Ontario hastily retreats from reopening as new variables emerge in a third wave of Covid cases | Canada

Lisa Salamon Switzman, a Toronto emergency room physician, actually worked Two deadly waves of coronavirus A pandemic when a new group of patients started arriving recently left them unstable due to their low oxygen levels – and their age.

Of patients in their 40s and 50s, she said, “They are younger than we saw earlier and don’t really understand the extent of their illness.” “And now this is a huge, huge wave.”

Doctors and epidemiologists in Canada’s most populous provinces have warned for weeks that easing restrictions, shortages of sick pay for essential workers – and the arrival of new types of infectious novel coronavirus, could trigger a devastating third wave.

On Thursday, as cases escalated and ICU admissions, Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford had to backtrack on plans to reopen the door, instead announcing a one-month lockdown.

The move comes as health officials warn that the spread of various types of coronavirus could endanger the province.

“As the variants proliferate, Covid kills faster and smaller,” said Dr Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of Ontario’s Covid-19 Scientific Advisory Table.

Variants – mainly modified versions of Covid-19 You can be infected more easily It is believed to be more serious – it is becoming a growing problem in a number of counties across the country.

In British Columbia P1 variable, Which was first detected in Brazil, has spread rapidly, and in recent days, the province has recorded the highest number of cases since the epidemic began more than a year ago.

Quebec, which has long resisted school closures, announced lockdowns in three cities this week as the variants further spread the virus.

But in Ontario, the country’s economic center, the province’s recent outbreak has become emblematic of the way the virus has disproportionately affected essential workers in factories and warehouses, many of whom are low-income ethnic minorities.

While county restrictions are expected to dampen overall case growth, the new modeling indicates that about 800 patients are expected to be in the county intensive care beds at the end of April – nearly double today’s rates.

New cases have risen steadily in recent weeks, with restaurants and schools gradually reopening.

“Surprisingly, our hospital treatment numbers don’t look as high as they were in the first or second wave. But our intensive care numbers are bad, if not worse.” “Patients come sicker and go straight to the ICU,” said Salamon Switzman. “It’s like the original Covid strain, but on steroids.”

For doctors, the changing patient demographics have revealed the virus’s profound disparities.

We know that the population suffering from racism affected by Covid-19 outnumber everyone else. We know that the majority of these residents are basic workers who work in factories, but they have not yet been given the opportunity to be vaccinated, ”Salamon Switzman said.

While Canada secured one of The highest per capita supply The vaccine The subtraction was very slow To stop the rapid spread of the virus. Deaths in long-term care have largely disappeared, as a result of early efforts to ensure the protection of the country’s most vulnerable populations.

“If the current situation is described as a race, the variants advance by one mile,” said Eileen de Villa, a Toronto medical health officer.

Many of Salamon-Switzman’s patients who contract the virus in the workplace have underlying health problems such as diabetes and heart and lung disease. These conditions make them high risk, but they are not yet able to qualify for a vaccine according to county guidelines.

The increased cases also revealed the difficult choices workers have to make. The county does not offer paid sick leave, and casual workers or casual workers often do not qualify for employee benefits.

“Workers have to make a difficult decision: either you stay home sick and get paid, or you go to work,” said Gagandeep Kaur, an organizer at the Warehouse Worker Center. “And because many of them are also parents, they have to worry that their children might come home sick and catch the infection.”

Meanwhile, the high cost of living in the city means that many workers often live in shared apartments, Kaur says, further spreading the virus. And in the hardest hit areas, many of them are temporary workers and do not qualify for employer benefits.

Until workers get vaccinations and a chance to stay home if they fall ill, Kaur fears the situation will continue to deteriorate in the coming weeks.

“We are constantly talking about these essential workers. We call them leaders, heroes, and presidents.” But whatever we call them, the way they treat them doesn’t reflect that at all. “

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