All we want for Christmas is a booster and a COVID test

On the eve of the Christmas holidays, COVID-19 booster injections and rapid test kits top many Canadians’ wish lists as case numbers soar to record levels across much of the country.

Fueled by the explosive growth of the Omicron variant, Quebec reported 9,397 cases Thursday and Ontario 5,790, while coronavirus cases in British Columbia surpassed 2,000 for the first time.

In Montreal, one of the main health authorities, Dr. Mylène Drouin, confirmed that one in five tests to detect the virus was positive, that 60% of positive cases corresponded to people between 18 and 44 years old and that 90 % of the new infections involved the Omicron variant.

Records of COVID cases were also broken in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Most provinces, except Saskatchewan, have responded by reinstating stricter public health measures, including, in some cases, limits on social gatherings, capacity limits for many venues, and closings of some businesses.

People have been lining up, often for hours, to receive much-sought-after booster shots, as well as rapid test kits to try and ensure that Christmas gatherings are as safe as possible.

Canada’s director of public health, Dr. Theresa Tam, says that the Omicron variant is now the dominant mutation of COVID-19 in several provinces and that urgent action is needed to curb its spread.

Meanwhile, on a potentially positive note, the latest preliminary findings from the UK Health Security Agency add to emerging evidence that Omicron produces significantly milder disease than other variants, such as Delta, although it spreads much faster. and evades vaccines better.

This Canadian Press report was first published on December 24, 2021.

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