Newly Reported U.S. Covid-19 Cases Decline
Canada’s seven-day average of new, confirmed Covid-19 cases per million people now exceeds the U.S.
Data as of Friday and collected by the University of Oxford’s Our World in Data portal show the rolling seven-day average in Canada sits at 205.7, eclipsing the U.S., which is at 205.1.
This marks a stark turnaround from just a month ago, when, as of March 12, the adjusted gauge indicated the U.S. at 165.5 per million and Canada at 83.5. At the start of 2021, the U.S. was recording roughly 600 cases per million versus Canada’s 168.
The last time Canada’s adjusted case count exceeded the U.S., according to the Oxford data, was in February of last year, or in the very early days of the pandemic in North America.
The data partly reflects the strides the U.S. has made through its vaccination rollout. According to Oxford data, over 20% of Americans are fully vaccinated and a third have at least one shot. It’s a different story in Canada, with just 2% fully vaccinated and roughly 18% with at least one shot.
The reversal of fortune is also due to the rapid growth in Canada of confirmed Covid-19 cases during a third wave in which variants are playing a dominant role. Authorities in Canada’s biggest provinces have moved in the past week to impose stay-at-home orders, implement new curfews and close schools. “It is clear that we need stronger controls,” Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public-health officer, said Friday.
Canada is home to one of the slowest Covid-19 vaccination rollouts in the developed world.
The federal government has faced criticism for failing to secure enough vaccines in the early part of this year. Canadian officials countered by noting, among other things, that vaccine shipments were set to ramp up in the second quarter, and that the country had done a better job managing the pandemic given it recorded far fewer Covid-19 deaths compared to the U.S. and U.K. Some provincial governments–which have control over public-health policy–have also dealt with scrutiny for decisions to either ease restrictions too early during the second wave, or failing to act decisively and impose fresh measures in response to worrisome trends.
The epicenter in Canada is Ontario, the most populous province. Over the past two weeks, Ontario accounted for roughly half of all new Covid-19 cases in Canada. With admissions to intensive-care units growing, the Ontario government on Friday night ordered hospitals to cancel all elective surgeries and nonurgent activities. Ontario also gave hospitals the power to transfer patients to alternate sites without seeking the patients’ permission.
“That the provinces representing the overwhelming majority of Canada’s population have been unable to learn essentially anything from the first year and two waves of this pandemic speaks to a catastrophic failure of governments,” Andrew Morris, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and an infectious-disease physician, said in his weekly newsletter, released Friday night. “So because we haven’t listened to science and learned, we are where we are today, which is not pretty.”