Canadian Medical Association

One year ago today, health officials reported the first case of COVID-19 in Canada. Since then, there have been more than 700,000 cases across the country, with more than 71,000 active cases today. 

While these numbers are sobering, more staggering are the number of people who have died. 18,266 people in Canada have been killed by COVID-19 since the start of this pandemic. Individually, each person who has died is someone’s loved one. Collectively, their deaths have left an unimaginable void in our country.

“The virus continues to test us,” says Dr. Ann Collins, president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). “On average, our hospitals are dealing with almost 4,800 COVID-19 patients and we are seeing 141 daily deaths. We are in the midst of a national tragedy.”

The CMA — representing the many hard-working physicians and medical learners on the front lines of this pandemic — is calling for a swift and sustained response. We need to:

  1. Ensure that the vaccine rollout gets back on track: We must secure our vaccine supply and guarantee a consistent delivery schedule. Every delay and interruption costs lives. By getting our vaccine plan back on track we can protect individuals at high risk of complications, including those living in long-term care and Indigenous communities, before moving on to mass immunization. 
  2. Contain existing COVID-19 cases: We need to regain control in cities and communities where case numbers continue to skyrocket. This means redoubling our efforts in effective testing, contact tracing and isolation. 
  3. Establish a clear, pan-Canadian plan: Provincial and federal governments need to collaborate in delivering a clear, longer-range plan instead of focusing on short-term strategies that shift from lockdown to lockdown. People in Canada will be better equipped to follow public health guidelines and adhere to all COVID-19 restrictions if they understand the path ahead. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting us hard right now,” adds Dr. Collins. “And unfortunately, we will undoubtedly face more challenges in the coming months. The vaccine, however, has given us hope that our country could be vastly different six months from now. If we remain vigilant and if we plan more effectively, Canada may have something to celebrate on July 1 this year. Together, let us make sure that this is the year we defeat COVID-19.”

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