Canadians should brace for more Omicron infections in the coming weeks.
According to Canada's top doctor Theresa Tam, their latest modeling shows that cases of the new Covid variant could reach 300,000 daily without strong public health measures and booster shots. She said stronger policies will help bring down daily infections to 170,000 by Omicron's peak this month before receding in February.
"In either scenario, the true number of cases driven by extremely high transmissibility of the omicron variant could still vastly exceed anything we have experienced to date during this pandemic," Tam warned.
As of January 12th, the number of hospitalizations across Canada has increased by 84%, while ICU admissions increased by 50%. The average daily infections now exceed 37,500. With the unvaccinated making up most of those who are hospitalized due to Omicron, some Filipino Canadians have expressed support for taxing those who have to get their Covid jabs.
For restaurant owner Dorothy de Leon, getting vaccinated is the best way for the community to help hospital workers, many of whom have already been infected by Omicron.
"Nakakaawa sila kasi sila yung first exposure so para makatulong, maiwasan natin yung mauubos lahat yung ating mga hospital workers (I feel bad for them because they’re the first exposure, right, so we have to do our part, and prevent more shortage of hospital workers)," de Leon said.
As for restaurant worker Rochelle Ann Lumang, there are other ways to encourage vaccination and taxing should be a last resort.
Meanwhile, Canada has approved Pfizer's Covid antiviral drug Paxlovid, which is expected to become an important tool in preventing more hospitalizations.
"This prescription drug, which can be taken at home, will be used to treat adults with mild to moderate symptoms who are at high-risk of progressing to serious illness," Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said.
Canada has already received its first shipment of 30,000 treatment courses of Paxlovid.