Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on COVID-19, January 12, 2021


There have been over 668,000 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 17,086 deaths and over 82,500 active cases across the country. Nationally, the average case count is now over 8,100 new cases being reported daily over the past week, with a still increasing number of people experiencing severe illness. There are an average of over 4,500 individuals with COVID-19 being treated in Canadian hospitals, almost 850 of whom are in critical care, and 145 deaths are being reported each day.

It’s been a year and a day since scientists first published the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. We’ve made substantial progress since that time, with better diagnostics, treatments, and a greater understanding of COVID-19 spread and effective prevention measures. Most incredibly, our collective efforts have brought us the development and delivery of our first safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19.

All around us, we can hear people saying, “the light at the end of the tunnel is here!” But, though we can see the way more clearly, we are not out of the tunnel yet, and uncertainty and challenges are still ahead of us. COVID-19 activity remains at very high levels in many parts of Canada. Nationally, we are still on an ever-worsening trajectory – the months ahead will be difficult, possibly harder than anything we’ve experienced to date. There is no easy or fast solution, but we do know that areas of Canada that have adhered to early, strong and consistent public health measures, have been able to slow growth, keep COVID-19 at low levels or eliminate transmission from an area. The secret to success against this virus is not easy for any of us, it means constant vigilance on the part of everyone and relentless work, together with difficult choices as capacity is stretched across our health workforce.

No one should underestimate the difficulties we have faced this past year. I want to acknowledge those, from the many everyday difficulties that have built up over time, to the seemingly unbearable challenges, losses and grief. Every one of us has faced difficulty, whether it has been the loss of a job, strain on family relationships or friendships, or the loss of a loved one we could not hold and comfort.

To honour all those we have lost and to care for all those who are suffering, let’s remember to always speak and act with compassion, we need this more than ever. Let’s recommit to caring and kindness. We can do this; together it will be easier.  

Read my backgrounder to access COVID-19 Information and Resources, including information on vaccination and ways to reduce your risk of infection and spreading the virus and others.

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