‘That’s going to be the difference maker’: Canada crosses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths, but one preventative measure still isn’t used widely

'We know what we have to do to prevent and minimize COVID, we just have to be willing to do it,' one doctor says

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The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is confirming that more than 50,000 Canadians have died as a result of COVID-19 since the pandemic was declared almost three years ago.

Quebec, the only province that’s still reporting daily data, has the highest number of deaths reported at 17,865 to date. That’s followed by Ontario, which, as of Friday, reports 15,786 fatalities, and Alberta with 5,470.

In B.C., there’s been 5,007 deaths based on numbers released Thursday. In Saskatchewan, 1,826 deaths have been reported since they released data also on Thursday. Manitoba reports 2,403 fatalities since they released their latest numbers on Friday.

In Nova Scotia there have been 706 deaths, according to data released on Thursday. In New Brunswick 762 deaths have been recorded, and in PEI, 85 fatalities have been recorded, both since Tuesday. Last Wednesday, Newfoundland and Labrador were reporting 297 deaths.

In the North, Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut stopped reporting on data in 2021 but confirm there’s been 61 deaths in the last three years. Half of these fatalities were reported in Yukon.

With the latest data from January 23, PHAC reports 222 deaths in the country, per week, related to COVID-19.

Canadians 'at the mercy' of COVID-19, but one improvement could make difference

Christopher Labos is a cardiologist with a degree in epidemiology who is based in Montreal. He says the number of COVID-19 deaths in Canada is likely higher than what’s reported, especially since there wasn’t enough testing at the beginning of the pandemic and many deaths were left undiagnosed.

He says there’s no way of knowing how COVID-19 is going to play out in the future. While many Canadians are hoping rates remain stable and mortality remains non-existent, Labos points out that’s what many were saying a year ago. Then the Omicron variant hit and everything changed.

We are very much at the mercy of how quickly the virus mutates and whether the mutations are significantly different from what came before to lead to the disruption of the equilibrium of the status quo.Dr. Christopher Labos, cardiologist

Experts stress we can limit the spread of COVID-19 by getting vaccinated, keeping up to date with boosters, and wearing masks inside poorly ventilated public spaces. Aside from the standard protocol of staying at home if you’re sick, the most important step that can be taken to prevent COVID-19 is cleaning indoor air.

If we can improve indoor air quality and indoor air ventilation by upgrading a lot of our older infrastructure, putting in air filters to clean and filter the air, that’s going to make a big difference.Dr. Christopher Labos, cardiologist

“We know what we have to do to prevent and minimize COVID, we just have to be willing to do it.”