and gatherings and absence of precautions present key opportunities for exposure and spreading or superspreading the virus.”
Places that once had the virus under control are not immune to resurgence, she said, adding that “Canada doesn’t have to be one of those places.”
“There are things we can do to stop COVID-19 from finding opportunities to spread and surge,” Tam said.
“If we all stick to activities within a small, consistent social bubble; practise physical distancing; avoid higher-risk settings; and layer on precautions (handwashing, cough etiquette, wearing a mask/face covering) we can keep the pressure on and squeeze the virus out of our summer plans.”
There have been 116,884 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 8,945 deaths, Tam said.
On the brighter side, 87 per cent of people who were diagnosed with COVID-19 have now recovered.
Labs across Canada have tested 4,143,459 people for COVID-19 to date, she said.
Over the past week, an average of 40,665 people were tested daily, with 1 per cent testing positive and an average of 461 cases were reported daily from across the country, Tam said.
What each of us do now will shape our collective future, she said.
“Back to school, work and recreation plans require more than stocking up on new stationary, clothes and sports equipment,” Tam said.
“If we want the Fall to bring back more of the things that we all enjoy, while protecting our families and communities at the same time, we all need to stick to the precautions that we know work now.”