study | Canada’s response to the pandemic is among the best in the world

(Montreal) Canada weathered the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and weathered the upheaval that followed better than several other countries with comparable healthcare and economic infrastructure, according to a new study.

Posted at 8:10am

Virginia Ann
The Canadian Press

The research, published Monday in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Associationattributes Canada’s strong performance to restrictive and sustained public health measures and a successful vaccination campaign.

A team of Ontario researchers compared data from February 2020 to February 2022 in 11 countries, dubbed G10 due to the late inclusion of one of them. They analyzed data from Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America – all countries with similar political, economic and healthcare systems.

“If you compare Canada to the G10, the differences are huge,” says study co-author Dr.right Fahad Razak, during a recent interview.

“If you look at our vaccination rate, we had the highest in any G10, we had the lowest number of people infected and the lowest number of people who died. »

The research suggests that the cumulative per capita rate of COVID-19 cases in Canada was 82,700 per million, while all countries – except Japan – had rates above 100,000 per million.

Canada’s COVID-19 death rate was 919 per million, again the second lowest behind Japan. All other countries had more than 1000 per million.

The Dright Razak said at least 70,000 more Canadians would have died in the first two years of the pandemic if Canada had had the same death rate as the United States, the country with the highest cumulative number of coronavirus-related deaths.

“That means most of us would probably know a grandparent, friend or family member personally. […] who now lives in Canada and who would have died if we had followed the same path as in the United States,” noted the Dright Razak.

He said Canada’s relatively positive outcomes came despite having access to immunization later than most countries, noting that there were also other structural health system weaknesses to overcome across the country in the early stages of the pandemic.

“Some hospitals were so overwhelmed that we had to transport patients to other hospitals by ambulance or plane,” he said.

But Canada, he said, stands out from other developed countries when it chooses to implement strict and sustained public health measures. Although such measures have met with strong opposition in some quarters, the Dright Razak said they helped mitigate the overall impact of the pandemic.

“Compared to many other countries […] They had periods of severe restrictions, but they quickly withdrew them, he said. For Canada it was almost exclusively this high and constant for the first two years. »

But the dright Razak noted that the success of the vaccination campaign in Canada emerged as the strongest point of the research. He applauded officials for engaging with the public and making sure vaccines were readily available across the country.

More than 80% of eligible Canadians were fully immunized with at least two doses by June. According to the study, the proportion of vaccinated populations in other G10 countries is between 64% and 77%.

“In Canada, using these vaccines at doses one and two was magic,” said the Dright Razak.

“When we speak to our peers around the world, Canada is the envy of the world when it comes to getting our people involved. This is a lesson to the world that with the right strategy, very high levels of engagement can be achieved. »

The study also showed that countries’ response to the pandemic has left economic strains, with government debt rising for all countries, with Canada posting one of the highest relative increases.

“We’ve had these very significant economic impacts, we’ve had very severe restrictions on our individual freedoms that led to things like isolation […]but we’ve also really had some of the best results in controlling the effects of the virus,” said Dr.right Razak.

“Was it worth it? This is not a scientific question, it’s a question of values, morality and politics. »

Leave a Comment