Almost 90 per cent of reported COVID-19 cases across Canada are among those who are unvaccinated, a new national public health report shows.
“Since the start of the vaccination campaign on December 14, 2020, the majority (89.8 per cent) of cases being reported to PHAC were among those who were unvaccinated,” the country’s latest epidemiology report said.
Researchers said fully vaccinated people were also 69 per cent less likely to be hospitalized and 49 per cent less likely to die from COVID-19 than those who were unvaccinated.
Dr. Steve Flindall, an emergency physician at the Mackenzie Health Hospital in York Region, echoed those statistics and said a majority of patients coming into his hospital with COVID-19 have yet to get their shots.
“They may have had a previous COVID infection, but did not get the vaccination as has been recommended,” he says.
“And we’re seeing a lot of kids come in. They can’t be vaccinated. They’re often going to these summer camps that have been opened up and (are a) lot of times maskless on top of everything.”
The epidemiology report found that 84.9 per cent of Canadians hospitalized with COVID-19 were unvaccinated, while 82.3 per cent of people who died hadn’t yet been jabbed.
Flindall says he can “almost understand” vaccine hesitancy among people who have already contracted COVID-19 and lived — but says many of the reasons unvaccinated patients give when arriving at the hospital “just aren’t logical.”
At this point, Flindall says the vaccine has established itself as safe and effective against COVID-19.
“People go on far less proven treatments for stuff like cancer because they want the best treatment,” he said. “And COVID will kill you a lot quicker than cancer, let me tell you.”
Despite this, officials say the number of hospitalizations and deaths is decreasing across the country.
During the week of July 11 and July 17, the number of people dying from COVID-19 in Canada dropped 20 per cent, for a total of nine deaths. The number of hospitalizations and cases in the intensive care unit also decreased by 15 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively, at 576 hospitalizations and 252 ICU admissions.
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Although cases are declining, COVID-19 variants represent 70 per cent of all reported cases. The highly transmissible Delta variant has become the world’s most dominant strain of the virus since it was first discovered in India in December.
It accounts for almost 40 per cent of all cases in Canada, the epidemiology report said.
Over the weekend, Canada reported 228 cases of the virus and three deaths. According to the latest data from the federal government, more than 50 per cent of Canadians have been fully vaccinated while almost 70 per cent of Canadians have received at least one dose.
As a result of Canada’s high vaccination rate, “numbers have gone down significantly and the patients that do come in are much less sick,” said Dr. Mayoorendra Ravichandiran, an emergency physician at a health clinic in Scarborough.
“Most of them are able to go home.”
“The vaccine is not going to 100 per cent prevent you from getting COVID. But it does prevent you from getting sick. It does prevent you from from dying,” he said.
“I think that’s the most important thing that we have to keep in mind as we move forward.”
Cases of the virus have tripled over the last month in the U.S., which officials say are mostly among the 90 million eligible Americans who have yet to get shots.
Earlier this month, the White House said the U.S. had reached a point in which the pandemic “predominantly” threatened unvaccinated Americans.
99% of COVID-19 deaths in U.S. involve unvaccinated people, Fauci says
“Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated,” U.S. President Joe Biden said.
Hospitalizations and deaths are also rising among the unvaccinated in the U.S.
More than 99 per cent of deaths related to the virus and 97 per cent of hospitalizations in America are among people who have not been vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
“It’s really sad and tragic that most all of these are avoidable and preventable,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. top infectious diseases expert, said earlier this month.
On Sunday, he called the soaring cases in the U.S. an “unnecessary predicament” as the country moves to try to curb the spread of the Delta variant.
“We’re going in the wrong direction,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, adding that he felt “very frustrated.”
— With files from The Associated Press