Too soon? Canada could ease travel restrictions as US still struggling with COVID-19
In the wake of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing that the Canadian government is close to allowing fully vaccinated Americans to enter Canada for non-essential travel by mid-August, the US is dealing with a massive COVID-19 resurgence.
The Delta variant now makes up 70% of cases in America. On top of this, another problem is fuelling concerns in America: vaccine hesitancy.
At a press briefing on Friday morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor to the president, shared the latest breakdown of where the US is at when it comes to the fight against COVID-19.
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As of July 14, the seven-day average for COVID-19 cases in the US was 26,306.
This is in stark contrast to the week prior, where they reported 15,541. The change amounts to a 69.3% increase.
The much-talked-about Delta variant is the primary culprit behind this spike.
This has raised concerns about Canada preparing to ease travel restrictions for US travellers.
Dr. Sarah D. Johnson, a lecturer at SFU in the Department of Physics, shares the concern.
“I don’t think fully vaccinated travellers will pose a COVID-19 risk. I’m just not convinced there is a foolproof way to verify if a traveller from the USA is fully vaccinated,” she told Daily Hive.
For those concerns to be eased, US health officials will need to get their COVID-19 resurgence under control.
“The main metric for me would be a much lower COVID infection rate in the USA, preferably a rate similar to the current rate in British Columbia. We still have a lot of unvaccinated children here,” Dr. Johnson added.
That leads to another driving force behind the COVID-19 resurgence in the States, which is people seemingly refusing to get the vaccine.
“Simply put, in areas of low vaccination coverage, cases and hospitalizations are up,” said Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last week.
Dr. Fauci used Friday’s briefing to urge American citizens to get the jab.
“The extreme vulnerability of the people who are not vaccinated will account for infections, hospitalizations, and ultimately deaths. And, the message loud and clear that we need to reiterate, is that these vaccines continue to offer protection against SARS-CoV-2 and the Delta variant.”
Deputy Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Howard Njoo said they are continuing to monitor the situation in various locales around the world.
“We always look over to other countries and see what their experience is, and as you can see even now in Europe, as they’ve opened up to varying degrees in different countries, there’s been different experiences,” he said.
In March 2020, all non-essential travel was closed between the Canada-US border, the largest land border on the planet. According to Public Safety Minister of Canada Bill Blair, the closure will remain in place until at least July 21.
In response to comments from Daily Hive, Health Canada said they will have more to share next week.
With files from Tyler Jadah